Technology extends far beyond the palm of our hands. The medical world is filled with a variety of technology that changes our lives every time it is used. There is everything from hands-free surgical tools to 3D printers that are used to advance medicine by leaps and bounds. Another piece of life changing technology that we rarely hear about is the plasma collection system.
What is It?
The plasma collection system is a machine that withdraws blood from a patient at a steady rate, filters out the plasma and returns the remaining blood cells back to the donor. Plasma is used for people with white blood cell deficiency or those who are unable to generate their own plasma. This particular procedure is beneficial to the recipient because it gives them a normal quality of life and allows them to live with a life threatening illness.
Like many pieces of technology, the older models were very basic. The latest machine that we see here is designed to be digital and automated. Part of the job of a phlebotomist is to monitor the patient, check their heart rate and make necessary changes to the machine during the donation process. The new models streamline this by showing codes and digital information such as the patients blood pressure and heart rate. The machine can speed up or slow down the withdrawal and return speeds automatically based on the information it interprets from the patient it is connected to. It is also designed to notify attendants if there are any problems with the machine such as a kink in the tube or that the plasma bag is full. All in all, this allows the phlebotomist to focus on the patient instead of on the machine.
While the plasma collection machine makes it easier for the technicians, there is still specialized training required. Becoming a phlebotomist can be done through a technical school or a specific training center. If you check out phlebotomy courses in New York, for example, you will find that the program can be completed in as little as six months for the right, motivated individual. Many attendants pursue this career choice while working on a larger degree for another area of study.
The program will not only teach individuals about the machine and how it operates but also about the entire blood donation process. Traditional blood donation is what we often see in our communities where individuals donate to organizations like The Red Cross. Plasma donation is the only type of blood donation that actually pays the donor for their time. Donors can earn between $15 and $50 per donation session depending on how frequently they visit.
Comparatively speaking, a phlebotomist is paid higher than a certified nursing assistant. This is one of the big attractions to this type of profession. Much like a CNA, there are hundreds of available jobs in the United States. As the need for donation centers continues to rise, there will continue to be new job openings. Of course, may phlebotomists simply work through hospitals to assist nurses and doctors with any type of blood withdrawal that is needed.