Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Sunday I looked like a heroin addict.  Yes, friday was our (most of us) first time drawing blood.  (Well, 2nd if you count the one time I was doing research and the german doc and I needed blood, and well we were low on supplies and so we used a belt and butterfly needle and made a mess.  Turns out he didn't know how to draw blood either.  He was more concentrated on learning to be a surgeon than a phlebotomist.  I appreciate that.)  Sad to say it will probably be the last, because every time I have had my blood drawn it has been by a nurse or someone I assume to be a phlebotomist (I was going to link the definition for you, but Princeton decided to define it as someone who practices phlebotomy.  See for yourself.  I guess they like to hoard their knowledge.  Wow, now that the -ist is changed to -y, I understand.)

If I were concerned about not looking like an addict, I probably wouldn't have suggested the student drawing my blood didn't go the easy route and instead, "pick the small vein, you patsy.  One of the few times the other person wont sue you for screwing up, so take advantage."  Either way though it is hard to draw blood with 5 other students watching when they all know you have no idea what you are doing and they all know this is your first time and what not so I won't hold a grudge.  

I couldn't help but question why were were doing this (the only thing I can think of is that in residency and rotations I will be requested to do things outside of my job description which happens to be "stand there and don't kill anyone.")  I mean, as previously hinted to, I have done a fair share of shadowing (one of the many proverbial med school admission "hoops" to jump through.  Seeing as they want you to have some idea about what medicine entails.  If I had listened to the doc I shadowed though I wouldn't be here today, so their plan could have backfired) and the only time I saw a doctor draw blood was that one time where all the nurses passed out and the office manager wasn't available to step in.  I guess it keeps us from having to lie when a patient asks, "is this your first time?" 


  1. Please tell me that you watch Gray's Anatomy...The episode last week showed all the interns trying to learn how to draw blood! They were 'caught' and it truly looked like they were all shooting up. They ended up 'practicing' on cadavers!!
    You should watch.

    PS It's been a LONG time since someone asked me if it was my first time...

  2. (Old Geezer Voice) Way back in 86' we had to Draw our OWN labs, even take the blood down to the lab, and spin it down, I hated that last part, and would just make up something...Drawing blood sucks, but its good practice for IVs, if you get smart and go into Anesthesia. Either way, you're right, no real need to learn to do them before the clinical years, I just did it cause I like poking people with needles.

    Drawing blood on Cadavers? Its been 25 years, but I'm pretty sure "Embalming" gets rid of the blood.

  3. Illuminating info from about.com:
    "A high school graduate or college student could take a course at a local technical or vocational school and learn phlebotomy. If you're not trained or qualified in any other nursing skills, compensation may be limited, (probably around $7.00-9.00 per hour, approximately).

    Because phlebotomy entails a fairly short training period, and because phlebotomist jobs are relatively easy to find and obtain, phlebotomy is a great way for someone to try out the medical profession. Jobs for phlebotomists are available at hospitals, medical offices, and clinics."

    OK, so how did YOU do as the phlebotomist? Hey, you can always go to a vocational school and to "try out" this medical profession idea!