Phlebotomy is an excellent entry-level career for people who want to get into the healthcare field. The good news is that many places ALWAYS need volunteer phlebotomists.
So, why should you volunteer your phlebotomy services in the first place? First, volunteering can be a great way to gain experience. If you’re having a hard time finding your first phlebotomy job, it could be because some hospitals and clinics want people who have experience drawing blood (venipuncture).
Volunteering is also an excellent way to help out a community. Some organizations need to offer their full-time phlebotomist support and can’t afford to hire additional medical professionals. Volunteering your services is an excellent way of giving back to families who need your assistance.
Finally, volunteering enables you to get a foot on the career ladder. Volunteer opportunities look great on a resume. The more you practice phlebotomy, the more likely that you’ll find an entry-level phlebotomy job. You may even be able to get promoted or land a higher position with a better salary.
That’s why it’s important to know of all the different places you can volunteer.
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Where Can a Phlebotomist Do Volunteer Work?
Whether you have a full-time job or are seeking to get into the profession, volunteer work is a difference maker. There are always organizations in need of volunteer phlebotomists.
You won’t get paid for your services, but you’ll gain experience and practice. If you’re looking for extra opportunities or building up your resume, keep reading.
The American Red Cross
When most people think about volunteer opportunities for phlebotomists, they think about volunteering for the Red Cross. There’s a good chance you’ve seen or gone to a community blood drive before. Most of them are through the American Red Cross.
The Red Cross does have phlebotomy employees. They usually make around $14/hr. But, they are always looking for volunteers thanks to the high demand for blood drives around the country.
As a blood drive volunteer, you can technically be ‘on call’ for local blood drives in your community. You can make your own schedule, signing up to work for different drives when you want.
According to the Red Cross, volunteering at a blood drive not only helps you to build your phlebotomy resume, but you’ll also get support from other phlebotomists. If you’re starting out, this is a great way to experience some hands-on learning.
The Red Cross has many different missions. The blood collected from local drives can be used at local blood banks or transported to areas of need in some cases. People who donate are doing their part to help others out. You can do yours by drawing their blood, making sure each donor is comfortable.
One of the great things about volunteering for the Red Cross is the ability to pick and choose your hours of work. Other places that offer volunteer positions may want you to work on a specific day or time each week, month, etc. You can sign up for as many or as few as you’d like.
Central Blood Bank
Central Blood Bank is another nationally-recognized organization. According to the CBB, they need 500 blood donors each day to adequately service the area hospitals and clinics they support. For all those donors, qualified phlebotomists are needed to draw blood correctly.
Central Blood Bank currently is in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. They serve over 40 hospitals in the area. If you live in these states or anywhere near them, there is likely a volunteer opportunity for you there. They help any individual who comes to them in need through hospital support and local blood drives.
There are many local blood banks and blood drive organizations throughout the country. While the large ones like the Red Cross and Central Blood Bank always need help, be sure to look in your community. The blood drives run by smaller organizations usually go to help those in need in your town. It’s a great way to give back locally.
Veterans’ Hospitals & Clinics
There are many non-profit organizations and healthcare facilities across the country. They are always looking for phlebotomists. Organizations that always have a need are veterans’ hospitals. These clinics are set up across the country to provide free or discounted health care to military veterans, and sometimes their families.
Many veterans in the U.S. are getting older. Because of this, there is an increase in demand for volunteer phlebotomists at these clinics. Blood tests can reveal much more than they used to be able to. So many illnesses can be determined through the blood. If a veteran isn’t feeling well or is having symptoms of a specific condition, a blood draw is one of the first tests they usually get.
Working in clinics like these will help you gain experience in a medical setting. You’ll also be giving back to the men and women of the military. In doing so, you’ll likely meet some interesting people, and hear a lot of great stories. When it comes to volunteering your skills, this is the perfect opportunity for a phlebotomist who loves interacting with people.
While most community hospitals will have several phlebotomists on staff, they can always be on the search for more. This can be especially true if there is a sudden need for blood in the area or nearby.
You can offer your services to hospitals by calling or going directly to them and signing up with your credentials. Additionally, you can ask for any internship opportunities.
If you become an intern at a hospital, you’ll be working for free. Essentially, you’re still ‘volunteering’ your time. But, you’ll learn how the pace of a hospital works and what you can expect when you become a full-time phlebotomist in a similar place.
Also, when you intern in a hospital, you’ll learn that specific facility’s rules and regulations. When a position opens up, they may be likely to hire you as a part of the staff because of this. Your internship could eventually turn into an actual paying job.
Nursing Homes/Assisted Living Communities
Nursing homes sometimes have medical professionals on staff. Larger assisted living communities may even have a medical center. But, many times they can’t afford to hire a full medical staff to be there every day. Some nursing homes depend on volunteer work from healthcare professionals. As you might expect, this includes phlebotomists.
Because nursing homes mostly have senior citizens as residents, phlebotomists are needed all the time. You may have to be on call in case someone needs blood drawn for a diagnosis. But, it’s more likely that you’ll be asked to come in weekly, bi-weekly, etc., for routine blood draws on individuals.
It’s the job of a nursing home to make sure its residents are getting the best care. That includes quality health care. If test results from a blood draw show something problematic, further steps can be taken.
But, it’s much easier to have a phlebotomist come to a nursing home than to make older residents travel to a local hospital or clinic. They may be too weak to do so, and it is a risk for the nursing home.
Drug Treatment Centers/Prisons
Community facilities are always looking for phlebotomists for a different reason. A drug treatment center can use blood testing to determine which drugs might be present in an individual’s blood. If they are dealing with an addict of some kind, blood tests can be used to keep track of their progress.
Prisons hire phlebotomy volunteers to maintain the health and well-being of their inmates. Regular checkups can make sure all inmates are healthy and don’t have any medical conditions.
This is especially important for ones that can be considered life-threatening or contagious. Jails can also use blood tests on their inmates to check for any hidden or illegal drug use.
These types of facilities may be a bit intimidating at first, but there is a definite need for phlebotomists at both. You might be surprised at how rewarding the experience can be.
Plasma Donation Centers
If you’re already a phlebotomist that needs more experience on your resume, check out local plasma donation centers. As a phlebotomist volunteering at a plasma center, you’ll collect blood from patients.
Then, the plasma needs to be separated from the blood, and the blood will be returned to the body. Plasma is separated from the blood through a centrifuge.
Many people donate plasma for money, or as a social responsibility. It has quickly become a popular option for people who also regularly give blood.
Being a qualified phlebotomist is more useful than most people realize. It’s easy to limit yourself to working for or volunteering at hospitals. While these roles are essential, if you’ve been itching for something more, you can take your volunteer efforts to an international level.
Doctors Without Borders
There are large organizations that do a lot of international healthcare work. One of the most famous is Doctors Without Borders. But, you don’t have to be a doctor to take part in organizations like this. They need nurses, phlebotomists, and more. Drawing blood from patients in remote countries can help to save thousands of lives. If you have a genuine passion for helping people and want to travel the world doing so, joining one of these organizations is a great opportunity.
These are essentially ‘sailing hospitals.’ They travel to coastal third-world countries that don’t often have access to medical care. At any given time, there are around 400 healthcare professionals on board a Mercy Ship. They currently have nearly 600 ports around the world and are always looking for more volunteers as they continue to grow their efforts.
Mercy Ships usually port in one location for about a year at a time. You’ll set sail to a specific area and remain there for an extended period. Then, you’ll come home until the next voyage to a different country. They go to different places throughout the year, so you can plan for what would be a good fit for you.
Keep in mind that many international organizations have a selection process. They get a lot of volunteer applications all the time. It’s a good idea to have a lot of experience before signing up for something like this. If you are selected, you’ll need to undergo a medical screening exam. You’ll also need to get certain vaccinations.
This type of volunteer work isn’t for everyone. The countries you’ll visit will likely be poor, and they may not have a healthcare system of their own. The living conditions can be rough, and it can be hard to see people in such poverty. Plus, you’ll likely be in these locations for an extended period of time. This isn’t like other volunteer opportunities that take a few hours or a day. But, you can make a huge difference and save a lot of lives with your skills.
Planned Parenthood is a national organization that provides healthcare resources to women. Like any other clinic, different healthcare workers are needed to perform routine tests, physicals, etc.
If a woman is pregnant or has a particular health condition, a blood test can help to determine it. While Planned Parenthood does have some paid positions, the offices rarely have a full-time phlebotomist on staff.
Check with your local Planned Parenthood branch to see how often they might need a volunteer phlebotomist to help with their female patients.
Most people think that when you work for the Peace Corps, you’ll be working abroad. While there are many opportunities to use your skills in another country, the Peace Corps also does work within the U.S.
They research things like drugs, biologics, and more. They then use their findings within the country and around the world to further their mission. Volunteer phlebotomists help to collect blood samples. They then label those samples and transport them to a lab for testing.
You can be a big part of the Peace Corps without ever having to leave the country. But, the work you do as a phlebotomist will likely end up impacting other countries for the better.
Phlebotomy Training and Certification Courses
If you’ve already completed phlebotomy training, you may be able to volunteer your services to future trainees. People going through a phlebotomy training program need to perform a certain number of successful blood draws to complete it.
These venipunctures are usually performed on volunteers or other students. You can be a guide for these students, supervising their venipuncture techniques and offering your advice.
If you’re a certified phlebotomist, you can take specific certification courses as a ‘refresher.’ This will give you the opportunity to practice venipuncture and possibly learn new techniques, too.
Mobile Phlebotomy vs. Working in a Hospital
Most people think that a phlebotomist has to work in a hospital, clinic, private practice, etc. It’s true that these are some of the most common places. And, you can still find volunteer work when you have a full-time job at a medical facility.
But, many of the volunteer opportunities listed in this guide are also a good fit for a mobile phlebotomist. Traveling phlebotomists work on an ‘as needed’ basis. Organizations and companies call them to work for a certain amount of time.
They can travel locally or choose to branch out. If you get enough work, it can add up to a full-time job. But, because you set your hours and work as much or as little as you want, you may have more free time to volunteer your skills.
If you’re interested in volunteering but aren’t sure if you have the time, consider which type of phlebotomy position is a better fit for you.
Where Can I Look for Phlebotomy Volunteer Positions?
One of the best ways to find a volunteering opportunity is to directly visit or talk to one of the options on this list. The more direct you are in your search, the better.
You can also check your local newspapers or online classifieds. Many places in need of a good phlebotomist might list volunteer opportunities or temporary employment.
There are also specific websites that connect volunteer opportunities with people looking for them. You can specify what you’re looking for and what skills you might have to find the right fit.
One of the most popular volunteer sites is Volunteermatch.org. Organizations and facilities that are in need of volunteers often go to these sites to post what they’re looking for. You can look for opportunities as often as you’d like.
Can Volunteering Help to Advance a Phlebotomy Career?
Many people think that because phlebotomy is an entry-level career, there isn’t much room for advancement. But, volunteering is a great way to beef up your resume and help you move forward in your career. The more experience you have, the easier it can be to get a higher-level position.
Some people use phlebotomy as a stepping stone for other medical careers. Again, the experience will only help you out as you look to advance. More training will be needed for other careers, but the more experience you have in a healthcare setting, the better.
The importance of phlebotomy can be overshadowed by the fact that it doesn’t take a lot of training and pays well for an entry-level job. But, most people who get into it have a desire to help others.
Is Phlebotomy Volunteer Work Worth It?
There are many reasons to volunteer your services as a phlebotomist. How much it means to you depends on what you hope to get out of it. For some people, it’s a way to give back locally, nationally, or international. For others, it’s a way to advance their career or gain valuable experience.
Whatever your reason, volunteering is a fantastic opportunity. If you have the time and skills to do it, you’ll likely end up getting a lot out of the experience. Now that you know how many places are in need of good volunteers, it should be easy to decide which would be a good fit for you.
If you’ve ever considered volunteering as a phlebotomist before, we hope this guide has given you some ideas. Whether you start small or want to do something for a long time, volunteering is worth it.