This school project isn’t really a school project, as you can see from the title, but about my internship! My internship started this week, and is in a hospital where I take blood samples from people and run tests on them. I am now a week in, so I’ll tell about my experience that I have so far!
I have two main ‘assignments’ that I do every day, and I switch between these two every day or so. I can be at the clinic to take samples, or at the lab to run tests on the samples. I’m not going to explain how to take a blood sample because you really need to go to a doctor for that, but I can explain some of the tests they do.
There are different tubes with colored caps, and every tube is for a lot of different tests. There is a specific order to follow if you have to take different tubes. I will discribe all the tubes I use in the right order:
- Blood culture tube (tall tube with yellow cap)
This tube is used when they want to see what micro organisms are in the blood (bacteria, viruses etc.)
- Citrate tube (small tube with blue cap)
This tube has citrate in it, wich stops the blood from clotting. This tube is used a lot for people who use blood thinners. The citrate does damage the bloodcells.
- Chair tube (small tube with yellow cap)
This tube is used to speed up the clotting proces, to make sure that the blood doesn’t clot in the machine. The tubes are used for tests on antibodies and other proteins.
- Heparin tube (small tube with green cap)
This tube is used for cholesterol, CRP, hormones etc. The gel in the tube seperates the blood cells and the plasma, and also stops the clotting proces.
- EDTA tube (small tube with pink cap)
This tube works the same as the citrate tube, but the EDTA doesn’t damage the cells. The calcium in the EDTA stops the clotting proces. This tube is used to examine the blood cells.
- Fluoride tube (small tube with grey cap)
This tube is used to test the glucose level in the blood. The sodium fluoride in the tube stops the cells from using glucose, but the sample still needs to be examined quickly to make the results reliable.
These are the most frequently used tubes. There are a lot more different and special tubes, but I haven’t used them in the last few days. Maybe I will in the next few weeks, because that would be pretty awesome!
Some of the tubes go in the centrifuge to seperate the plasma and bloodcells (wich some tubes also do with a gel), after wich the plasma is pipetted into another tube. Other tubes go directly into the machines to run the tests.
We also collect urine and feces, but that goes straight into clean tubes or the freezer, and is mailed to a different location. The clinic that I work in doesn’t have a huge lab, so we can’t do all the tests on our own.
I was really anxious at first to take blood samples from people, and the fact that I only practised a few times on a rubber arm, a glove filled with water, and I don’t like the look of needles poking through someones skin didn’t made it a lot better. But after a few times it is started to get less weird, and now I’m getting more confident about my needle skills. I haven’t had an accident and I haven’t missed a vein once, so I think that I’m doing pretty good so far.
I’m exited to learn more about this job and to master taking blood samples. Even though the urine and feces are sometimes still a bit weird to see, I’m getting used to it and finding a lot things less odd by the day.
And that’s it! I hope that I explained it well!
See you in the next post!