phlebotomy order of draw

Do You Have to Follow the Phlebotomy Order of Draw?

Phlebotomy order of draw is a blood-taking process that must be strictly followed to ensure the safety of patients. Take the tips to follow this order below!

Updated at November 15, 2022

Phlebotomists who are getting ready to take blood from a patient are well aware of the significance of the phlebotomy order of draw. They are also aware of the potentially hazardous repercussions that might have a negative impact on the health of the patient if the order is not followed correctly. However, for medical students or even employees who have been in the profession for a few years, memorizing this order can be difficult. In this article, we will provide you with the importance of the order of draw and how to remember it effectively.

phlebotomy order of draw

What is the Phlebotomy Order of Draw?

What precisely do we mean when we refer to the “order of draw” in our conversation? This phrase has a specific significance in the field of phlebotomy since it refers to the sequence in which distinct tubes might be used. There is a total of 7 tubes that build the Phlebotomy order of draw. The manufacturer of the tube has considered these substances as chemical additives, in order for them to carry out a particular task when combined with the patient’s blood.

This must be done in order to prevent the additives in one tube from being contaminated with those in the other tube. Those who are still in training and even those who are already experienced in this field may have a difficult time remembering this order. We are aware of this, and as a result, we have compiled a helpful guide that includes a variety of methods of study that have been shown to be effective.

The following is the official and basic order of the draw, which you need to keep in mind:

No.NameRepresenting Color
1Sodium Polyanethol Sulfanate (AKA SPS)Yellow
2Sodium CitrateBlue
3N0 AdditiveRed
4Clot activatorSST
5Heparin (either sodium or lithium)Green
6EthyleneDiamineTetraacetic Acid (AKA EDTA)Lavender
7Potassium Oxalate with Sodium FluorideGrey

Even for the most experienced phlebotomists, trying to remember the order of draw is one of the most difficult jobs. Everyone has their own unique style of learning and remembering information successfully. Therefore, we have developed a number of learning methods to assist you in learning the phlebotomy order of drawing quickly and accurately.

What Are the Benefits of Order of Draw?

It is vital to remember the correct and basic phlebotomy order of draw while performing a venipuncture operation on a patient for a number of reasons, including the following:

  • Cut down on the amount of time it takes to carry out the process
  • Reduce patient discomfort
  • Preventing problems for patients is a priority
  • Preventing the potential for misdiagnosing
  • Avoid getting additives on other blood collection tubes to prevent cross-contamination

When taking blood, the most important thing to keep in mind is to provide the patients with an experience that is both safe and pleasant. If you use the collection tubes in the correct sequence, you may accomplish this goal. Above all else, this guarantees that the patient’s findings will be returned precisely, which in turn will lead to an effective diagnosis and appropriate therapy.

Do I Have To Follow the Phlebotomy Order of Draw?

Yes. Absolutely.

Although the notion of a certain order of draw in which blood testing tubes should be full was initially published more than 30 years ago, many medical practitioners with sample collection duties still find it difficult to grasp.

Tubes should be filled upside down so that the blood/additive combination comes into touch with the needle that pierces the stopper for additive carryover to occur. The tubes fill from the bottom up when the patients are positioned such that they are inclined upright in relation to a horizontal plane. The tube fills from top to bottom when its orientation is inverted with respect to horizontal, meaning that its stopper is lower than its bottom. This contaminates the needle.

phlebotomy order of draw

Order of draw will not be required if all tubes could be oriented to allow for filling from bottom to top, since on that occasion, the internal needle would never come into touch with the blood/additive combination. Test results may be significantly impacted when additives transfer to a different kind of tube. For instance:

  • If potassium-rich EDTA from a lavender-stopper tube leaks into a green, red, gold, or speckled-top tube used to test for potassium, the potassium level might be mistakenly raised, which could result in potentially fatal medical errors;
  • The prothrombin time (PT) or activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT) may be incorrectly shortened if a clot activator passes over into a tube used for coagulation research (blue stopper);
  • Bacteria from the non-sterile stoppers of the tubes may contaminate the blood culture bottles when blood cultures are taken concurrently with other lab procedures and not filled first.

Since deeply understand which additives negatively influence which tests, we may organize the test tubes and blood culture bottles such that any carryover is independent since we are aware of which additives negatively influence which tests. The order of draw is that configuration. Any additive carryover happening when tubes are filled in the indicated order of draw will not significantly affect the test findings.

Patients are more likely to get treatment based on test findings that accurately represent their physiology when healthcare personnel with specimen-collecting duties strictly follow the order of draw. This important principle may be overlooked, which can lead to medical errors that might have devastating consequences for the patient. So do you have to adhere to the order of draw? Absolutely.

Read more >> How to Draw Blood? A Step-by-Step Guide You Should Know

How To Remember The Order Of Draw?

Learning how to memorize the order of drawing is among the most significant pieces of knowledge that a new phlebotomist is required to learn. The collection of blood must adhere to certain protocols in order to eliminate the risk of cross-contamination and guarantee reliable test results. The procedure is the most important thing.

If you utilize a mnemonic, also known as a memory aid, to make the different tube colors and kinds stand out, you will have an easier time remembering the right phlebotomy order of draw. By forming new phrases from the initial letter of each tube, you may construct a statement that is either amusing, intelligent, or memorable. It is a great method to guarantee that they will remain with you so that you can learn if you connect them to an interest that you have.

A trip to the bookshop, where you can pick up some crayons, colored pencils, and index cards, is another thing you can do to jog your memory and help you recall important information. On the reverse of an index card, jot down the color, then list the additive and the lab applications for it. Place the cards in the appropriate order of draw, and then test your knowledge of the many laboratory applications. No one can become anything overnight, but with consistent effort and focus, you can become whatever you set your mind to!

Final Words

If the phlebotomy technicians are aware of the phlebotomy order of draw in accordance with the aforementioned recommendations, they will always be successful. Phlebotomy is a job that may be both enjoyable and challenging. Phlebotomists are responsible for collecting samples of blood as part of their job duties. In order to do this, they need to have a solid understanding of the order of draw. If you want to be the best phlebotomist ever, regardless of whether you like the mnemonics or not, you need to make sure you remember what goes into each tube and what department each tube is affiliated with.

On this website, we offer thousands of free Phlebotomy practice test questions to help you thoroughly prepare for this exam!