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Hello everyone! Long time lurker, but having a problem. I am currently finishing up my Associates and going to be working on my BS soon and I was looking for a low to medium stress PCE job to get hours while I go to school. So I thought Phlebotomy would be perfect as I could get the hours while doing my Bachelors and use it to volunteer at bloodbanks/red cross/etc..

 

However, lately I have been seeing that it is considered 'low quality' PCE and I want my application to be as good as possible. I am 29 years old, decided to finally go to school because I was tired of minimum wage and have my heart set on PA. Is Phlebotomy going to look bad on my application? Is there any other low to medium stress options that I can work at part-time while in school? My GPA is somewhat of my focus (Currently sitting at a 3.85 and hope to keep it around there!)

Once I get my BS in Kinesiology I will be able to work as an Exercise Physiologist, but if possible I would like to not gap year so I will be applying ASAP.

The other ones I am currently considering are: EKG Tech, and MA.

Any advice? 

Edited by Onigokko0101
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Phlebotomy really pigeon holes you in term of experience. I mean it is experience but realistically how much medicine or medical knowledge are you gaining from drawing blood all day? Patients usually don't like it and makes it hard for a person to even gain some social skills from it. Personally, from the options you listed I think MA is great experience. You get to do vitals, take dipstick urine samples, draw blood, room patients, assist the provider with whatever procedures, chart etc. In some cases you can even learn how the provider thinks, makes for a good letter of rec aswell!

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2 hours ago, Endeavor said:

Phlebotomy really pigeon holes you in term of experience. I mean it is experience but realistically how much medicine or medical knowledge are you gaining from drawing blood all day? Patients usually don't like it and makes it hard for a person to even gain some social skills from it. Personally, from the options you listed I think MA is great experience. You get to do vitals, take dipstick urine samples, draw blood, room patients, assist the provider with whatever procedures, chart etc. In some cases you can even learn how the provider thinks, makes for a good letter of rec aswell!

Thanks! I think I will consider that over Phlebotomy, and I think I could prob find a low hour part-time position on MA while im in school.

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10 hours ago, Onigokko0101 said:

Thanks! I think I will consider that over Phlebotomy, and I think I could prob find a low hour part-time position on MA while im in school.

13 hours ago, Endeavor said:

Phlebotomy really pigeon holes you in term of experience. I mean it is experience but realistically how much medicine or medical knowledge are you gaining from drawing blood all day? Patients usually don't like it and makes it hard for a person to even gain some social skills from it. Personally, from the options you listed I think MA is great experience. You get to do vitals, take dipstick urine samples, draw blood, room patients, assist the provider with whatever procedures, chart etc. In some cases you can even learn how the provider thinks, makes for a good letter of rec aswell!

I think you have the wrong impression of how much exposure phlebotomist's get in healthcare.

I gained most of my patient care experience in phlebotomy because it was the only certification course I could get done in the summer between semesters of college (its also less expensive and less time consuming than MA)

 I gained almost 2,500 hours and I've received 3 interviews from great and highly reputable programs. It's easy to say "all your doing is drawing blood all day". Yes, that's the role of a phlebotomist. However, from personal experience, I drew ALL patient populations. Newborns to geriatrics and in ALL healthcare settings. I drew ICU patients, Emergency Room patients, Outpatient, Inpatient, med-surg and psychiatric patients. I've done morning rounds and have gained so much exposure to different healthcare professionals while on the floor and it requires communicating with providers more than people think. I've had to respond to rapid response and stat pages and it gives you an idea of what happens in those scenarios. Granted, it's considered "low quality" but compared to the true role of an "MA" which nearly half is office work.

Additionally, as an MA you'll most likely be working in an office whereas in phlebotomy you can try and find a job that has phlebotomists work in all different settings to get exposure. I've learned that I much prefer working with really sick patients vs outpatient that come in for routine visits. I wouldn't have known this if I limited myself to outpatient exclusively. Maybe where I worked is an exception in that we get a ton of exposure and work with so many different kinds of patients but I wouldn't discredit the experience in phlebotomy. You also collect urine and stool specimens and if your in an outpatient lab, your also checking the patient in. Because I've worked on the floor and saw doctors and PA's from different specialties, it's also given me the benefit of asking questions and ultimately getting shadowing experience. Yes, an MA is considered 'good' patient care experience, however, CASPA has also placed it under "healthcare experience". Like I said, realistically speaking  nearly half is office work. In phlebotomy, you could be seeing around 60-70 patients a day. Just my experience! I would consider it and if you want to work in phlebotomy to get your foot in the door and then move on to MA that's also a good idea. Not to discredit MA's but they aren't great at drawing blood. Most of them send the patients to the lab or have a phlebotomist on site and if you apply for an MA job with phlebotomy experience, it'll give you a leg up. Up to you 🙂 

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5 hours ago, rfo1234 said:

I think you have the wrong impression of how much exposure phlebotomist's get in healthcare.

I gained most of my patient care experience in phlebotomy because it was the only certification course I could get done in the summer between semesters of college (its also less expensive and less time consuming than MA)

 I gained almost 2,500 hours and I've received 3 interviews from great and highly reputable programs. It's easy to say "all your doing is drawing blood all day". Yes, that's the role of a phlebotomist. However, from personal experience, I drew ALL patient populations. Newborns to geriatrics and in ALL healthcare settings. I drew ICU patients, Emergency Room patients, Outpatient, Inpatient, med-surg and psychiatric patients. I've done morning rounds and have gained so much exposure to different healthcare professionals while on the floor and it requires communicating with providers more than people think. I've had to respond to rapid response and stat pages and it gives you an idea of what happens in those scenarios. Granted, it's considered "low quality" but compared to the true role of an "MA" which nearly half is office work.

Additionally, as an MA you'll most likely be working in an office whereas in phlebotomy you can try and find a job that has phlebotomists work in all different settings to get exposure. I've learned that I much prefer working with really sick patients vs outpatient that come in for routine visits. I wouldn't have known this if I limited myself to outpatient exclusively. Maybe where I worked is an exception in that we get a ton of exposure and work with so many different kinds of patients but I wouldn't discredit the experience in phlebotomy. You also collect urine and stool specimens and if your in an outpatient lab, your also checking the patient in. Because I've worked on the floor and saw doctors and PA's from different specialties, it's also given me the benefit of asking questions and ultimately getting shadowing experience. Yes, an MA is considered 'good' patient care experience, however, CASPA has also placed it under "healthcare experience". Like I said, realistically speaking  nearly half is office work. In phlebotomy, you could be seeing around 60-70 patients a day. Just my experience! I would consider it and if you want to work in phlebotomy to get your foot in the door and then move on to MA that's also a good idea. Not to discredit MA's but they aren't great at drawing blood. Most of them send the patients to the lab or have a phlebotomist on site and if you apply for an MA job with phlebotomy experience, it'll give you a leg up. Up to you 🙂 

The big reason I was considering Phlebotomy is the same reason you did it: Its much shorter to get certs then a lot of other things. Its also the reason I was considering EKG Tech as well.

That said, after saying what I said earlier I did notice that all the MA certs around me take at least a year, so I may still just go with Phlebotomy and if I dont get in the first cycle do Exercise Physio during my gap year.

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Will it look bad?  Of course not.  Are there better PCE options?  Yes.

That said, all my DIRECT patient care was phlebotomy and it wasn't an issue.  But I had several years of HCE and excellent grades.  

I'll disagree with a previous poster and say that it is actually GREAT for social skills.  You have to be able to talk to a patient, calm them down, and make small talk while drawing....it gives you a chance to be personable.  I guess you could just take their name and DOB and not say a word and they likely wouldn't think anything of it, but you CAN do more and be better.  Plenty of phlebs are so good they are requested by regulars and really get to know patients.

If the goal is just to start getting hours and then get MORE PCE with your BS while applying to PA, I don't think you need to stress too much.  Some MA jobs are glorified secretaries....depends on the employer.

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12 minutes ago, MT2PA said:

Will it look bad?  Of course not.  Are there better PCE options?  Yes.

That said, all my DIRECT patient care was phlebotomy and it wasn't an issue.  But I had several years of HCE and excellent grades.  

I'll disagree with a previous poster and say that it is actually GREAT for social skills.  You have to be able to talk to a patient, calm them down, and make small talk while drawing....it gives you a chance to be personable.  I guess you could just take their name and DOB and not say a word and they likely wouldn't think anything of it, but you CAN do more and be better.  Plenty of phlebs are so good they are requested by regulars and really get to know patients.

If the goal is just to start getting hours and then get MORE PCE with your BS while applying to PA, I don't think you need to stress too much.  Some MA jobs are glorified secretaries....depends on the employer.

I have a good GPA so far. 3.85 almost 3.9. That said I havent gone BS upper classes yet but I think I should keep it high so I am less worried about that.

I am also pretty socially adept as is, so again, not so much of a worry. I just want my application, when it happens, to look good so if possible I don't have to gap year!

I currently do not have any HCE either, so that could be an issue with it being only Phlebotomy?

Edited by Onigokko0101
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  • 2 weeks later...

I have been a phlebotomist for over eight years and have shadowed a PA where her only PCE was phlebotomy - we actually worked for the same company. So phlebotomy is definitely good as far as PCE. Where I work I do not just draw blood all day - much of my job includes training other phlebotomists, taking vitals, weight measurements and reading blood protein/hematocrit levels. There have been many times where donors go into reaction from blood draws or react to  the anticoagulant fluid used to prevent blood clots. This can cause individuals to lose consciousness, vomit, sweat profusely, even convulse  - In these cases I work along side other phlebs and nurses to administer IV fluids to help the donor recover. Having the opportunity to be the first responder in these situations has offered great patient care experience - in my opinion.

Having said all this, I have also spent 200+ hours working as a volunteer physical therapy aide for a sports medicine and orthopedic outpatient clinic to gain additional PCE.  There is always room for more! 

Edited by mcconnmic
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