Phlebotomy Skills: Definition, Examples And How to Improve

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 29 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A phlebotomist collects blood samples, labels and stores them to identify the diagnosis and help doctors determine the treatment plan for the patient. These professionals require technical and soft skills to perform their job duties effectively. If you have an interest in becoming a phlebotomist, knowing more about the skills required is essential for excelling in the workplace. In this article, we discuss what phlebotomy skills are, list a few examples, provide steps to improve these skills and explore ways to highlight your skills during the hiring process.

What Are Phlebotomy Skills?

Phlebotomy skills help these professionals draw and collect blood for analysis. To succeed in your phlebotomist role, you require technical and soft skills. Soft skills are your inherent quality and personality traits that help you relate well with others and complete your job duties. Technical skills are clinical abilities that you can gain through education, training and relevant certification. Regardless of the facility in which you work, it is essential to develop these skills to become a successful phlebotomist.

Examples Of Phlebotomy Skills

Here are a few essential skills a phlebotomist requires for a successful career:

Patient care skills

Phlebotomists are professionals who interact with patients in their day-to-day work. Employers prefer candidates who can answer patient queries, provide excellent customer service and solve their problems. Providing excellent patient care skills, such as preventing infection, counselling patients and collaborating with medical professionals is desirable for a successful career.

Specimen collection

The primary task of these professionals is to help a doctor diagnose a patient's illness. The specimen collection skills involve collecting the right amount of blood, finding veins and locating the puncture site without causing pain and discomfort to the patient. Collecting specimens by following the correct procedures is important because it helps physicians diagnose the medical problem.

Empathy

Employers expect a phlebotomist to show empathy to complete their job duties. Keeping patients calm during the blood collection process and helping patients feel comfortable are desirable for this role. Being empathic can help a phlebotomist interact effectively and appropriately with their patients. This skill set helps ensure procedures go smoothly and patients remain happy and comfortable.

Communication skills

The ability to communicate with patients can help foster trust and understanding with your patients. Employers expect these professionals to communicate with patients during the blood collection process for them to feel involved. These professionals require these communication skills to listen to patients' concerns. Excellent verbal and written communication skills help these professionals share information discreetly with other medical professionals.

Attention to detail

Often, employers expect a phlebotomist to be detailed-oriented. As they constantly see a rotation of patients during their workday, it is essential to give attention to the medical tests each patient requires. Also, a phlebotomist might collect a range of samples from a single patient, making it important to label them correctly. They also ensure sending the right sample to the right laboratory. Based on a patient's medical test, a phlebotomist draws only a required amount of blood.

Related: Attention to Detail: Definition, Examples And Tips

Data entry skills

Excellent data entry skills help in data management and ensure phlebotomists have important patient information. Depending on their workplace, these professionals enter patients' information into the database. As many hospitals and medical facilities use software to maintain patient records, employers expect these professionals to input data into the software.

Related: What Are Data Entry Skills? (13 Examples And How To Improve)

Ability to work in high-pressure work situations

Though collecting and drawing blood is a routine job duty of a phlebotomist, you might get overwhelmed when there is a huge influx of patients. The ability to work well under pressure is desirable for this job role. This skill can help you remain calm and prioritise tasks as you complete them.

Time management skills

Time management and organisation skills are critical for prioritising patient care and ensuring efficiency in the workplace. As a phlebotomist manages long schedules, allocating their time equally to each patient is essential. Managing your time can help you cater to a large number of patients during your workday.

Related: Time Management Skills: Definition And Examples

Compassion

Phlebotomists work with different patients, such as critically ill patients, senior citizens and infants. Being compassionate helps these professionals console patients who are experiencing discomfort. Employers expect this professional to show compassion to those who become nervous before a venipuncture procedure.

How To Improve Your Phlebotomy Abilities

Use these steps to improve your phlebotomy abilities:

1. Volunteer in your community

By volunteering with a hospital, medical facility or nursing home, you can improve your phlebotomy abilities. After graduation, working as a volunteer can give you hands-on experience sanitising the puncture site and drawing blood samples to conduct analysis. When you volunteer for an organisation, it helps you work with patients and hone your phlebotomist abilities.

2. Work with a mentor

A mentor can be an experienced phlebotomist who can help you become successful. You can take advice from these professionals and confide in them about your career path. These professionals might give you some important tips on how to excel in this career path and become proficient in your current skills. If you don't have an official mentor, you can also ask your employer for feedback on your performance, as this can help you identify areas to work on.

3. Enroll in a class

While you might have learned many important technical skills during your education, you also require certain soft skills for a successful career. Consider taking an online certification or enrolling in a class that improves your problem-solving, interpersonal and communication skills. These classes give you the advantage of getting detailed instructions and asking relevant questions.

4. Practice your skills

You can refine your skill set by practising your technical skills. This helps you complete every task to the best of your abilities. As a phlebotomist, you might not use each technical skill during your shift. Find opportunities to practice those that you do not commonly use.

Phlebotomy Abilities In The Workplace

There are many ways of using these skills in the workplace. Here are a few ways of using them to the best of your ability:

  • Track your time: A great way to improve your skill is by tracking your time on individual tasks. This ensures you do not waste time on unnecessary tasks.

  • Plan your day: To improve your efficiency as a phlebotomist, ensure you plan your day by prioritising work that requires immediate attention.

  • Declutter your workspace: Having a cleaned and organised workplace can help you become more efficient and reduce the chances of committing errors.

  • Collaborate with other professionals: A phlebotomist works with other medical professionals like nurses and doctors. Knowing how to work well with others and collaborate can help you become a successful phlebotomist.

How To Highlight Your Phlebotomy Abilities

Use these steps to highlight your phlebotomy abilities:

1. Highlight your skills on your resume

Your resume helps in providing a positive first impression, so it becomes essential to show your skills while conveying why you are a good fit for the role. You can emphasise your phlebotomy abilities in the experience section under the job responsibilities or include them in your resume summary. These skills help you demonstrate the procedures you completed and how well you can follow safety protocols and communicate with patients. If you are an entry-level candidate, include these skills in a separate skill section.

2. Mention your skills in your cover letter

A cover letter is a document that highlights your skills, education and experience and makes the employer interested in reading your resume. Use the cover letter to explain why you are a good fit for the job. Connect your experience and educational qualification with the skills you possess. Before writing your cover letter, review the job description and include the skills mentioned to make your cover letter applicant tracking system (ATS) compliant. Include any previous volunteer work experience or training you completed.

Related: What Is An Applicant Tracking System? Definition And Tips

3. Talk about your skills during an interview

Use your interview to show your talent, enthusiasm and knowledge of your technical skills in phlebotomy. Prepare for commonly asked interview questions to show your phlebotomy abilities. Employers might ask situational awareness questions to assess your skills. Explain how your skills helped you complete your job duties in the past. Follow the STAR (situation, task, result and action) interview technique to show your unique skill set. In this technique, you share the situation or challenge you faced, describe your role in the situation, explain how you handled the situation and quantify your success by sharing the result.

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