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"Just" a Phlebotomist

If you're "just" a phlebotomist, the Grand Canyon is just a ravine.

by Dennis Ernst • January 19, 2022


You've heard it before. "She's just a phlebotomist." If you haven't heard it, you've certainly felt it. Isn't it a good thing you don't need others to make you feel important? Aren't you glad your job satisfaction comes from within? Deep down you know the work you do is absolutely critical so that the patient can be properly treated, medicated, diagnosed, and managed. You don't have the time or the emotional energy to spend grieving about how others position you in their view of the world. That's something you'll never be able to control. Whining is for wimps. You just go silently about your work, dutifully, obediently, diligently, and with great respect for yourself and your contribution to the well being of every patient you draw.

A Phlebotomist at her job.

You may be just a phlebotomist, but you know that the blood specimen you just drew will provide more information about the patient's condition than any other procedure he has today. Never mind that you can't start an suture a wound, diagnose a heart murmur, or adjust a ventilator. What you can do is precisely place surgical steel into the center of a vein you can't see, withdraw a blood specimen that contains an encyclopedia of information about the patient's health status without altering one word of it, properly distribute it to a rainbow of tube types and sizes, and leave the patient feeling very little pain and a great deal of gratitude that it was you and nobody else. 

It's what you do: incredible work with little recognition, dozens of times every day. You're just a phlebotomist, a skilled practitioner of the most underestimated procedure in healthcare. That's all. Nothing more, nothing less.

If you are just a phlebotomist, then a rose is just a flower, the Grand Canyon is just a ravine, Earth is just a planet, and love is just an emotion. All just things, but things none of us really want to do without. If you are just a phlebotomist, then those who perform lab tests are just techs, those who give medications are just nurses, those who diagnose patients are just physicians, and those who run hospitals are just CEOs. All these professionals are just people, but people none of us want to do without when we're sick.

Being "just a phlebotomist" is a matter of perspective. It simply means you perform the art of blood collection so masterfully for the benefit of everyone involved without needing to be looked at as anything else. When a blood draw is a completely unremarkable and forgettable experience for your patient, then you know you have arrived.

You are just a phlebotomist who happens to be... just incredible.

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Very well said. There is alot of just being a phlebotomist. Throughout my career I'm amazed on what other professions don't know about being a phlebotomist. Such as proper tube clotting. Most people think it's only 15min.. So having this newsletters is very helpful on educating people.

Tamera Cooley, 01/20/2022 09:12:55


Thank You

Melissa, 01/20/2022 09:39:50

So true…

Yes! If we as phlebotomists can keep this as our thought pattern, we will be such an awesome presence in the healthcare world. Our patients are what is important, and why we do what we do each day. Knowing who we are, shows everyone else who we are. Especially the ones who matter, our patients. Thanks for the article.

Jonathan Dobler , 01/20/2022 09:43:18

Team Coordinator, Sentara Healthcare

This article is spot on commending those professionals who are dedicated to their patients as well as the art of phlebotomy. Thank you!!

Carole Dewey, 01/20/2022 09:47:34


I love my profession!

Neha Vyas, 01/20/2022 10:27:42

Quality and Regulatory Consultant

Great article. You said it all. The phlebotomist gets the least recognition and the most grief on the front lines. They do great work and are so skilled in their trade.

Helen Brenny, 01/20/2022 10:57:32

"Just a Phlebotomist"

Finally! A health-related article espousing Phlebotomists! My beautiful, smart daughter-in-law, Sandra Bailey, is Just a Phlebotomist. She is very skilled at her job - never leaves a bruised arm on her watch! I applaud all of the doctors, nurses, etc. all over the world and especially during these terrible times that we're currently encountering, but, I am so very, very happy that my daughter-in-law who is "Just a Phlebotomist" is finally getting the recognition that she wholeheartedly deserves.

Jackie Roth, 01/20/2022 11:30:30

What can we do?

I am close to retiring and the ridiculous lack of recognition of the importance of phlebotomy I have seen my whole career seems to be getting worse instead of better. Working for the VA we have recently seen phlebotomists downgraded from GS5 to GS4. Definitely creates a lot of problems and as usual doesn't recognize the skill required for this invasive procedure and the responsibility of getting things right to avoid harm and even death to the patient.

Donna Downing, 01/20/2022 11:30:34

I was glad to read this today, thank you.

I now consider myself a vein whisperer, thank you!

Connie, 01/20/2022 12:38:25


I take pride in what I do everyday. It's my passion.

Katherine Ackison, 01/20/2022 13:20:20


that just made my day . You made me feel I have arrived as I have just done my hospital ward round and each patient thanked me and said i hardly felt that and my last patient didnt even get off their phone or broke sentence when I inserted needle . Nows thats arrived lol

Annette Barwick, 01/20/2022 18:04:58

Consultant Biochemist

Wonderfully written! Every word is perfectly expressed. I loved reading the article. Thanks!

Dr. Farah-Sul-Lail, 01/20/2022 22:34:11

Wonderfully Expressed!

I loved reading the article! Every word is true and inspiring!

Dr. Farah-Sul-Lail, 01/20/2022 22:37:42


I've been a Phlebotomist for over 20 yrs. The best thing I like about my job is I get a positive comment every day. What a GREAT job.

Felecia Waddler, 01/24/2022 12:12:12

So true…

Yes! If we as phlebotomists can keep this as our thought pattern, we will be such an awesome presence in the healthcare world. Our patients are what is important, and why we do what we do each day. Knowing who we are, shows everyone else who we are. Especially the ones who matter, our patients. Thanks for the article.

Jonathan Dobler , 01/26/2022 09:09:20


Wow that was lovely to read really made my day its nice to read something like this and see the importance of what we do i love my job i wouldnt have it any other way very well said and thank you managment team for sending this to our staff yes it is good to be reminded

Rebecca Anne Axleby, 01/30/2022 01:05:06

I am guilty of this too.

I still struggle about this myself, that I am not "just a phlebotomist." A doctor gently scolded me once about calling myself as such and have been thankful of it.

JJ, 02/04/2022 19:13:53

Im Just a Phlebotomist

Today a RN told a patient who mistaken me for nurse that I was JUST a phlebotomist and only draw blood. I know her as a nice person but was she being out of the line or am I being over sensitive. Anyways love the article it helps. Thank you!

Ronald Razon, 06/02/2022 22:41:45

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