This has been an ongoing discussion for the last several years. Other countries, including our neighbors New Zealand, have made licencing and formal nationally recognised qualifications of phlebotomists compulsory. This includes mandatory minimum standards of training. I am constantly surprised when people come to work with a certificate III in Pathology in hand- but have never bled a real patient! The training varies significantly as well with enterprise RTOs really being the only ones to offer the kind of training required to ensure the collector is safe. Theory is fine (and necessary)- but at the end of the day- practice makes perfect- on not just on rubber arms or straws!
There has been a push to have a minimum of 200 hours practical experience enforced before the Certificate III in Pathology is issued to reduce the number of people being deemed “competent” to collect but who have never actually collected on a live patient.
There could be some kind of grandfather clause for long time experienced collectors to be recognised who have been working in the industry – just as there was with other certification in the health sector.
A set of uniform competencies would be very welcome to ensure all collectors meet the same competency standards.
The skill required to be a competent and safe collector has gone undervalued for too long. Set national standards would be one way to ensure the skills are recognised. Lets all hope for our sakes that the right person gets the tender and that they listen to industry for a change. Hopefully APaN will be a big part of this?
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