What is Venipuncture?
The most important diagnostic tools in the world of medicine often involve the usage of blood. This is due to the fact that blood is a rich source of information on the current state of a person’s body. Blood contains blood components (red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, and platelets), enzymes, protein, and other elements that, in totality, either give someone a clean bill of health, or indicate certain pathologies and their corresponding intensity. It is, therefore, of utmost importance that the method with which blood is being drawn from a patient ensures that the blood samples taken are of the highest quality suitable for testing.
Venipuncture, a term often used interchangeably with phlebotomy, is defined by most sources as the surgical puncturing of a vein, as for the withdrawal of blood and administration of nutrients, fluid, and medication intravenously. Venipuncture definition doesn’t differ much across different sources, as it essentially holds the same meaning across different medical institutions. It is ranked to be one of the most common invasive medical procedures and is performed for a number of reasons, the most important of which is blood analysis.
Based on venipuncture definition, it can be concluded that routine venipuncture is a delicate and invasive procedure. These being some of its identifying characteristics, it is imperative that a phlebotomist knows all the steps there is to its successful completion by heart.
The first step there is to a routine venipuncture is to identify your patient. Make sure that the patient listed on your requisition form is the one waiting for you in your station. Check your patient’s disposition. If he or she is too distressed, get someone to calm the patient down prior to the procedure. Remember that drawing blood from a distressed, angry, or unwilling patient can only cause more harm than good.
Once you have your patient ready, prepare yourself and all the necessary equipment. Make sure that your hands are perfectly clean and sanitized. Check your requisition form for all the tests being called for, and prepare your tubes, needles, cotton balls, and other paraphernalia accordingly.
Lastly, prepare the puncture site. This is done by searching for the vein that is most palpable and by cleaning the puncture site using a cotton ball dipped in antiseptic. Clean your puncture site by rubbing it with your antiseptic-soaked cotton in a spiral motion, from the center towards the periphery. This is done to ensure that no recontamination of a previously cleaned section occurs.
After cleaning your puncture site, apply a tourniquet 3-4 inches above the site. Anchor your chosen vein with the thumb of your free hand. Get your needle and syringe, and make sure that the needle is locked to the syringe. Insert the needle to the vein with the bevel side up.
Sample Collection and Processing
Place your sample in the appropriate sample container. If the procedure is done for multiple tests calling for multiple collection tubes, the correct order of draw should be followed. Assess the quality of your samples. If the samples are found suitable for analysis, make sure that you label them correctly first before sending them off to the laboratory. Otherwise, start all over again, beginning with the preparation of your patient for another round of blood withdrawal.
Like most things, practice makes venipuncture perfect. One of the best ways to achieving the skills necessary for this procedure is by undergoing venipuncture training. There are many ways to go about completing your training, the most effective of which has to be hands-on training.
If you are currently attending phlebotomy school, a good way to ensure that you get the most out of your venipuncture training is to attend all hands-on training arranged by your school. These training sessions are often held in hospitals or other related medical institutions. These sessions can help you not only perfect the art and science of venipuncture, but also get you exposed to the general setting of your future workplace.
If you, however, are enrolled at an online training program that does not make the arrangements for you, call nearby health institutions and make the arrangements for yourself. Remember that this is a task that involves your hand, and that no amount of watching videos of other people doing it can prepare you as much as hands-on training would.