Born and raised in Tennessee, Jessica Lowrance has always loved her Chattanooga roots. After taking time off from school to work in retail management and the food industry, Jessica decided to search for an alternative job. She wanted to not only earn a paycheck but also begin a career she would be passionate about. After stumbling upon UTC’s Phlebotomy Tech Academy, she ended up taking the course, earning her certification, and starting a job in Erlanger’s cardiology unit.
CPE: How did you begin your career as a phlebotomy tech?
Jessica: While finishing up the phlebotomy tech program, I was still working part-time in retail. One of my store regulars knew I was graduating from the program and told me that open interviews were happening at Erlanger. She helped me get my foot in the door and land an interview. Then, Erlanger hired me on the spot! I work in the cardiology unit, so I use many of the bloodwork skills I used in school. I also love that my job allows me to help others, For example, I help patients walk because they don’t have mobility after heart surgery. I worked for two weeks before the pandemic began, and COVID has made the typical entry-level experience much different than usual. However, I am just excited to work in the hospital! I really like Erlanger.
C: What was the most beneficial part of taking the phlebotomy tech course?
J: The hands-on experience! There is only so much you can learn from a book. The book is where you learn the anatomy and order of draw, but the hands-on experience is where you put the blood drawing process into practice.
C: What was your study/life/work balance like while taking the course?
J: I was working part-time while in school. I actually was in a managerial role and took a step down so that I could focus more on school. Looking back, taking that step down wasn’t necessary. I was able to find time to study and still have extra time to take care of myself. It was very manageable for me. The instructor helped a lot too. She was awesome!
C: What advice would you give to students in the current phlebotomy tech course?
J: The exam looks scarier than it is. It is long, but it’s not as daunting as it first looks. Our instructor had taken the exam, so she gave us practice questions to work through all the time. We would work through five at the beginning of every class, and after we tried to answer them, she would go through the questions and answers with us. You’ll be well-prepared for the exam, so don’t worry!
C: In your opinion, what would you say separates UTC’s phlebotomy tech course from other schools that have a similar program?
J: The time frame of the course was a huge plus for me. I was able to start a new career in a little over eight weeks. Other phlebotomy tech programs are completed over a two-year time frame, which I found unnecessary. I was glad I was able to leave my retail job quickly and take a deep dive into the world of healthcare.
C: What’s next for you now that you’re CPT certified?
J: I hope to continue working as a phlebotomy tech for a few years. After that, I hope to go to nursing school at UTC! Working at Erlanger has made me realize that I can have a future in healthcare. Since Erlanger is a teaching hospital, its nurses strive to teach and inspire patient care techs who want to be nurses, doctors, or physician assistants. They’ve definitely inspired me to meet my goal of going to nursing school—and in the meantime, I am getting lots of great healthcare experience!
C: Is there anything else you would like to share about your phlebotomy tech course experience?
J: I really enjoyed the course, and I loved my instructor. The things I learned have been helpful in my Erlanger job. UTC has an awesome phlebotomy tech program!
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Marah Whitaker (think Laura with an M) serves as the marketing assistant for the UTC Center for Professional Education. During the workday, she spends time writing blog posts, creating content for social media, developing email campaigns, and building relationships with CPE’s customer base. During her free time, you can find her getting lost in a good book, having spontaneous dance parties, playing piano, and going to Buffalo Wild Wings on Wing Night. Professionally and personally, she aspires to live by Mr. Feeny’s advice, “Dream. Believe. Try. Do Good.” She strives to use her passions to serve others and contribute positively to the world around her.
Connect with Marah on LinkedIn.
Jeff Grant sees himself as a storyteller, and thankfully, he gets to tell some incredible stories by serving as the marketing coordinator for the UTC Center for Professional Education. During the workday, Jeff can be found implementing new marketing strategies or writing content. When Jeff is away from the office, he could be found hiking the Cumberland Trail, trying new recipes, or getting lost in a good book.
Connect with Jeff on LinkedIn.