A day as a phlebotomist

You work at your local NHS hospital or GP surgery, obtaining blood samples from patients and ensuring their safe delivery to the laboratory for testing. Your first task is to take blood from an elderly, diabetic patient who isn't recovering well from an operation. After correctly identifying and consenting the patient, you explain to the patient exactly what's going to happen, then decide on the best area to take the sample and the most suitable equipment to use. In this case the veins in his arm are fine, so you sterilise the area and insert a needle. After the blood sample has been collected, you ensure it is stored and labelled correctly, and ensure it is delivered to the laboratory for processing. You enjoy being a vital part of a life-saving medical team, and meeting all sorts of different people every day.

Does this sound like you?

You like meeting people and working as part of a team. You can put people at ease, and are responsible and reliable. You're also very careful and methodical, and enjoy following rules and procedures.

What's next after GCSE?

Although there are no specific entry requirements, a range of GCSEs (or equivalent qualifications) would be an advantage but you will receive training on-the-job.

What's next after A level and beyond?

A levels (or the equivalent) are not required but could improve your chances of securing a position as a trainee phlebotomist. After either GCSEs or A levels, you'd need to apply for a position as a trainee phlebotomist and you'd be trained on-the-job. Sometimes, staff working in assistant/support roles in pathology laboratories are given phlebotomy training while they're working. Occasionally there are apprenticeships for trainee phlebotomists and healthcare science assistants. Job and apprenticeship vacancies in the NHS can be found on the NHS Jobs website www.jobs.nhs.uk. You can also find apprenticeships on the Gov.uk website www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship