Q:

What is the standard procedure for a blood draw?

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Quick Answer

The first step in drawing blood is assembling the necessary phlebotomy equipment, followed by identifying and preparing the patient, selecting the site, and performing hand hygiene, according to Bookshelf. After hand hygiene, phlebotomists disinfect the entry site, perform venipuncture and fill the appropriate laboratory sample tubes with blood cultures in a specific order.

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Full Answer

Phlebotomists perform venipuncture first by anchoring the vein, explains Bookshelf. This is done by holding the patient's arm and placing the thumb directly below the venipuncture site. The patient then makes a fist, making the veins stand out more prominently. The phlebotomist pierces the vein at an angle of 30 degrees or less and begins drawing blood. After collecting sufficient blood, the phlebotomist releases the tourniquet and withdraws the needle gently.

After drawing, patients are recommended against flexing or bending the arm from which blood has just been drawn because this activity causes a hematoma to form, notes Bookshelf. There is a specific order of collection for depositing blood in the multiple sample tubes necessary to perform complete blood tests. This order prevents cross-contamination of the various additives used from occurring. The sample tubes are usually color-coded to help phlebotomists perform this task, although different laboratories may use different color codes.

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