Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
MLT 150
Course Title:
Lab Assistant - Phlebotomy Practicum
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Covers basic laboratory assisting skills in a clinical laboratory setting. Introduces specimen processing, phlebotomy and laboratory information systems. Stresses professionalism, interpersonal skills and safety. Department permission required. Keyboarding skills recommended. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

The course is designed to allow students to develop the skills, knowledge, and attitude required to function in a professional manner in the clinical laboratory setting. Client services, quality assurance, and equipment use and maintenance are also covered. Student may be introduced to the lab assistant€™s role in blood bank, chemistry, coagulation, hematology, microbiology, urinalysis, and phlebotomy.  To be eligible to apply for the ASCP Board of Registry examination for phlebotomy certification, students must successfully perform a minimum of 150 successful and unassisted venipunctures. Students will be scheduled for 200 hours as facility requires, Monday through Friday during the day shift. During that 200-hour period, at least 100 hours will be scheduled in phlebotomy.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon successful completion students should be able to:

1. Use an understanding of routine laboratory procedures to perform required tasks in a professional, accurate and timely manner. Laboratory procedures may include, but are not limited to appropriate collection, identification and processing of specimens; preparation of reagents; use of appropriate laboratory techniques, instruments and equipment.
2. Apply principles of quality assurance during specimen collection and processing.
3. Apply computer and keyboarding skills in an accurate and timely manner to increase the turn-around time of laboratory results.
4. Use effective written and oral communication when interacting with patients and other healthcare workers to improve patient care.

Course Activities and Design

The course is presented by informal discussion, demonstrations, observation and participation. Students will perform phlebotomy procedures and other basic lab assisting responsibilities. All student work will be done under the supervision of laboratory personnel.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

The student€™s theoretical understanding, technical performance, and demonstration of professional growth will determine the final grade.  Assessment is based on:

  • Verbal and written progress reports by the laboratory, including daily performance, professional development, communication skills and attendance.
  • Successful performance of a minimum of 150 successful and unassisted venipunctures during the minimum 100 hours of phlebotomy.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  • Course Themes
    • Theme 1: Orientation, Safety, and Professional Development
      • Introduction to staff, laboratory and hospital
      • Expectations of student and policies related to patient rights and confidentiality
      • Location and discussion of the proper use of clinical laboratory safety equipment and devices
      • Blood and body fluid precautions, aerosol prevention, and personal protective equipment
      • Fire events within the laboratory and hospital
      • Basic guidelines for safe handling of chemicals
      • Safe use of electrical and mechanical equipment
      • Policies and expectations of clinical affiliate and the college
      • Professionalism: the attitude and traits expected of clinical laboratory professional
    • Theme 2: Routine and Special Phlebotomy Procedures
      • Equipment and components of collection systems and their appropriate use
      • The role of the phlebotomist and professional behavior in dealing with clients, their family, and the public
      • Basic phlebotomy procedure
      • Prioritization, preparation, processing, and distribution of specimens
      • Guidelines for drug screen collections
      • Precautions when working with difficult patients
      • Special handling procedures
    • Theme 3: Client Services
      • Proficiency in written and verbal communications
      • Effective troubleshooting of basic client service problems
    • Theme 4: Basic Laboratory Functions
      • Proper care and safe use of basic laboratory equipment
      • Daily maintenance and other laboratory responsibilities
      • Compliance with the quality assurance
      • Key terms for workload prioritization and adhere to prioritization policies
      • Inventory control and reagent management
    • Theme 5: Laboratory Information Systems
      • Keyboarding skills
      • Basic LIS procedures: patient registration, order entry, order inquiry, editing, adding and canceling orders
      • Receiving and accessioning specimens
      • The email system
    • Theme 6: Specimen Processing
      • Identification, aliquoting and labeling specimens according to laboratory protocol
      • Distribution of specimens to appropriate testing locations
      • Proper specimen storage
      • Key terms for workload prioritization and adhere to prioritization policies
      • Referral resources
  • Laboratory Skills
    • Proper collection of peripheral blood samples, including
      • Performing phlebotomy and capillary blood collection techniques according to the industry standards
    • Proper use of basic laboratory equipment, including
      • Correctly loading and operating the centrifuge
      • Proper use of the pneumatic tube system
      • Correct use of printers and computer rerminals
      • Proper use, cleaning, and storage of glassware, pipettes, and balances
    • Properly prepare slides for examination, including
      • Proper disposal of slides
      • Preparing smears from blood and other body fluids
      • Performing proper staining techniques when applicable
    • Proper use of the laboratory information system, including
      • Basic computer and keyboarding skills
      • Accurate patient registration
      • Accurate and timely order entry
      • Order inquiry, editing, and cancelling
    • Proper techniques for specimen processing, including
      • Accurate specimen aliquoting
      • Proper specimen distribution
      • Proper specimen storage
  • Cognitive Skills
    • Cognitive processes, including
      • Formulating a clear, answerable question
      • Predicting expected results
      • Following written protocols and verbal instructions
    • Analysis skills, including
      • Collecting and organizing data in a systematic fashion
      • Presenting data in an appropriate form
      • Assessing the validity of the data (including integrity and significance)
      • Recognizing errors
      • Drawing appropriate conclusions based on the results
    • Communication skills, including
      • Discussing and taking appropriate action on laboratory orders
      • Instructing and discussing specimen collection procedures with patients and healthcare professionals
    • Interpersonal and citizenry skills, including
      • Working effectively in teams or groups so that the task, results, and analysis may be shared
      • Effectively managing time and tasks allowing concurrent and/or overlapping tasks to be done simultaneously, by individuals and/or within a group
      • Integrating knowledge and making informed judgments in the clinical setting and in everyday life
  • Laboratory Safety
    • General laboratory procedures, including
      • Reporting all spills and broken glassware to the instructor and receiving instructions for clean up
      • Minimizing or containing the production of aerosols and describing the hazards associated with aerosols
      • Washing hands prior to and following laboratories and at any time contamination is suspected
      • Using universal precautions with blood and other body fluids and following the requirements of the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen Standard
      • Disinfecting lab benches and equipment prior to and at the conclusion of each lab session, using an appropriate disinfectant and allowing a suitable contact time
      • Identification and proper disposal of different types of waste
        Good lab practice, including returning materials to proper locations, proper care and handling of equipment, and keeping the bench top clear of extraneous materials
    • Protective procedures, including
      • Tying long hair back, wearing personal protective equipment (eye protection, coats, gloves, closed shoes), and using such equipment in appropriate situations
      • Always using appropriate pipetting devices and understanding that mouth pipetting is forbidden
      • Never eating or drinking in the laboratory
      • Never applying cosmetics, handling contact lenses, or placing objects (fingers, pencils, etc.) in the mouth or touching the face
    • Emergency procedures, including
      • Locating and properly using emergency equipment (eye wash stations, first aid kits, fire extinguishers, chemical safety showers)
      • Reporting all injuries immediately to the instructor
      • Following proper steps in the event of an emergency