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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

WCC Phlebotomy Classes Keep Up With the Times

Decades ago, drawing blood was a skill taught quickly and informally in just a few hours. But today, to become a skilled phlebotomist professionals have to complete a much more rigorous course of study. And WCC provides it.

The WCC LifeLong Learning department offers four non-credit phlebotomy-related skills classes. The basic class, “Phlebotomy Fundamentals & Certification Preparation,” prepares students for the accredited National Healthcareer Association’s Certified Phlebotomy Technician exam. It provides 42 contact hours of lecture and hands-on lab activities and approximately 25 hours of additional homework and online study. Day and evening sections are available.

Content Expanded With Certification In Mind

“The basic phlebotomy skills class was revised and new material added,” said Angela Poppe, LifeLong Learning program manager. “Now it includes more content hours and prepares students to pass the certification exam. And we’ve had good success with the students who have taken it so far.”

A different area of focus is covered each week of the 13-week class. The role of phlebotomists—past and present—and the different traits that make a successful practitioner are reviewed in week one. Week two touches on proper hand hygiene, safety rules, the chains of infection, and infection control.

“In week three we go into anatomy and the different functions of the components of blood,” said Poppe. “Then we take a look at the equipment and tubes that are used. In week four students learn medical terms and diagnostic codes. Then they start demonstrating the proper steps for a successful venipuncture on a simulated arm. Eventually they will practice the technique on each other.”

The class also covers patients’ rights and the complications that may occur during a blood draw, as well as how to care for a person experiencing one. Another important lesson is the order of the draw.

“There is a special order in which blood should be drawn from a patient,” Poppe said. “Depending on what is being tested, phlebotomists must draw into a certain color or type of tube before another. For example, you would draw a sterile tube before a heparin tube if both were ordered. It is something our students need to know or the tests could be compromised.”

The class also provides instruction about how to successfully seek employment in hospitals, clinics, residential care agencies, and blood labs after achieving certification.

“The economy is tough, and health care is not immune to the economic downturns,” said Poppe. “Employers really look for the best of the best, and how you present yourself in an interview is important. That’s why we started to include some job hunting tips. We also recommend that participants contact WCC’s Employment Services department for job listings, as well as résumé and interview preparation workshops.”

Class Reflects Career Changes

WCC has offered an introductory phlebotomy class since the mid-1990s. Poppe and her fellow instructors are constantly looking at the class to determine what has changed in the field and what class updates are needed to keep it current.

“So many professions are leaning toward certification today,” Poppe said. “And over the years we’ve built a curriculum that meets or exceeds industry standards for educating good phlebotomists. In other words, we’ve made our great course even better.”

It was during her clinical training as a student nurse that Alicia Campbell received her introduction to phlebotomy. “I took the (fundamentals) course because I had had a little exposure to drawing blood and I wanted to know more about it,” she said. “Now I’m working as a phlebotomist at St. Joe’s while I’m finishing my nursing degree at EMU. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to work in a hospital right now if it weren’t for this class. It’s a great stepping stone for me.”

WCC offers three other non-credit phlebotomy classes:

  • Phlebotomy Skills: Accelerated for Healthcare Professionals
  • PICCs, Ports & Other Central Lines
  • Reducing Complications in Pediatric Phlebotomy Through Improved Communication & Applied Best Practices

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