Phlebotomists are an instrumental part of the NHS team, making sure that the diagnosis of illness is done quickly and safely.
Training and qualifications required
There are no set entry requirements to become a trainee phlebotomist. Employers usually ask for at least two GCSEs or equivalent and may ask for a BTEC or equivalent vocational qualification in health and social care or healthcare. They also often ask for relevant work experience in health or social care, in either paid or voluntary work. There are apprenticeships in healthcare that would give you relevant experience to apply for a trainee phlebotomist position. You could work as a healthcare assistant, and then receive training in phlebotomy so that you can take patient's blood. Phlebotomists are trained on the job and so securing a trainee phlebotomist position is recommended. The training includes theory and practical work.
Expected working hours and salary range
Clinical support staff working in the NHS are paid on the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay system. As a phlebotomist, you will typically start on AfC band 2 or 3. With further training and experience, you could apply for more senior positions at band 4. In the NHS, phlebotomists work standard hours of around 37.5 a week. They often work shifts, which could involve nights, early starts, evenings and weekends. Terms and conditions will usually be different for phlebotomists working outside of the NHS.
Desirable skills and values
As a phlebotomist, you'll need to be caring and kind, able to put patients at ease - they might feel anxious about giving blood, willing to be hands-on with patients, able to follow instructions and procedures, able to work in a team but use your own initiative, able to explain procedures to patients, careful and methodical. You'll also need good communication skills, including listening, good organisational and observational skills.
With experience and further training, you could become a senior phlebotomist taking on more advanced work. You could become a team leader, supervising the work of a team of phlebotomists. With further training, experience and qualifications, you could apply to train as a science or healthcare professional such as a nurse, biomedical scientist or healthcare science practitioner.