Are you looking for a career that combines your love of travel, medical knowledge and helping others? Then becoming a travel phlebotomist may be the perfect job for you. Phlebotomy is an essential medical practice that involves drawing blood from patients in order to diagnose and treat illnesses or injuries. As a travel phlebotomist, also known as a mobile phlebotomist, you will have the opportunity to work in different locations around the country while providing vital services to those who need it most. If this sounds like something you would like to pursue, here are some tips on how to become a successful travel phlebotomist.
What do travel phlebotomists do?
Travel phlebotomists have many of the same roles and responsibilities that a traditional phlebotomist has. This will include:
- Draw blood samples from patients
- Prepare samples for testing and submit them to laboratories for analysis
- Update and maintain medical records for clients
- Verify patient information to ensure accuracy and privacy
- Explain procedures and answer any questions clients may have
The key difference is that travel phlebotomists spend much of their time performing services located in various different locations. Sometimes travel phlebotomists travel to different parts of the country, but most travel phlebotomists operate within their state or local geographic area.
As a mobile phlebotomist, you have the ability to contribute to your local community by getting involved in blood drives and volunteer with organizations such as the American Red Cross. You will primarily serve your local community, however there are occasions when you may be called upon to provide assistance in disaster-stricken areas worldwide.
How to become a travel phlebotomist
Travel phlebotomists do not need additional training or certifications that is necessary for becoming a phlebotomy technician. Some employers may require nationally recognized certification for all of their travel phlebotomists, such as the NCCT phlebotomy certification, or have minimum requirements for years of experience in the field, minimum number of practical blood draws, or have a certain level of education. Most employers also require that you pass a criminal background check before you can be hired.
Travel phlebotomists are typically employed by healthcare organizations such as hospitals, clinics, and laboratories. In addition, travel phlebotomists may also be employed by medical staffing agencies. Staffing agencies offer flexibility for travel phlebotomist professionals who need to commit to a more mobile lifestyle in order to meet the demands of their job, while traditional healthcare organizations often provide more stability and longer term employment.
Where do travel phlebotomists work?
Mobile phlebotomists will travel to nursing homes, personal residences, hospitals, private clinics, lab testing locations, and doctor’s offices. They may also be asked to staff special events like blood draws or sporting events such as marathons or triathlons, providing medical assistance to those who need it.
Many travel phlebotomists also maintain jobs as lab technicians but work with their employer as a travel phlebotomist when the need arises – such as when a staffing issue arises or during times of high-demand.
What tools do travel phlebotomists use?
Travel phlebotomists must have access to all of the same supplies and materials as traditional phlebotomists, such as needles, syringes, gloves and sterilizing solutions. However sterilization can be a challenge without access to the same laboratory space and resources. Therefore, travel phlebotomists must be able to sterilize their own materials on-the-go using items like alcohol swabs or disposable wipe packets.
Employers typically provide travel phlebotomists with a kit that includes all of the necessary items and materials. Additionally, some employers require their travel phlebotomists to use specialized equipment like portable microscopes or centrifuges in order to better process samples and transport them more efficiently.
If you are considering becoming a travel phlebotomist, make sure you understand all of the specific requirements involved for each job to ensure that you know how to properly use all of the necessary tools and equipment.
How much do travel phlebotomists make?
Most travel phlebotomists work on a contract basis and do not earn an hourly wage or annual salary. The pay rate for travel phlebotomists is usually determined by the number of assignments completed, with rates ranging from $18 to $30 per hour depending on region and experience level.
Many individual travel phlebotomy jobs compensate based on distance traveled. For example, you may earn $0.60 per mile traveled up to 300 miles. Additionally, you may receive bonuses for taking on additional shifts or completing difficult jobs.
What skills do travel phlebotomists need to have?
Individuals who succeed in the role of travel phlebotomists often have a few key skills that make them well suited to the job:
- Patience – Travel phlebotomists often work with patients who rarely have blood-draws, so being compassionate and taking the time to explain the process and to ensure a calm and comfortable environment is necessary.
- Flexibility – As travel phlebotomists often work on short-notice assignments, they must be able to adjust their schedule and travel plans at a moment’s notice.
- Attention to Detail – Travel phlebotomists are expected to arrive at various locations on time and they are solely responsible for the accuracy of their work, so it is important that they have an eye for detail in order to ensure that test results are accurate and complete.
- Interpersonal Skills – As much of the work involves interacting with patients, travel phlebotomists must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills in order to ensure that the patient’s experience is positive and comfortable.
- Physical Strength – Travel phlebotomists may be required to lift heavy items or position their bodies into awkward positions in order to draw blood from a patient.
- Adaptability – Travel phlebotomists often work in emergency or high-stress situations. A successful phlebotomist must be able to remain calm and adjust to ever-changing environments.
- Self-Motivation – Travel phlebotomists need to be able to motivate themselves to work independently and have the willingness to work long hours and cover multiple locations. Self-motivation is essential for staying focused and completing all tasks on time.
- Problem Solving Skills – Travel phlebotomists must be able to recognize problems and find solutions quickly in order to ensure a successful blood draw.
Job Outlook for Travel Phlebotomists
Due to the increasing demand for phlebotomists, travel phlebotomists are in high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that this job field will grow by 10% over the next decade. On average, over the decade there are projected to be about 21,500 new openings for phlebotomists annually. Many of these opportunities will come from replacing workers who move into different professions or leave the workforce due to retirement.
With the expected growth in this field, there should be plenty of opportunities available for those who possess the necessary skills and expertise.