The phlebotomist, the person who draws blood samples from patients arms or finger tips, is a highly specialized, valuable member of the medical and healthcare team as a whole. Without the phlebotomist's skills and services many diagnoses and health assessments could not be as reliably performed.
Most phlebotomists have a high school education, others have an academic degree in medical technology, some received their training directly on the job under the supervision of a doctor, nurse or experienced phlebotomist, others took a phlebotomy course offered through the American Red Cross, or a community college, others while serving in the military as a combat medic or hospital corpsman role.
A skilled phlebotomist deserves high praise, yet, they are usually paid the least amount of wages on the allied health professional's pay scale, probably because their training is not as extensive as, let's say, an EKG and x-ray technician, or medical assistant. In a way, that is unfair, because there is tremendous value in their services that can never be repaid in money. Phlebotomists draw blood for tests, transfusions, donations, or research and explain the procedure to patients who ask.
They must know the circulatory system anatomy and composition of blood along with the medical terminology that goes with it, be able to access a vein, or artery, or capillary blood bed of all kinds of people from young, to old, to obese, to emaciated, to those with veins that roll, to those who easily faint, or are deadly afraid of needles.
They need to understand different venipuncture techniques and the equipment to be used to draw and preserve the blood sample. Additionally, they must know how to read laboratory requisition slips, follow doctor's orders, work safely with patients, handle blood and other potentially hazardous body fluids and know how to clean up blood spills safely and dispose them in accordance with OSHA regulations. If any of this is not approached with great care and handled properly, it can result in severe injury, if not death.