How To Memorize Phlebotomy Tubes For Blood Draws | Learning Healthcare | NEIH

Updated: Mar 19


Why the tubes are important in Phlebotomy

In order to become a Phlebotomy Technicians, you must understand some topics theory behind phlebotomy as well as clinical practice. The theory topics cover human A&P, infection control, and legal issues in healthcare. One of the theory topics that overlap with the clinical aspect of phlebotomy is the tubes. Tubes used in phlebotomy are vacated (containing no air) cylinders. They are used to collect the blood from a patient during a venipuncture. However, what you must know is that each tube contains a unique additive used for a particular type of testing. Lucky the tubes used in phlebotomy procedures are color coronated allowing healthcare professionals to quickly grab the tube they need on the fly. Here are some quick tips to help you memorize your tubes!

The Identifying Parts of a Tube

The color of the tube can be identified by the colored cap. Each color has a unique additive which is either clot activators (helps blood clot) or an anticoagulants (prevents the blood from clotting). Also, the tube may contain a substance called Thixotropic Gel which helps the layers of the blood separate. Depending on the additive, a certain specimen is being tested. Specimens are either whole blood, Plasma or Serum. The Lab Uses of the tubes are extremely important to know. This is because when a doctor orders blood work what they want to be tested (lab use) is located on the requisition form NOT THE COLOR OF THE TUBE. So, phlebotomist must know the lab uses of the tubes to understand which tube to grab for the requested test.


Reading your textbook and studying hard topics

This is may seem obvious, however, when students attempt to study the tubes they can easily get overwhelmed by the amount of information. But reading over the material a few times will help you understand the tube and be able to draw similarities between the tubes. For example, for all the tubes that specimen is Serum, the tube contains a clot activator. If the specimen is plasma the tube contains an anticoagulant. When you study you will be able to draw the connections between the topics in a way that will help you understand the material.

Knowing the Order of Draw

The order of draw is an order of tubes phlebotomist should follow to prevent testing complications and cross-contamination of additives. The order of draw is Yellow, Light Blue, Red, Light Green, Dark Green, Lavender, and Gray. Way to remember this is by the saying Your brother Robert gives lovely gifts.

Practice makes perfect!

What you can do to help you remember is to take a trip to a dollar store by some crayons or colored pencils and index cards. Write the color on an index card and list the additive and lab uses on the back. Arrange the cards in the correct draw and quiz yourself on the lab uses. No one can become anything overnight but with practice and dedication, you can become anything you want!

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