So, you have always wanted to break into a healthcare career, but you do not want to be a doctor or nurse at this time. Have you ever considered a career as a phlebotomist? There are some things that you want to consider before you take this leap, like what are the pros and cons of being a phlebotomist? I know this seems like a lot to think about. Rest assured, I have made it easy for you. Below you will find the top 13 pros and cons of being a phlebotomist. These pros and cons of being a phlebotomist will help you decide if this specialty career is right for you before you get halfway through your training.
TOP CONS OF BEING A PHLEBOTOMIST
(The following are the top 13 disadvantages of being a phlebotomist.)
1. Exposure to pathogens
As a Phlebotomist, you will be coming in contact with bodily fluids and patients who may have other types of contagious illnesses. Unfortunately, this is a workplace hazard and part of the job. Specifically, the bodily fluid you will be coming in contact with is blood. Blood can contain many infectious microorganisms or pathogens that could potentially infect you. You will also be coming in contact with patients who may have illnesses such as tuberculosis and COVID 19 to name a few. Exposure to these pathogens is one of the top disadvantages of being a phlebotomist.
2. Risk of Needlestick injuries
On a day-to-day basis, phlebotomists utilize needles to access a patient's vessel to draw a blood sample. If you decide that you want to work as a phlebotomist, you must remember that you will always be at risk for a needle stick injury. This needle stick can occur before drawing blood on a patient with a clean needle or after drawing blood on a patient with a used needle. Yikes! That is a bit scary being stuck with a needle let alone a dirty needle.
3. Long Work hours
The hours that you could find yourself working as a phlebotomist may be long. Some institutions that you could potentially work in will have you working anywhere from 8 to 10 to 12-hour shifts. Let us also not forget that weekends, holidays, and nights must be covered as well. This means that you may find yourself working any combination of days and hours.
4. Encounters with Angry and rude people
So, let me ask you a question, do you like being stuck with a needle? Well, most people do not like being stuck, and hey, that is what you do for a living. When you are a phlebotomist, people will sometimes tend to get angry and rude with you when you need to draw blood. The idea of a bit of pain does not exactly bring out the friendly in some people.
5. Some people may be hard sticks
So, if you decide to dive into the world of phlebotomy, you will encounter a patient known as the dreaded "hard stick" now and then. These are the patients that no matter how good your skills are, you may not be able to draw their blood. This could lead to angry patients and families. A snowball effect.
6. The low margin of error
One of the top cons of being a phlebotomist is that you will always have a low margin of error. You are probably thinking, what does that mean? When you are drawing somebody's blood and sending critical samples to the lab, the stakes are high. What I mean by this is that if you accidentally mix up collected samples, significant consequences can follow. Mixing up patients' blood can have a major impact on all parties. Also, sending blood in the wrong vial or losing specimens can cause delays in care for patients. A lot of treatment decisions rely on the blood samples you are drawing.
7. How is your bedside manner?
If you are not a people person, then this may not be the job for you. You will be interacting with all types of people every day. These interactions will become your norm. Having a good bedside manner is a must for the job.
8. Long hours of standing
As a phlebotomist, you will be on your feet pretty much your entire day. These long hours of standing are one of the top disadvantages of being a phlebotomist. You will find that you generally will be moving from patient to patient throughout the institution you work in. You may be encompassing many floors throughout the day. You will definitely get your steps in, in this role.
9. Possible patient injuries
Although patient injuries do not occur that often, they can and do occur. A patient can become injured during the procedure of drawing the blood. These injuries will open the phlebotomist up to lawsuits. This will be an added pressure of the job.
10. Can be stressful
As a phlebotomist, you may sometimes feel like you are being dragged in every possible direction. You will have many different types of labs that will need to be drawn. Many of these labs will be timed labs and will need to be drawn at specific times. All this juggling that you will have to do will cause some added stress to your workday.
11. May have to draw blood on children
Depending on where you work, you may find that drawing blood from children will be in your job description. Children can be really cute but not so much when you need to draw blood from them. Drawing blood from children can be more difficult because they will fight you more than an adult. Another reason drawing blood from children can be more difficult is that their vessels are smaller, and their vessels can be a bit harder to find if they have a lot of baby fat. Let’s also not forget that you will be trying to draw blood from a moving target.
12. Training is Not Free
In order to become a phlebotomist, you will have to complete training to learn how to perform all the procedures that go with phlebotomy. This training course will not be free, so if you plan on being a phlebotomist, you better start brainstorming on how to pay for your training. The cost associated with learning the skills to be a phlebotomist make the training cost one of the top disadvantages of being a phlebotomist.
13. I hope you have good time management skills
Some days when you work as a phlebotomist, you will find that you will have to draw blood on numerous patients throughout the day. This is going to require good time management skills on your part. If you are not good at juggling and prioritizing, well, this may not be your calling.
TOP PROS OF BEING A PHLEBOTOMIST
(The following are the top 13 advantages of being a phlebotomist.)
1. Steady Income
As a phlebotomist, you will be earning a good and steady income. The average hourly rate for your expertise is around $17.07 per hour or $35,510 per year. This may be higher or lower depending on where you work. Having a steady income can really open up many doors for you.
2. Flexible schedules
Venturing into a career as a phlebotomist will enable you to have a pretty flexible schedule depending on the type of institution you work for. This flexible schedule is one of the advantages of being a phlebotomist. Some of the hours you may find yourself working are 8, 10, or 12-hour shifts. The more hours you work at a time, the fewer days you actually work. This flexibility will allow for you to have a more active family and social life.
3. You can work in many career settings
A career as a phlebotomist will lend its hand to versatility when you are talking about the different settings you could work in. Some of these settings include an inpatient unit in the hospital, outpatient unit in the hospital, infusion centers, doctor’s offices, urgent cares, and labs, to name a few. You truly have so many different places to choose from.
4. Training is not that long
A phlebotomy training program is generally between 40-80 in-class hours and 20-40 clinical hours that will take place in the field environment. Compared to other careers in the medical field, becoming a phlebotomist has one of the shortest durations. This short duration will get you out there working in no time. This is also a great starting point if you wish to break into the medical field in order to further decide if you want to advance your career.
5. Solid Career choice
Becoming a phlebotomist truly is a solid career choice. If you decide that this is the right path for you, you will have a stable job that will provide you with a good income and offer you health benefits. These perks to the job make it one of the top pros of being a phlebotomist. I mean, that sounds like a pretty good deal to me.
6. Low Training cost
Yes, yes, I know that training cost was also on the list of cons of becoming a phlebotomist, but there is actually a pro to the training cost. The training cost to become a phlebotomist is relatively low compared to other careers in the medical profession. So, the cost will vary from state to state and school to school, but you are roughly looking at anywhere from $300.00 to $1,400 for a phlebotomy program. Think of it this way, if you wanted to become an entry-level Nurse Practitioner, your cost for school would be anywhere from around $81,810 to $185,280. That is a huge difference.
7. You will be in demand
Phlebotomy is just one of those careers where you will always be in demand. People are always going to need to have their blood drawn for one reason or another. This one single fact is what will keep you working. As a phlebotomist, you will always be able to find work anywhere you are.
8. Being part of a team to improve people’s lives
Blood testing has and will remain one of the critical components in the diagnosis and treatment of patients. As a Phlebotomist, you would be part of a team that could help patients and maybe even saves their lives. That is definitely something you can be proud of.
9. Your every workday will be different
Yes, you will probably be drawing blood every day, but you will also be working with new faces every day. The diversity that you will have every day makes this one of the top pros of being a phlebotomist. You will never get bored. You will always find something interesting about your day.
10. Learn your way around the healthcare system
Phlebotomy may be an excellent way to get your feet wet and start to explore the healthcare system. This career may be the perfect opportunity for you to see all the different types of professionals that work in healthcare and what they do. Being a phlebotomist can be a stepping-stone to advancing your career if you choose to pursue an alternative field in healthcare.
11. Well respected career
Think of it this way, you are doing something that many other people cannot do. If everybody were able to draw blood, then there would be no need for a phlebotomist. You possess a skill that is well respected and needed in the healthcare community.
12. You could use your career as a travel opportunity
One of the top advantages of being a phlebotomist is that you could take advantage of travel assignments all around the country. This is great for anybody whoever thought that they would like to travel. This perk to being a phlebotomist will allow you to work while you explore the United States.
13. You could be a teacher
So, what I mean by this is that you can use your skills and knowledge of the profession in order to nurture and foster the next generation of phlebotomists. You can help those who are aspiring to learn these essential technical and social skills that accompany your job by helping with on-site training.
So, what are the pros and cons of being a phlebotomist? Anyway, you look at it, a phlebotomist is an essential part of the healthcare system. As with every career choice, there will always be pros and cons to the job. You now just have to decide if the pros will outweigh the benefits for you. These top 13 pros and cons of being a phlebotomist will give you a lot to think about, but they will also help you to jump-start deciding on what career path is the best for you. Remember, just because it is a promising career does not mean it is a suitable career for you.
Jennifer Schlette MSN, RN Jennifer Schlette is a registered nurse in pediatric critical care in New York City. She is the former Director of Undergraduate Nursing at a college located in New York. After obtaining her BSN from the College of Mount Saint Vincent, she went on to complete her MSN.