Have you ever had so much to say but couldn’t find the words to say anything at all? I can’t seem to figure out how to relate what I’m about to talk about to previous discussions and that’s because I can’t. My class and I recently finished the Phlebotomy course and it was entirely different from any other course so far. Unlike ECG’s, Phlebotomy is invasive, intimidating, and yes – a little painful. Drawing blood was a skill I had no previous desire to learn because it’s typically not part of the Cardio Tech’s duties (with the exception of a hospital in Vancouver). In fact, the majority of students in the program will only ever perform phlebotomy at school, but we’re all taught how should we choose to work at that particular hospital.
The course began with a couple of days of theory and lecture, but by the end of the first week we were practicing our pokes on simulation arms. I should mention that the course itself is only a mere two weeks in duration. The rushed pace was welcomed by those with needle phobia’s, but in reality I feel it should have been longer. In nine days we completed 9 quizzes, 3 assignments, a midterm and a final exam; additionally, everyone is required to complete 20 successful blood draws (key word successful) to pass the course. Most students were about half way through the total amount by the end of the second week, which meant continuing the practical portion of phlebotomy while moving forward with the next course. There are open labs available once a week in the afternoons for six weeks to ensure everyone finishes their blood draws. I was fortunate to only need one after-school lab day to complete my quota, which was a relief because I found it distracting to have loose ends to tie up from a previous course.
I remember in the months leading up to Phlebotomy, I thought it was just a rumour that we would have to learn how to venipuncture on our fellow classmates’ arms. Everyone feared the worst and it took a while before the tension subsided in the lab. I found it was even more nerve-wracking to practice on friends, knowing I didn’t really know what I was doing yet and I could do potential damage. Fortunately, our instructor was fantastic at pushing everyone to conquer their fears. She’s exactly what the course needs, especially taking into account that Phlebotomy isn’t the reason why we choose this program. Ironically enough, I ended up finishing the course with one of my highest course grades yet and grew fairly confident in my venipuncture skills.
The intensity of the Phlebotomy course reminded me of how jam-packed the courses at the beginning of the year were. It was tough to go back to daily tests and hours of homework each night, but I’m glad it was right after reading break to motivate me for the next couple of months. The timing also worked out great for me personally, because I got a part time job and the hours work better with the course I’m currently taking now. I’ve been working after school a few days a week plus every Saturday and Sunday, so needless to say things have gotten busier lately. School is still my top priority but I’m trying to fit in some work before I leave the lower mainland for my practicum, it’s hard to believe that’s only eleven weeks away!