Phlebotomy 101

This paper is about a time in my life that took me back to classes at Ivy Tech Community College. I am a Certified Medical Assistant by profession. I am returning to Ivy Tech Community College once again to work on achieving my RN, registered nursing degree. I attended Ivy Tech Community College from the year I graduated high school in 1990 until 1992 when I received a Technical Certificate in Medical Assisting.

I am a divorced, single mother of three children that include 2 boys, ages 9 years old and four years old and a daughter, age 13 and a half, going on 25. I seemed to be going back to school when an upheaval of some sort happened in my life. This just happened to be one of those times.

I was married to my children’s father, Paul, for five years before he became employed by the Chrysler Corporation in the fall of 1999. I at the time was employed as Medical Receptionist, for New Castle Pediatrics and was pregnant with our second child. After working in the medical field for six years Paul and I decided it would be a good idea if I stayed home with the now 2 children. So, that’s what I did.

It was the early winter of 2006 and life as I knew it was about to change in a big way. Chrysler Corporation in New Castle, Indiana where Paul was employed was being sold to a company named Metaldyne. Paul had the choice to stay employed at Metaldyne and take a “buy-out” from Chrysler or transfer to another Chrysler Plant possibly in another state. Paul had put in for a transfer to the Kokomo, Indiana plant, but due to his seniority Paul was forced to take a transfer to a Chrysler Plant in another state. Our family made a decision that we would put our home in Spiceland, Indiana, up for sale and Paul’s job would relocate to the Belvidere, Illinois Chrysler plant.

We placed our home for sale and six months had passed with no offers for a buyer of our home in Spiceland. Paul and I were even making trips to Illinois, trying to find a home for us before he was to report to work in January of 2006. After talking to many realtors in Illinois and having our credit checked to purchase a home close to the Chrysler plant, our options of buying or renting a home for our family was looking bleak.

As time continued to pass, the time for Paul to report to work in Illinois was drawing nearer. As our home still had a for sale sign in the front yard, Paul left the children and I behind hoping the house would sell and we could all join him soon to be reunited as a family. As the months started slipping by, Paul was working in Illinois and I was at home raising our three children. Paul and I started growing farther and farther apart, as husband and wife, and also as a family.

It started seeming as if Paul was beginning a new life in Illinois basically without his family. He started calling and coming home less and less. Paul’s actions were telling me that we, as husband and wife, had another life altering decision to talk about making.

It was now the Spring of 2006 and Paul and I had decided, after much consideration, we would divorce. He wasn’t sure he wanted “us” in his new life.

I, now, going to be a single mother and not having worked in 6 years had some changing to do myself. As I scanned the computer and newspaper ads for jobs wanting a medical assistant, all the advertisements wanted were Certified Medical Assistants. So, back to Ivy Tech I went. I wanted to take the medical assisting review course to become certified. In doing this I hoped it would increase my changes of finding a job to support the 3 children and myself. Along with the certification review course, I also took “Phlebotomy 101”. I had always been interested in the more invasive aspects of my profession, and to receive financial aid, I also needed 3 more credit hours. “Phlebotomy 101” sounded like the course for me. For those who do not know what phlebotomy is, it is the technique used to draw blood from patients and the blood is used for laboratory testing.

I enjoyed phlebotomy very much since it was a hand’s on experience. Our class was taught how to draw blood using proper techniques, and the correct color of tubes that are used for different types of lab testing.

We began practicing drawing blood on a fake arm filled with a blood-like substance. Later, we had to draw blood on each other, yes our classmates!
We drew names out of a hat of fellow classmates. The name we chose was the person whom we would be doing our live blood draw on. We had to have at least one successful “stick”, blood draw in order to pass the course.

We chose our names from the hat and an older gentleman had drawn my name. After seeing who had drawn my name, he came to me and proceeded to tell me how nervous he was and how he was sorry to tell me this , but “I have the beginning stages of Parkinson’s disease”, Parkinson’s disease causes shakiness, I thought to myself. I then too was starting to become nervous for the both of us!

As I took the blood-drawing chair, watching the shaking men prepare the equipment to draw my blood, I think I started shaking. He felt for my vein, and with shaky hands came toward my arm. Thankfully he got the needle in my vein on the first stick! Needless to say, I had quite a bruise on my arm the next day from the shaking needle in my arm.

Phlebotomy class is one I will never forget and to this day phlebotomy is one of my favorite tasks to perform as a Certified Medical Assistant.