Phlebotomy is about much more than learning how to draw blood.
In fact, the best phlebotomists have a perfect combination of hard and soft skills that make them successful.
Hard skills are teachable skills — like drawing blood — that every phlebotomist must know. Soft skills, on the other hand, are harder to teach. Attributes like being a good listener and communicator, for example.
Think you’ve got what it takes?
Here are some of the top qualities you’ll need as a phlebotomist:
While it’s a routine job duty for every phlebotomist, not all patients are excited to have their blood drawn. By showing empathy and compassion, you put patients at ease. Doing so can help you do your job more efficiently and patients also appreciate your gentleness in handling their anxiety.
Why you need it: A little kindness can go a long way, especially when patients are nervous. In the healthcare industry, taking care of others means being compassionate and gentle in situations that might make a patient uncomfortable.
Most employers gravitate toward hiring employees who can communicate effectively. In the medical field, you’ll need to be an excellent listener and be able to articulate to patients the process of a blood draw. By carefully listening to a patient’s concerns, you convey that you care about their needs while also doing your job professionally.
Why you need it: Excellent written and verbal communication skills are a must in order to converse effectively with others. By making yourself clear and asking appropriate questions of others, you’ll find you’re less likely to get frustrated by responses to your requests and vice versa.
As stated above, not everyone loves blood draws. If you can come to work with a smile and pleasant can-do attitude, you’ll find your work days fly by. You’ll also find relationships with coworkers, patients, and leadership much easier to handle if you approach situations with a glass half-full mentality.
Why you need it: It’s easier to get along with others — and handle tough patients — if you’ve got a positive attitude. It will make you seem easier to work with, too.
Even with training, you’ll find that sticking a needle into someone else’s skin can sometimes be a high-pressure situation. If a parent is watching you prep their child for a blood draw, for example, you may feel some additional pressure to perform well. If working under pressure isn’t a problem for you, then you’ve got one of the best soft skills a phlebotomist could have.
Why you need it: Healthcare settings tend to be fast-paced. Hospital staff especially need phlebotomists to be quick and efficient in their roles as patients often need rapid treatment responses that are dependent on blood draws.
Phlebotomists require a certain level of observation skills during blood draw sessions. Aside from ensuring you’ve got the proper patient vials in front of you, you’ll also need to have situational awareness, too. A patient may say they’re fine with a blood draw, but if they haven’t eaten, they may feel weak and faint. A phlebotomist will need to watch patients for signs of weakness or impending fainting spells.
Why you need it: Taking in a patient’s demeanor can help you determine how to handle their blood draw process.
As part of the medical industry, it’s important for phlebotomists to take the best possible care of patients under their brief watch. That means minding HIPAA laws, learning best practices, and being respectful of patient concerns. Some patients rely heavily on blood donations, for example, so a phlebotomist showing up for work on time can sometimes can make all the difference in someone getting a blood transfusion immediately.
Why you need it: The healthcare industry relies upon responsible individuals to provide the best care for patients, and that includes phlebotomists. Correctly labeling vials, for example, ultimately helps patients get the correct blood results in a timely manner.
Blood banks, diagnostic labs, and hospitals are full of medical professionals with a variety of expertise. It’s those healthcare professionals who make up the team that delivers the best possible patient care.
Why you need it: Phlebotomists are often a core part of that group, which means getting along well with others in the name of patient care is essential.
If you naturally have the above skills, then you'll just need to solidify your hard skills for a phlebotomy job.
When you pair soft and hard skills sets with a certification, you also increase your chances of getting hired in a reputable phlebotomy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a majority of employers prefer to hire phlebotomists who are certified.
If you've always been told you're a great team player with a positive attitude, your skill sets would be appreciated in the phlebotomy world by both patients and colleagues.
Ready to start your career in phlebotomy? Learn more about the MedCerts phlebotomy technician program!