Garbage In; Garbage Out: Part VI
Over the last few months, Phlebotomy Today-STAT! has been exploring the many ways those who draw and process specimens can unknowingly alter test results. Last month we discussed how clots in anticoagulant tubes can wreak havoc on specimens, test results and instrumentation as well as how underfilling tubes and blood culture bottles cheat the patient out of accurate results. (To access this and other archived issues, visit www.phlebotomy.com/PTSTAT.html) This month we will continue with delays in processing.
Next month: Improper centrifugation
This Month in Phlebotomy Today
Here’s what subscribers to Phlebotomy Today, the Center for Phlebotomy Education’s paid-subscription newsletter currently in its 9th year of publication, are reading about this month:
For subscription rates and to subscribe to Phlebotomy Today, visit www.phlebotomy.com/PhlebotomyToday.html. The current month’s issue will be emailed to you immediately upon subscribing.
Featured FAQ: Blood From Lines
Q: Our neurovascular intensive care nurses request phlebotomists learn to take blood from lines. What do you think of this idea? Have you ever heard of other hospitals actually doing this?
A: Unless you are in a state that regulates who can and can’t manage infusions, it’s not likely that there are any restrictions on training phlebotomists to do line draws. Generally, any employer can train any employee to perform the procedure as long as they provide adequate training. The onus is on the employer to develop a training regimen that protects the patient from complications. It’s rare in the industry for phlebotomists to be trained to draw blood from lines without nursing supervision.
Each month, PT--STAT! will publish one of the hundreds of phlebotomy FAQs in the growing database of questions and answers available in Phlebotomy Central, the members-only section of the Center for Phlebotomy Education's web site. For information on joining Phlebotomy Central, visit www.phlebotomy.com/PhlebotomyCentral.html.
Survey Says: Who’s Drawing ABGs?
For the last two months, visitors to phlebotomy.com were asked to complete an online survey as to which profession in their facility draws arterial blood gases (ABGs). As expected, the lion’s share is collected by respiratory therapists (RTs). In fact, 66% of those responding said RTs draw at least 90 percent of the ABGs at their hospital. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said RT draws them all. By contrast, 11 percent of those responding said phlebotomists draw 90 percent or more of their ABGs. Two percent of those responding indicated the laboratory testing personnel drew all the gases in their facilities, while only one facility reported that physicians draw all of their ABGs.
In this month’s survey, phlebotomy.com asks if your facility has a mechanism in place for monitoring the volume of blood drawn from newborns. Click here to participate in the survey.
Featured Product: VHS to DVD Upgrade
ASCP, NCA Announce Unification
The American Society for Clinical Pathology and the National Credentialing Agency announced their agreement to unify as one certifying body. According to an article in Clinical Laboratory News, the merging bodies hope to simplify certification for employers, managers and applicants by their unification, which minimizes the number of competing agencies.
Although many details still need to be worked out, officials on both sides are continuing operations as normal. Those who are credentialed by either organization prior to the merger will be recognized by the unified organization. NCA posts regular statements on association activities at http://communicators.typepad.com/nca/.
What Would You Do?
Each month, What Would You Do? presents a different case study, then asks readers to contribute their ideas as to how each situation would best be handled. The following month, selected responses will be chosen by the editor and published (sender will be identified by first name and state only). The most accurate, well written response will receive a free "Accurate Results Begin With Me!® t-shirt. The exercise will conclude with a review of the selected submissions and a discussion of the standards pertinent to the case study
As with past WWYD case studies, this one proved to be commonplace with our respondents. The most frequent suggestion, which came from seventy-two percent of those responding, was for frustrated applicants to volunteer, participate in an externship program, or work for reduced pay and benefits while they gain the valuable experience employers want. These are excellent ways for “green” applicants to get their foot in the door for a permanent position. Some (27%) suggested applying to a reference lab or physician’s office where the requirements may be less stringent, while others suggested applying at a blood donor center or plasma center.
But our favorite answer came from Elesha of South Dakota who told how she found her way out of this Catch 22:
“I recently went through this very scenario. My plan of action was to do a shadow program or do an internship! Instead I got hired at a hospital doing “fee biases” to gain more experience, which is working with out the benefits and less pay. After six months I finally get hired! So I would have to tell the next person straight out of school to try either of these great ideas!”
]Nothing works better than a tried and true solution. For her willingness to share her success so articulately, Elesha will receive an Accurate Results Begins With Me!™ t-shirt. Thanks, Elesha!
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