As a day care teacher, David Krueger spent his time creating lesson plans and reading stories to his students. While he enjoyed the eight years he spent in the child care field, David wanted a career change and was interested in healthcare. He knew doctors who suggested that he look into pursuing phlebotomy tech because it’s a great way to learn foundational medical field skills. David had a friend who completed UTC’s Phlebotomy Tech course and encouraged him to enroll. Despite beginning the course days before the coronavirus pandemic hit, David finished strong and is now a phlebotomy lab tech at Parkridge!
Marah: What did you enjoy most about the phlebotomy tech course?
David: I thought the instructor was incredible! We only had class in person for a couple of weeks before COVID hit and life became crazy for everyone. However, our instructor stood by our class and gave 110% to teaching us, even while working full time at a hospital. I also felt that my classmates and I were able to get to know each other well, considering the course is less than four months long. Whether in person or on Zoom, we always had lots of fun. We also practiced drawing blood on each other, so you know we had to be comfortable with one another to do that!
M: What was the best piece of advice the instructor gave you?
D: “You have to memorize your order of draw.” That was the main thing she constantly told us, and it is very true. Keeping that advice front of mind has helped immensely in my job!
M: What was your study/life/work balance like while taking the course?
D: I still worked as a full-time day care teacher while taking the course. I had to work hard to do both; I obviously couldn’t work on phlebotomy tech assignments while at the day care because my priority was to take care of the kids. Once I would get home, there were still things I had to do for work such as lesson planning. Then, I would get to my phlebotomy tech homework. To balance everything, I scheduled my days out in advance and used lots of to-do lists. If you stay organized and put forth the effort, you can work while taking the course! I am so grateful for my end result, and the hard work was worth it.
M: Are there skills or lessons learned from your role as a day care teacher you’ve been able to use as a phlebotomy tech?
D: Yes! As a teacher, there is a certain art to communicating information to parents. The communication tactics I learned have translated over nicely to healthcare. I talk to many people–patients, doctors, etc.–every day. Being able to communicate information effectively is key. I’m also lucky because Parkridge has a great NICU and labor and delivery unit. I see about 8-10 moms every shift and I love talking to them about what they’re feeling and experiencing. This isn’t related to phlebotomy, but occasionally I have had moms talk about what their other kids are doing at home. When I tell them about my former occupation, they ask for advice! I have loved helping my patients in that way, too.
M: Do you feel like you gained confidence by completing the course?
D: Definitely. Initially, I was nervous to begin my first phlebotomy tech job. I was intimidated knowing I hadn’t worked in healthcare for years like other workers. However, the staff at Parkridge was welcoming and have helped me along the way. UTC’s course is what got me to the point I am at now, and I am so thankful to Parkridge and UTC for making my career change possible! It’s been an awesome experience.
M: What advice would you give to a current phlebotomy tech student about the course?
D: You are preparing for a great job that is very important. Take it seriously but enjoy the learning process. There are some things you’ll learn that you’ll use once a week, but there are also things you’ll learn that you’ll use every day. It’s all important! Be fluid and receptive to what you’re being taught.
M: What advice would you give to someone studying for their certification exam? Do you have any study tips you would share with them?
D: The instructor will drill into you what you need to know for the exam and emphasize vital points to study during class. When it comes to personal study time, I used flash cards to prepare. Whether you use physical flash cards or an online set, they are a great way to help you memorize information. Memorization is crucial for not only the CPT exam but also to draw blood correctly.
M: Do you have anything else you would like to share about the phlebotomy tech course?
D: Being a phlebotomy tech is so rewarding. You interact with many different people who have many different life stories. You’re able to learn so much about the people you’re helping and make a difference in their healthcare experience. It’s just so much fun!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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.