Should my phlebotomist or nurse be wearing gloves when taking my blood?
Infection control protocols vary between trusts, so you may see different approaches to blood taking.
Most nurses or phlebotomists will use gloves when drawing blood, but in some clinics, it is optional. Wearing gloves during venepuncture is primarily to protect the person taking blood but needlestick injuries can still occur even when wearing them. Gloves can also make it more difficult to find a vein, so some people may prefer to feel for a vein without gloves to increase the chances of a successful attempt.
Whether or not the person taking your blood is wearing gloves, they should still maintain good hand hygiene.
Should my nurse or phlebotomist clean the skin with an alcohol wipe before taking blood?
Most infection control protocols recommend cleaning the skin with an alcohol swab and leaving it to dry before taking blood. It is thought that this will reduce the risk of introducing an infection as the needle is inserted.
However, some trusts do not mandate skin cleansing unless the skin is visibly dirty, as the risk of introducing an infection is likely negligible. Certainly, when it comes to vaccinations and injections, studies have shown that using an alcohol wipe reduces the bacterial count on the surface of the skin but makes no difference to the rate of bacterial complications. Some individuals may also develop skin irritation, dermatitis, or even an allergic reaction in response to alcohol wipes.
If you're not happy with the way your blood was taken, or you're concerned the person taking your blood hasn't followed best practices, please contact us so we can look into this further.