A Sticky Job
Posted on WCAX: Jan 23, 2009 6:28 PM
By Beth Parent

BURLINGTON, V.T. — Most folks in the health care field are required to draw blood, but it can be time consuming for doctors and nurses who are already busy with patient care. Phlebotomists focus exclusively on blood collection and they are now in high demand in Vermont.

Leah Briggs knows what a busy day is. "So it can get pretty hectic, today actually we're lucky, it was kind of slower today we had a few breaks," said Briggs, a phlebotomist at Fletcher Allen Health Care. Briggs is one of 45 phlebotomists at Fletcher Allen Health Care. On a typical day, over 200 people come in to have blood drawn at this laboratory alone.

"We currently cover 6 outpatient sites all over the community as well as all the in-patient floors 24 hours a day, seven days a week," said Michele Baker, of Fletcher Allen Health Care. Currently, there are not enough phlebotomists to serve all of the patients. "We had to close one of our outpatient clinics for three weeks," said Baker.

To try to fill six vacant positions, Fletcher Allen Health Care is teaming up with Vermont HITEC, a nonprofit that works to train and employ folks in a variety of fields. The phlebotomy training program is an intense eight week course. At the end of the program, the students are guaranteed a job at Fletcher Allen. So far, the hospital has received over 400 applications for the 10 available slots. Next week, they begin the interview process. "It's a very intimate type of setting because you have to be very detail oriented but you also need excellent customer service skills if you're going to touch somebody and stick something in them they don't always like that," Baker said. "You've got to be a people person you've got to just love your people and love your patients," Briggs said. A career for folks looking to get into health care -- where the salary range is anywhere from $11.50 to over $17 an hour.
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