Someone 2 Know: Phlebotomist Erika Klise
We heard a lot about the need for blood donations at our Give 2 Live Blood Drive. But what about the people who take them? We got up close and personal with one of the blood-draw specialists.
On Wednesday, Channel 2 wrapped up our 10th annual Give 2 Live Blood Drive ... A big thank you to everyone who came out and donated!
We heard a lot about the need for donations, but what about the people who take them? We got up close and personal with one of the blood-draw specialists; Erika Klise.
Technically, her title is phlebotomist; a person trained to collect blood from a patient's vein.
Because so many of us have a fear of needles, their job requires a special personality. So, Erika begins gently -"We greet them, introduce ourselves, let them know that we're gonna be taking care of them," she says.
But the real work for a phlebotomist, like Klise, is drawing blood. "We put a tourniquet on them and make it tight, so we can take a look at their veins, find out which vein would be the best one, take a look at both arms, then we do the stick," says Erika.
"The stick" is when the needle gets stuck in your arm - and that is the biggest reason, by far, that people hesitate to donate blood. So, a warm and kind personality is vital - especially for the phlebotomists at United Blood Services. "They have to really give great customer service for our donors and that way it puts them at ease and they're willing to come back again, too," says Terri Baum, Donor Care Supervisor.
“I try to give as much information as I can to let them know about the process, it isn't as scary as you think,” says Klise.
Erika has been a phlebotomist for about four years and understands it takes courage to submit to the needle. "Erika is very personable, she loves being out around people all the time,” says Baum, “and she really likes going out into the community, she loves giving back.”
Erika remembers, "I had a donor mention that his granddaughter, she's turning four, was diagnosed with leukemia and she's getting several transfusions."
Klise says moments like that have helped her realize how many people rely on the work she does.