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Gap year - become a phlebotomist?

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    (Original post by thegodofgod)
    Hi all,


    • What are the hours like - if it's not full time, I'd like to carry on with volunteering at a care home and with primary school kids as well.
    • How long is the on-job training - i.e. is there any point in me doing the job of a phlebotomist for a year or so, if I'm (hopefully ) going to university in October?
    • Do you get a good exposure to people from a wide variety of backgrounds - possibly something I could write about in my Personal Statement for next year?
    • How much teamwork is involved - is working with / communicating to other phlebotomists / nurses / doctors / other health-care professionals frequent - again, it could be something I could mention in my Personal Statement?

    I worked as a phleb for a fair while, so I'll give you my take on things.

    Hours?
    They will vary depending on the trust and their specific set-up; and your role. Where I worked it was mostly a morning job with the bulk of the team working until mid-day. There were then a few of us on for the rest of the day in outpatient clinics.

    Training?
    The on the job training is a bit vague. Sadly, no amount of practicing on a prosthetic will make you a good phleb. You'll probably spend some time in out patients, watch a few, do a few; then you'll go around with someone in the wards; then you'll be on your own. If they're sensible you'll have "easy"/"light" rounds when you first start. To more directly answer your question - you should be a fairly decent phleb after six months to a year so it wouldn't be a waste of time in that regard.

    Exposure?
    Again, it depends where you work and what their set-up is. You could well spend the year on one ward; in one outpatient clinic; or in both, on a new ward every day. I was lucky enough to work with almost every patient group you can think of and gained a huge amount from it.

    Teamwork?
    Depends, can be lots, can be very little. You'll work with other members of staff for lots of reasons including all those you listed.

    I'd say go for it, I gained a lot from the job - worked with lots of different patients, staff groups, etc. The downside is, it can be a fairly full-on and might leave you feeling jaded with a distaste for F1's before you've even started medical school.

    One last piece of advice - watch your back, literally. It's all too easy to spend far too much time bent over in the same position, and as a consequence a nice limp and back pain are a hall mark of old school phlebs. I certainly regret being less careful.
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    (Original post by Dr. Cool)
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    Wow - thanks a lot, very insightful and encouraging

    Will definitely apply then - whether I get a job, that's a whole other matter

    +repped
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    I remember that I managed to get a HCA job a few years ago without any experience of healthcare work beforehand. I was interviewed within 2 weeks of sending my application in, and was having my Trust induction within another 2.

    So, if you get lucky like I was, you could be on the wards well within a month. Good luck with everything in the future.....
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    (Original post by quickdraw)
    I remember that I managed to get a HCA job a few years ago without any experience of healthcare work beforehand. I was interviewed within 2 weeks of sending my application in, and was having my Trust induction within another 2.

    So, if you get lucky like I was, you could be on the wards well within a month. Good luck with everything in the future.....
    Thanks mate, very motivating :party:
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    Just don't tell them you're only wanting to do it for 12 months. You can let on after you're in the post.

    Venepuncture is a piece of piss. You can probably get signed off on it as an HCA in a week without having to attend the (pointless.. always pointless) study day that the trust lays on to protect itself legally. I mean really, what do they think we're going to do, draw blood from someone's retina?

    Tourniquet, meet arm. Vein, meet needle. Stick the vacutainer tube in the plastic barrel. Reverse the procedure with a handy cotton swab and plaster. Done. Repeat.

    When you get bored of it you can move on and become a cannulation tech. That's where it starts to get a bit messier.
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    Oh and if you're in London apply to hospitals that start their HCAs/phlebs at band 3.
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    (Original post by machines)
    Oh and if you're in London apply to hospitals that start their HCAs/phlebs at band 3.
    There's a permanent position available 20 hrs/week (band 2 or 3 depending on previous experience; previous experience not necessary, but desired) at my nearest NHS trust (only 2 miles away ) - filled out the application form, just getting my referees sorted.

    What should I put down as the first available time thing, given that the trust wants someone immediately ?

    I doubt I'd be able to commit myself to anything before July/August
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    (Original post by thegodofgod)
    What should I put down as the first available time thing, given that the trust wants someone immediately ?

    I doubt I'd be able to commit myself to anything before July/August
    Why not? Sorry, I haven't read the whole thread. They probably aren't going to wait till July/August for a phleb..
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    Have you thought about just getting an HCA job? It'd be quite a bit less boring..? I don't know if you drive, but lots of phleb jobs involve doing clinics in the community and thus require people with a car, too..
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    (Original post by machines)
    Why not? Sorry, I haven't read the whole thread. They probably aren't going to wait till July/August for a phleb..
    I'm a year 13 student - my exams will end in the end of June

    (Original post by machines)
    Have you thought about just getting an HCA job? It'd be quite a bit less boring..? I don't know if you drive, but lots of phleb jobs involve doing clinics in the community and thus require people with a car, too..
    I don't drive - was planning to get that sorted in my gap year

    No HCA jobs available at local NHS trusts at the moment, but will apply for those as well when the opportunity arises
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    I think any Band 2 jobs in the NHS would be great for your application - a friend is working as a phlebo, another is working as a porter and I am working as a HCA. We all have offers now.

    I have to stress that if you want to improve your interpersonal skills then HCA is without a doubt the way forward (although probably the least glamorous!), at least in my opinion. As you probably know, nursing has more patient contact than any other healthcare profession, and HCA has the most, even more so than nurses.

    When I applied I had no previous caring experience, so I had applied to 40+ posts before I got a couple of interviews and offers. Just check the NHS website everyday and apply to as many places as possible.

    Good luck!
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    (Original post by Panda89)
    I think any Band 2 jobs in the NHS would be great for your application - a friend is working as a phlebo, another is working as a porter and I am working as a HCA. We all have offers now.

    I have to stress that if you want to improve your interpersonal skills then HCA is without a doubt the way forward (although probably the least glamorous!), at least in my opinion. As you probably know, nursing has more patient contact than any other healthcare profession, and HCA has the most, even more so than nurses.

    When I applied I had no previous caring experience, so I had applied to 40+ posts before I got a couple of interviews and offers. Just check the NHS website everyday and apply to as many places as possible.

    Good luck!
    All the HCA jobs advertised in my area say you need an NVQ in health and social care or something similar. Is this standard? :confused:
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    (Original post by laura130490)
    All the HCA jobs advertised in my area say you need an NVQ in health and social care or something similar. Is this standard? :confused:
    Some say that, some don't. You've got nothing to lose, though; once you have your application sorted then it's only matter of a couple of minutes to apply to a new post.
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    (Original post by Panda89)
    Some say that, some don't. You've got nothing to lose, though; once you have your application sorted then it's only matter of a couple of minutes to apply to a new post.
    Thank you
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    These aren't things that you can just get. Such jobs are hard to come by especially without any experience.
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    I've got to disagree with the poster above, it really isn't that hard to get a somewhat mucky job that pays the minimum wage. Yes, trusts won't throw themselves at you if you've got no paid experience, but when they're hiring for a large number of posts at the same time I see no reason why they wouldn't take the OP on.

    FYI, I believe the Royal Free (not my hospital) is currently recruiting for its 4x a year HCA selection day.

    I suspect that the requirement to have an 'NVQ' in Health and Social Care is really an attempt to include applicants who haven't got 5 GCSEs - which is always going to be a fairly large proportion of the applicant pool. I wouldn't let it put you off. You really won't find it too difficult to get an HCA job, lots of people do bank work/irregular care work after school before going into Nursing... and, for your interview, you want to eventually go into Nursing, ok?
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    (Original post by nexttime)
    Does it actually take that long? F1s are thrown into it having quite possibly only done it a handful of times before. One f1 i spoke to said he'd taken blood just 8 times before starting his first job.
    I don't know that it takes that long, but the NHS are generally unwilling to pay for the training you'd need if you're leaving.

    I'm a HCA and I was saying that I'll be off to uni in September, but will keep the job throughout medical school as a summer/Christmas/Easter job and some weekends. And they said they wouldn't put me on a phleb course cause by the time I got onto it it would most likely be late summer and they would no longer have me working full time. Which is fair enough really - if a little annoying. I wouldn't lie to them about how long you are going to have the job as it just seems wrong.
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    (Original post by laura130490)
    All the HCA jobs advertised in my area say you need an NVQ in health and social care or something similar. Is this standard? :confused:
    Look at it carefully - NVQ level 3 in Health and Social Care OR EQUIVALENT. If it says thats its just saying that you need level 3 qualifications - which is A levels.

    But there are quite a few who specifically want a years experience in healthcare or the Health and Social Care NVQ. There are some that wil let you on with no experience as well - although I've found these very rarre.

    (Original post by machines)
    Just don't tell them you're only wanting to do it for 12 months. You can let on after you're in the post.

    Venepuncture is a piece of piss. You can probably get signed off on it as an HCA in a week without having to attend the (pointless.. always pointless) study day that the trust lays on to protect itself legally. I mean really, what do they think we're going to do, draw blood from someone's retina?

    Tourniquet, meet arm. Vein, meet needle. Stick the vacutainer tube in the plastic barrel. Reverse the procedure with a handy cotton swab and plaster. Done. Repeat.

    When you get bored of it you can move on and become a cannulation tech. That's where it starts to get a bit messier.
    You're joking right?

    I've got three pages worth of competencies to get signed off to be able to do BMs monitoring... And don't even get me started on the obs competencies.
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    (Original post by twelve)
    I wouldn't lie to them about how long you are going to have the job as it just seems wrong.
    Morally speaking, if you are going to be a medical student, you are hardly wasting the NHSs resources. I don't see anything wrong with lying.

    (Original post by twelve)
    You're joking right?

    I've got three pages worth of competencies to get signed off to be able to do BMs monitoring... And don't even get me started on the obs competencies.
    Yeah but that's just the bureaucracy. The actual doing of it is (mostly) very easy, and is indeed done without any training by medics.
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    (Original post by thegodofgod)
    ...
    Have you applied for it yet? I am also applying to be a phlebo.

    On the person specification it says you need "NVQ in care related field" and "Venepuncture experience" both of which I do not have.

    Did you have any of these when you applied?

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