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Why You Should Be Certified

Phlebotomy certification says something about a person that only certification can say

by Dennis Ernst • October 15, 2021


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Millions of healthcare workers around the world are drawing blood from billions of patients every year. The vast majority aren't certified in the procedure. Are you one of them?

In most U.S. states, you have to be certified to style hair, but not to insert surgical steel into someone's arm, navigate it around arteries, nerves, tendons, and bone to obtain venous blood samples. Style hair incorrectly and someone has a bad hair day; draw blood incorrectly and someone could be permanently injured, misdiagnosed, improperly medicated, even die. Since sensibility usually escapes legislation, you should take it upon yourself to obtain your certification. In fact, it speaks higher of you if you seek certification on your own accord than if it were legally mandated.

Do those who are not certified perform at a lower level than those who are? Absolutely not. Many, if not most, phlebotomists and other healthcare professionals who draw blood possess the same or higher expertise than those with credentials. Certification doesn't make one's expertise; it only proves it. Why not prove it for yourself?

Whether you're a nurse, medical assistant, medical laboratory scientist, laboratory assistant, phlebotomist, or one of the many other healthcare professionals with blood collection responsibilities, becoming certified proclaims your proficiency in this highly defined procedure.

Chances are, your skills are already well-honed and you are good at what you do. You undoubtedly take pride in your ability to draw specimens properly and painlessly. In fact, some patients prefer you, don't they? They probably even ask for you by name. So why aren't you certified? Certification tells them and your coworkers that your knowledge of blood collection procedures has been measured by an independent organization that assesses this skill and has found you to possess an expertise worthy of being recognized. It says you have taken the initiative to pursue a grasp of your skill that most have not, and that you have been found to possess a knowledge of phlebotomy that commands recognition.

There are lots of reasons not to pursue certification. But there are no good reasons. Which one of these excuses is yours?

  • "Certification is too expensive"---Wrong. It costs less than $125 to take most certification exams, but the benefits are well worth it. If your employer doesn't offer to pay part or all of the exam fee, have a bake sale, sell some junk, or work a few extra shifts. There's money to be had out there.
  • "I won't get paid any more than I do now"---That's not true. Certified phlebotomists get paid a lot more. More respect, more self-worth, more marketability, more knowledge, more authority, and---if you find the right employer---more money.
  • "It's not the law"---You're right. There is no law that says you have to improve yourself.
  • "I don't have the time"---The average person spends 2 hours and 24 minutes on social media per day. You have the time.
  • "I'm not smart enough"---Oh, c'mon. If you can read this, you can read an examination review book. Find a study-buddy and hunker down. If you can find time to complain about how little respect you're getting, you have time to earn some. Inside of you is a certified phlebotomist desperate to be let out. She's that nagging voice you hear now and then that tells you that you're better than most people give you credit for being, and that all she needs is to be recognized. She knows she won't be recognized as a certified healthcare professional unless you take her to sit for the exam she knows you can ace with a little book work.
  • "People will look at me differently if I'm certified"---That's the point. Remember, you're tired of being looked upon as just a phlebotomist, aren't you? When your name badge includes the designated certification initials after your name, people will look at you differently. Patients may not tell you, but rest assured they feel better knowing you have completed a formal process in which your knowledge of what you are about to do to them was put to the test. Think about it. If you're a patient, would you feel more comfortable being treated by a self-taught shaman or a board-certified physician? Then you'd probably be reassured if you knew your phlebotomist was certified, too. Your coworkers, family, and friends notice, too, and hold you in higher esteem.

Certification says something that only certification can say. It may not be mandatory where you work, but if you take it upon yourself to obtain such recognition, it not only reflects your passion for your work and your pride in your performance, but inspires others to do likewise. If you want to be part of something bigger than yourself, get certified. Then challenge everyone who works with you to do the same. The next thing you know, you've improved the quality of care countless patients will receive well into the future.

For a list of recommended certification agencies, visit our Certification web page.

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Happy Phlebotomists 😊

37 years ago, this never existed! Going for my certification and encouraging my students to do it with me!

Renee Robidoux-Kwiatkowski , 10/16/2021 07:59:23

Why You Should be Certified.

Very important to be certified, to keep up with the lastest information in health.

Zulma Hernandez, 10/16/2021 11:08:45

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