Working in a Hospital

After becoming a Phlebotomist, you may choose to work in a hospital setting. However, there are many types of hospitals, from large University hospitals to small rural hospitals.  Learning the differences may help you better understand what working there might be like.

Some hospitals are known as trauma centers. If a hospital is equipped to treat patients of traumatic injuries such as car accidents or high falls, the hospital can become certified as a trauma center. This can be accomplished if they meet standards that have been determined by the American College of Surgeons. The hospital must also pass a review of their hospital by the Verification Review Committee. States can also designate a trauma center. Hospitals are designated Trauma Centers based on the number of patients the hospital admits annually, as well as the resources available at that hospital.

Once a hospital is certified as a trauma center, they are then identified by a ‘level’ of capability or care, Level One being the highest and Level Three the lowest. Some states have five levels of care designations, rather than three. Trauma centers are very expensive to operate, and some rural areas do not have the benefit of a close trauma center.

Transferring a critical patient to a Trauma Center can improve survival rates by as much as 25%

Trauma centers can greatly affect a patient’s outcome, providing the highest level of care during a critical time. For the victim of a bad farming accident that occurs in the country, transfer to a trauma center may save their life. Because of the specialized care that victims of trauma receive, many patients can get better medical care by being transferred rather than going to a closer hospital that is not trauma certified. Transfer is usually made by helicopter, such as a MedFlight service, rather than by ground ambulance. Registered Flight Nurses accompany the patient and provide continual care during the flight.

Level One Trauma Centers – have highly specialized trauma surgeons, such as Orthopedic and plastic surgeons that are available for patients 24 hours a day. Along with the most sophisticated and modern diagnostic medical equipment available, Level One trauma centers have educational and research programs. The American College of Surgeons (ACS) rates Level One trauma centers as ‘Comprehensive Service.

Level Two Trauma Centers – work in conjunction with Level One trauma centers.  This level provides patients essential specialized care that is available 24 hours a day, much as a Level One trauma center does. However, this level of trauma center does not have an education or research program.

Level Three Trauma Centers – are able to stabilize victims of traumatic injury such as a car accident or fall. This includes resuscitation and diagnosis. After the patient has been initially treated and stabilized, the patient will then be transferred to a higher level trauma center. Level Three trauma centers have transfer agreements with higher level hospitals for severely injured patients. Transfer is usually made by helicopter, such as a Medflight, or by ambulance. The ACS rates Level Three trauma centers as ‘Limited Service.’

Understanding Trauma Level designations will allow you, as a Phlebotomist, to better understand the working environment of that hospital, as well as the type of patient you may be drawing. A higher level of designation typically means a larger volume of patients are admitted annually.  As a Phlebotomist, this translates into more venipunctures. You may be asked to perform over 100 venipunctures a day at a busy hospital. A higher Trauma level would also have more modern equipment as well as a larger staff.


What would my hours be in a hospital?

Because each hospital is open twenty-four hours a day, Phlebotomists work in shifts. Each shift is typically eight hours long. Some hospitals have only two shifts, each twelve hours long.

First shift      7am to 3pm

Second         3pm to 11pm

Third             11pm to 7am

The hospital provides care for patients no matter the holiday or weekend. Some hospitals allow seniority to dictate shift preference, allowing those who have worked longer to have the more preferred shifts. However, most hospitals use a rotating schedule. For example, each of the four Phlebotomists at that hospital may each work one weekend a month. This allows all Phlebotomists to enjoy some weekends and holidays off.

In a hospital setting, for those who desire it, there is also the opportunity to work overtime. Overtime pay may be up to one and a half times the normal shift pay.


What are some of the benefits of working in a hospital?

Hospitals are a great place to work! Along with available overtime, you can enjoy such benefits as retirement, paid vacations and sick time. Employees also enjoy wonderful insurance coverage. Some hospitals have educational reimbursement programs that allow employees partial or full reimbursement of their tuition costs for education that is applicable to their employment.

Hospitals promote healthier living, for patients as well as staff. Some larger hospitals provide their employees gym memberships, or may have exercise rooms available on site. Employee programs may include weight-loss support groups, walk-a-thons as well as healthier cafeteria choices like salad bars and fresh fruits.


What is the salary difference between hospitals?

Typically, the larger the hospital the higher the salary you may expect to make. While a smaller rural hospital may provide the close, tight-knit community setting you may wish to join, larger hospitals such as University hospitals typically offer a higher wage. Certification also assures a Phlebotomist a higher wage over those who are not certified. The more experienced you become as a Phlebotomist, the more you can expect to earn. Within just a few years, you can expect to earn up to 30% more than newly educated Phlebotomists.

As of 2008, the annual median wage of a hospital laboratory technologist (including Phlebotomists) is

Average Wage         $53,500

Salary Range           $36,180 – $74,680

For supervisors      $47,000 – $74,000


What are the highest paying areas of the Country?

Where you live can affect your overall salary. If you live in a large metropolitan area, you can expect to earn a higher salary than a rural setting. In addition, parts of the country can affect salary ranges.

The highest paying Phlebotomy jobs are located in:

Maryland                   Rhode Island

New York                  California

Connecticut             West Coast states





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