A traveling phlebotomist performs the same duties as a regular phlebotomist working in a doctor’s office, hospital or other institution. The duties of a phlebotomist may include:
- Interpreting the doctor’s orders
- Talking with the patient
- Choosing the correct needle size or gauge
- Choosing the appropriate vacuum tubes
- Labeling the blood collection tubes appropriately
- Puncturing an appropriate vein
- Doing a skin prick
- Transporting the blood samples safely to the lab
- Disposing of hazardous wastes appropriately
Those are the main general duties of most phlebotomists. One who travels might perform only a few of those functions, if not all of them. He or she could perform different ones depending on the particular employer.
Employers who usually require their phlebotomists to travel include the American Red Cross, specifically the Red Cross Blood Services, and mobile blood banks. Life insurance companies and companies that provide health care services on an occasional basis at senior centers and nursing homes are other potential employers.
Depending on the employer, the phlebotomist may be required to provide his or her own transportation. In other words, unless you are travelling inside the mobile blood bank, you would probably need to drive your own vehicle to work.
There are some special short-term jobs for the traveling phlebotomist. Major factories, mines or other industries opening up in rural areas sometimes need a whole team of healthcare providers to work for them at least on a temporary basis. That could be an option for you.
Usually the companies want a pre-employment physical for their new hires. If there are no hospital services in the area, they hire medical professionals that are willing to travel and they pay very well. In other words, the traveling phlebotomist salaries can be quite high. But they can also be temporary, so that’s something to consider carefully.
The job requirements are similar to those of any phlebotomy technician. The only unique consideration is that you could be required to work in different states and different states have different licensing or certification requirements.
For example, if you were required to travel to California, you would need to take the California State Department of Health certification test for phlebotomists. If you held a Florida certification and were caught practicing in California without a certificate from the Department of Health, you could be fined.
Some jobs require only occasional travel. For example, an insurance company could have their phlebotomists travel to various locations throughout the city. The insurer would reimburse the phlebotomist for travel-related expenses, gas and usually pay a certain amount for mileage. Mileage is also a legitimate deduction on the income tax return of a traveling phlebotomist, which can be helpful.
It could be possible to create your own business if you want to travel and you want to become a phlebotomist. Some phlebotomists work for several different employers, travelling to various locations on an as-needed basis.
You would need the skills, training and certifications, just as you would if you were going to work for a single employer and you would likely be classified as a contractor, which could mean that you were working without benefits. There are drawbacks, but working for yourself is an option if you really want to be a traveling phlebotomist.