What is the first thing you think of when you hear “phlebotomist”?
If you think of cold people taking your blood away, you haven’t met one of our phlebotomists, Leanne. She embodies the phrase “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” With over 20 years of being a phlebotomist, if you have a choice in someone who sticks you for blood draws, you are in the right hands with Leanne.
Starting in 1992 as a medical assistant in a cardiologist’s office, Leanne was inspired to pursue healthcare by her mother, who was a nurse. Before becoming a medical assistant, Leanne still strove to help people with any problems they had. And with a strong drive to do more and excellent leadership qualities Leanne quickly became a professional in phlebotomy.
She draws blood for specific lab tests to determine what ailments and illnesses patients face which aid in their recovery. She loves this part of phlebotomy the most. “Based on a good blood draw we help doctors diagnose patients, from the blood draws we can see if that person needs medication or further tests ordered and can diagnose all kinds of problems the patient is facing. Blood can tell you a lot about a person,” said Leanne.
In 2004, she went from assisting to performing phlebotomy procedures in a diagnostics laboratory run by a mobile clinic. Initially grandfathered in, the clinic paid for those who had experience in blood drawing to obtain their phlebotomist licenses. Since then, Leanne has been renewing her license herself every two years.
A lot can happen in 20 years, but the biggest game changer for Leanne was the switch from manual to digital in the industry. For phlebotomists, that meant a new system to replace handwritten documents. There were times when phlebotomy lacked the appropriate equipment to get the tests done. Now, with printers, scanners, and handheld devices it has become a seamless process from start to finish.
Mistakes and hardships can still happen such as “hard sticks,” a term used to describe patients that for many reasons are hard to draw blood from. With practice and help from Leanne’s seniors at the time, she learned all the different ways to get bloodwork done. When dealing with “hard sticks” or other obstacles, she always remains calm and collected. “When people come in, they’re sick or in pain or scared” and she is the first person clients see on their recovery journey.
During her career, Leanne has learned how to approach different people, which is helpful in any hospital setting. Leanne makes sure to remain positive through her tone of voice, honest with her patients and focused on giving the best care and attention possible.
Not only did technology change for Leanne but she was on the frontline of a global pandemic! COVID-19 put many things into perspective, especially the value of life. Already dedicated to her family, Leanne gained a different perspective on life, She quotes “I appreciate life more and I want to live it to the best of my abilities. It gave me a different vision of life where I appreciate life a lot more.” When she is not dedicating her time to her patients, she enjoys spending time with her three kids at the movies or amusement parks, traveling, and trying to fit self-care in with a massage.
Not only does Leanne love phlebotomy, but she loves working with Julianna at KPG Healthcare and hopes to continue working with us for as long as she can! Leanne says “I’m grateful to be in her (Julianna) circle and blessed to be under her wing and directed into the role I’m in now. I’m happy where I’m at and I believe I was the right candidate for the position.”
Leanne, from all of us here at KPG Healthcare, we want to thank you for your love and care in providing the best patient care possible in your 20-year (and growing) career. You’re an inspiration to the next generation of healthcare workers, and we cannot wait to see all the success you accomplish with us!
Some advice Leanne has for new phlebotomists:
- Keep practicing, work hard, and never give up
- Always do the right thing for your patients and be honest, especially if you make a mistake.