Profiles & Personalities

From Italy to Phlebotomy: Stefania's Journey to an Allied Health Career

Audrey McCollough, RN, BSN
November 8, 2023
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In the realm of healthcare, stories of career progression are as diverse and inspiring as the individuals within it. At Trusted Health, we celebrate personal journeys. One such narrative that stands out is that of Stef, whose transition from a talented phlebotomist to a vital member of our Care Coordinator team offers a rich story of dedication, adaptability, and the human touch in medicine. 

The Italian Connection and a Zeal for Self-Defense

Stef's story begins in Italy.  Steph moved to North Carolina six years ago, right after completing high school.  After high school, Stef immigrated to the United States, making North Carolina home.  Bringing a slice of Italian charm to the Southern state, Stef also carries an unexpected hobby - Krav Maga. This form of self-defense is her go-to activity post-work, adding another fascinating layer to her already intriguing persona.  This passion for self-defense parallels her professional journey — both requiring precision, quick reflexes, and perseverance.

Photo of stef practicing Krav Maga self defense against another person.
Stef practicing Krav Maga.

Embracing Phlebotomy with Heart and Skill

Upon arriving in the United States, Stef was resolute about her calling to work in the medical field. She considered several options, including becoming a pharmacy tech, but phlebotomy caught her attention, offering a gateway into healthcare without necessitating extensive experience.  This allied career can be a viable and fulfilling option for those who are just starting off in the medical field.

Stef shared that her first job was in a plasma donation center, where she learned the ropes of phlebotomy, from patient screening to the meticulous process of drawing blood. Her ascent to a leadership role within the center was achieved quickly as she seamlessly adapted to being attentive to her patients, while also being skillful in her craft. 

Mastering Phlebotomy Skills

For those wondering how to become a phlebotomist, Stefania's experience illustrates a path filled with opportunities for growth, connection, and overcoming challenges. It's a testament to the fact that phlebotomist training not only equips you with technical skills, but also hones your ability to engage with patients empathetically and effectively.

Stef's training was hands-on. She narrated how a systematic training approach, starting from simple machine operations to the complexities of venipuncture, provided a foundation for her career. Stefania's first encounter with a needle wasn’t with a real arm, but with a practice one, where she learned the art of the draw before moving on to ‘easy’ veins before advancing to patients who were a known ‘difficult stick’.

Stef confessed to the thrill she felt in mastering her skills, especially when donors would return, requesting her specifically for their procedure – a true badge of honor in the phlebotomy community. 

A Day in the Life of a Phlebotomy Professional

As a phlebotomy lead in a plasma donation center, Stef's role was multifaceted. Beyond drawing blood, it involved patient screening—checking temperature, weight, and blood pressure, and ensuring the quality of plasma collected. Her account offers an excellent overview of phlebotomist training and the responsibilities that come with the position.

Shedding light on her work hours, Steph described an early start, especially when she led the phlebotomy team, arriving around 6:30 AM to prepare for the day. Her shifts could extend to the evening, but unlike some nursing roles, they didn't stretch into the night, allowing for a semblance of work-life balance that is sometimes elusive in healthcare.

The Fulfilling Aspects of Phlebotomy

When asked about the most fulfilling parts of her job, Stef's enthusiasm is evident. She speaks fondly of her colleagues, the team environment, and the varied stories of donors. These personal interactions are a hallmark of patient-facing roles in healthcare and are clearly cherished by those who, like Stef, have served in such capacities.

A Phlebotomist's Perspective on Patient Care

Echoing the sentiment of every dedicated healthcare professional, Steph emphasizes the importance of giving undivided attention to the patient at hand, especially when performing tasks as intricate and personal as venipuncture. It's a reminder of the deep level of care and concentration that allied health professionals must provide.

There’s a delicate balance required for this role: a phlebotomist must provide personable care without compromising efficiency. It's a ballet between being present for the patient and moving swiftly to the next task. This sentiment was echoed by Stef, who underscored the need for multitasking skills and a personality that can engage, yet remain focused on the task at hand.

Overcoming Challenges in the Field

Phlebotomy, much like any other medical profession, can be hectic. Stef recalls the initial overwhelm of facing a queue of patients, but also highlights how experience and resilience can transform a daunting situation into a manageable one. 

Learning to focus on one patient at a time allowed her to deliver the careful attention required in such a delicate task as drawing blood—a lesson in mindfulness and precision that underscores the importance of phlebotomist training.

Key Takeaways for Aspiring Phlebotomists

For those considering a career in phlebotomy, Stefania's advice rings with passion and practicality. She emphasized the importance of being observant and multitasking. Her pro tips? Practice on those with 'good' veins, always maintain a conversation with the patient to keep them comfortable, but remember efficiency and accuracy is key.

Essential Skills for a Phlebotomist:

  • Multitasking – Managing multiple patients and tasks without compromising care.
  • Observational – Monitoring patients closely for any signs of distress.
  • Efficient Conversationalist – Engaging in brief, yet comforting dialogue while maintaining workflow.
  • Prioritization – Knowing which task to perform next for smooth operations.

For Stef, the journey from novice to requested technician is a testament to her dedication and skill – qualities that shine brightly in patient care roles across healthcare.

Supporting Travel Allied Professionals on the Trusted Care Team

Transitioning to the clinician-led Care Team at Trusted, Stef's tale is a testament to the basis of skills healthcare careers can equip you with. Her move underscores the dynamic landscape professionals navigate, taking foundational skills from one role to the next, enriching each with the core values of healthcare. 

Now, Stef gets to give back to a profession that she’s passionate about by helping clinicians find travel jobs that fit their needs and lifestyle.  Travel allied jobs offer an adventurous twist to the traditional roles, blending work with the exploration of new locations. Stef notes that considering travel contracts in phlebotomy reflects a desire for diversity and personal growth that resonates with many in the healthcare field.

Clinicians at the Heart of Trusted

Having clinicians like Stef within Trusted's infrastructure is invaluable. Their firsthand experience in healthcare allows them to empathize with and understand the needs of traveling professionals, ensuring that Trusted offers not just jobs but experiences tailored to the desires and requirements of modern healthcare workers.

We at Trusted Health are proud to spotlight Stef, whose story is emblematic of the spirit that drives us: connecting healthcare professionals with opportunities that honor their skills, passions, and personal journeys. For those inspired by Stefania’s story, let it be known that a career in phlebotomy—or any allied health field—is rich with opportunities for those ready to embrace both its challenges and its rewards.

Closing Thoughts

We're proud to have team members like Stef, whose experiences in the allied health field continue to inspire and inform our work connecting healthcare professionals with fulfilling roles. Whether you're just out of high school or looking for a career change, phlebotomy offers a unique blend of technical skill, patient interaction, and the deep satisfaction of contributing to the healthcare community. If Stef’'s story has sparked an interest in the field of phlebotomy, take that first step towards a career that promises reward by checking out our Phlebotomy Career Guide or by browsing travel phlebotomy roles

Audrey McCollough, RN, BSN

Audrey McCollough, RN, BSN, is a pediatric critical care nurse who traded her scrubs for a laptop to come work internally at Trusted two years ago. With eight years of critical care experience and four years of travel nursing under her belt, Audrey now uses her experience and expertise to support others in the healthcare industry, particularly her fellow nurses. When she's not at work, Audrey loves to explore the great outdoors! Hiking, skiing, or just soaking up nature's beauty - Audrey is all about it.

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