What is pediatric phlebotomy training? Is there a special class offered at a university or community college? Is dealing with the pediatric patient something that every phlebotomist must know how to do? Here are the answers to those questions and others.
Pediatric phlebotomy training focuses on the special needs of children. A child’s veins are smaller than an adult’s. Certain health problems cause the veins to become even smaller.
In an infant or child under the age of 2, a heel prick is sometimes the only option for blood collection. In older children, a special 25 gauge butterfly needle may be used.
It is up to the phlebotomist to determine whether the child’s veins are large enough to use the smallest 25 gauge needle. It takes specialized training, practice and experience to be able to make that determination.
The butterfly needles are preferred whenever the latest vacuum tubes are used. The butterfly needles allow the phlebotomist to see if the vein has been entered properly.
Doctors rarely require a large sample for the pediatric patient but more than could be obtained during a dermal prick is sometimes necessary. Thus, a vacuum tube is sometimes the best option.
All of this relates to the practice of venipuncture, the phlebotomist’s specialty. Venipuncture is the process of accessing the veins through the use of a needle, either to draw blood or to treat certain diseases. Anyone who wishes to obtain a phlebotomy certificate will learn all about venipuncture.
A phlebotomist who is currently practicing but failed to receive pediatric phlebotomy training in class could take a one, two or three day seminar that covers the topic fairly well. It is preferable to be trained prior to taking the certification tests because questions about pediatric patients are often asked.
In addition to the phlebotomy fundamentals of venipuncture, there are other issues related to pediatric patients. Children are often frightened by the appearance of a medical practitioner.
Simply seeing the white coat is sometimes enough to set a child into a panic. It is for this reason that many pediatricians and their staff wear colorful scrubs with pleasant characters on them in hopes of reducing the child’s stress level.
Special techniques can be used to ensure that the child does not experience undue pain. Even though the pain of a needle inserted into the vein is mild and can certainly be tolerated by an adult, that small amount of pain can be difficult for a child to tolerate.
During pediatric phlebotomy training, a future phlebotomist learns how to reduce the amount of pain that the child feels and learns how to deal with an out of control child to prevent injury to the child or to the phlebotomist. Much of this comes with experience.
Experience can be obtained through the clinical portion of pediatric phlebotomy training. It may still be necessary to volunteer in facilities that deal with a lot of children in order to get a complete understanding of how to deal with the pediatric patient. Most phlebotomists become comfortable dealing with patients of all ages in just a few months.