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Survey Says: If I could pass a law...

by Dennis Ernst • May 03, 2016

Last month we asked visitors to our web site and Phlebotomy Today-STAT! readers what laws they would like to enact for those who draw laboratory samples. Then we turned the tables and asked what laws they would have patients abide by. Our wannabe legislators chimed in with 43 laws pertaining to those who collect blood samples. a full 21 percent of those laws would mandate certification for those who draw blood. Nine percent mandated a formal training program, and another nine percent would require continuing education. Just as many laws were proposed that mandated positive patient identification. Other laws include:

  • Everyone must label specimens at the bedside;
  • Phlebotomists must not make more than two attempts;
  • Do not assume anything about a patient before you meet them. Treat them as the most important person you will be see that day.
  • Everyone must wear gloves and not rip the fingertips off;
  • Dress & act like a professional, and relax, so they will, too;
  • Nurses are not allowed to draw blood;
  • Make an effort to learn how to pronounce surnames, especially those of the dominant ethnicity;
  • Never use the basilic vein;
  • Follow CLSI policies;
  • Remember the patient's rights;
  • If the phlebotomist is uncomfortable with patient or situation, another co-worker can be requested to collect, without penalty/discrimination to phlebotomist who refuses.
  • Everyone must follow the order of draw;
  • Listen to the patient when you ask which arm is best. Not necessarily how/where to stick;
  • Only Coban is allowed to be applied after the draw;
  • The person drawing blood has to listen and respect what the patient is telling them;
  • Only use a hard surface to engage safety on needle;
  • Do no harm;
  • Do enjoy what you do, it shows;
  • Always wear gloves when in contact with a patient.

Turning the tables, those who participated in the survey proposed 31 laws that apply to patients.  Sixteen percent of those suggested were equivalent to "Do not move when the needle is in your arm." Other proposed laws include:

  • Do not cough in my face;
  • Ask questions to understand the process;
  • Patients must report their contagious diseases;
  • The phlebotomist chooses what equipment to use;
  • Only patients with lab orders could have blood drawn;
  • Patients must not be abusive or threatening;
  • Take a shower and wear clean clothing;
  • Be cooperative and helpful;
  • ID must be provided prior to collection;
  • Listen to my questions & directions;
  • No fist pumping;
  • Realize that what occurs with non-experienced people taking blood is not necessarily going to occur with trained and experienced phlebotomists;
  • Respect your patients; treat them as you would expect to be treated;
  • Always ask to see your labeled specimens before the phlebotomist leaves;
  • Show appreciation;
  • Patients have the right to choose who they want to draw their blood;
  • Do not yell;
  • Take notice of what site works well when having blood drawn;
  • Don't ask the phlebotomist what the test is for;
  • Remember it's the doctor who orders your labs;
  • Respect your phlebotomist, treat them as you would expect to be treated.

This month we're asking visitors to our web site and Phlebotomy Today-STAT! readers what process is in place where they work to summon outpatients from the waiting room and how the confirm patient identification once they're in the drawing chair.

Take the survey.

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