Posted by: AtlasMD

January 13, 2014

1 Comment

Drawing Blood Draws New Job Potential

Quartz reports that there’s a new industry on the boom — phlebotomy i.e. the art of drawing blood. Phlebotomists, the medical technicians who handle transfusions, tests and donations, were added this year (for the first time) to the U.S. Department of Labor’s occupational handbook. Even though there’s only a small number in total, there is an above-average growth rate. It’s indicative of a trend in medical specialization: Supposedly, the 10 occupations expected to create the most new jobs between 2012 and 2022 include personal care aides, registered nurses, home health aides, and nursing assistants; healthcare workers will make up one-third of all new employment in that time period.

There’s a growing demand for healthcare in the U.S. — an aging population and the classic patient-mill-mentality where we “cut costs” by increasing doctor efficiency (good luck with that). As expected, more staff is needed so docs can focus on diagnosis and treatment. This is an expected externality of a flawed healthcare system that burdens docs with regulation and then demands they see exorbitant numbers of patients just to keep their doors open.

And here’s one more reality worth noting: Is phlebotomy a job we’d highly recommend? Probably not. Quartz writes, “All those people rushing into phlebotomy can expect a median wage of only $29,730.” That’s practically poverty. We’d rather see more primary care docs choose direct care, and draw blood themselves. You might say we’re unsympathetic, but that’s not true. We want those theoretical phlebotomists to learn skills and contribute to society. We’d just like to see a society where docs get more done without all the red tape, and students learn something else, something that bodes better for their wellbeing, and isn’t the result of a flawed healthcare system demanding their work in the first place.

Seriously, we don’t want to be totally negative, but why would doctors need more help with phlebotomist? Probably because they’re dealing with bureaucratically-induced headaches.