Important Phlebotomy Technician Skills for Success

Phlebotomist inserting needle into a patient's arm to draw blood

What Kind of Skills Do You Need to Be a Phlebotomist?

Phlebotomists draw blood from patients for tests, research, transfusions, and/or blood donations. They work primarily in hospitals, doctors’ offices, blood donation centers, and laboratories. Along with drawing blood, they label the blood for processing, enter information in computer databases, and assemble and maintain all the medical instruments needed to draw blood.

Phlebotomists often explain the procedure gently to patients in order to calm their nerves. Sometimes, they also have to care for patients who have an adverse reaction after their blood is drawn.

Types of Phlebotomy Skills

Phlebotomists require a wide variety of skills. Some of these are hard skills, such as knowing how to perform certain medical procedures and dexterity for using equipment efficiently. Others are soft skills, such as compassion for anxious patients.

Attention to Detail

Phlebotomists usually have a constant flow of patients throughout the day. They need to be precise when drawing blood and labeling and keeping track of samples.

  • Calculating the Quantity of Blood Needed
  • Decontaminating the Puncture Site
  • Documenting All Procedures
  • Following Infection Control Guidelines
  • Locating Appropriate Veins for Blood Collection
  • Maintain Specimen Integrity
  • Preparing Specimens for Transport to the Laboratory


Phlebotomists need to be able to clearly explain procedures to patients, and listen to their questions and concerns. Many patients will be nervous, so clearly explaining what is going to happen will put patients at ease. Strong verbal communication skills are critical.

  • Oral Communication
  • Nonverbal Communication
  • Active Listening
  • Explaining the Process of Extracting Samples
  • Instructing Patients Regarding Proper Urine Collection
  • Persuasion
  • Writing Reports, Correspondence, and Policy

Data Entry

Most hospitals and doctors’ offices require phlebotomists to enter patient and specimen information in a medical record database on the computer. Having data entry skills and experience is a big plus for a phlebotomist.

  • Data Management
  • Accuracy
  • Computer Skills
  • Microsoft Office Suite
  • Data Management Software
  • Information Management


Physical dexterity (or motor skills) is critical for a phlebotomist. Phlebotomists have to work with their hands to handle equipment and draw blood. They need to be able to draw blood quickly and efficiently, with minimal discomfort for patients.

  • Close Vision
  • Hand-eye Coordination
  • Working Quickly
  • Performing Chemical Tests
  • Promoting Workplace Safety


Phlebotomists need to have strong interpersonal skills. In particular, they need to be able to empathize with and show concern and care for patients who are nervous. Empathy will help a phlebotomist interact successfully with patients and their families.

  • Calming Anxious Patients
  • Customer Service
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Patience