Dermal Puncture and Capillary Blood Collection (Online CE Course)

(based on 1,496 customer ratings)

Authors: Mary Ertl Dettmann, MA, CLS, MT(ASCP); Beth Kratzer, CLS, MT(ASCP)
Reviewers: Carolyn Webb, MT(ASCP) and Alexandru Casapu, MBA, MLS(ASCP)CM

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Phlebotomists and point-of-care instrument operators (laboratory, nursing and respiratory therapy personnel) frequently need to perform dermal punctures to collect capillary blood specimens for testing. This course discusses procedures that should be used to ensure a successful and safe heelstick on an infant or fingerstick on an older child or adult. The course also highlights several tests that use capillary blood where collection technique is particularly important to obtain a quality specimen, including metabolic testing on newborns, capillary blood gases, and lead levels.

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Continuing Education Credits

P.A.C.E.® Contact Hours (acceptable for AMT, ASCP, and state recertification): 1 hour(s)
Approved through 11/30/2023
Approved through 11/30/2023


  • Define venous, arterial and capillary blood.
  • Locate the acceptable sites for puncture and collection of capillary blood on a finger and infant heel.
  • Identify and select the appropriate dermal puncture device and other equipment needed to perform capillary blood collection on adults, children and infants.
  • List and explain all procedural steps required to positively identify the patient and safely perform a capillary puncture.
  • Discuss risks and special circumstances associated with the dermal puncture procedure.

Customer Ratings

(based on 1,496 customer ratings)

Course Outline

Click on the links below to preview selected pages from this course.
  • Introduction
  • Safety First
      • Protect Yourself and Your Patient
      • Which of these pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) is always required when a dermal puncture is performed to collect a capillary blood speci...
  • Get Ready for the Collection
    • What is the difference?
      • Venous, Arterial, and Capillary Blood Specimens
      • Dermal Puncture vs Venipuncture
      • Which of these patients may NOT be a candidate for capillary blood collection by dermal puncture?
    • Site Selection
      • Using the Fingers for Dermal Puncture
      • Using the Heel for Dermal Puncture
      • The recommended finger for capillary blood collection is the index finger (the finger next to the thumb).
    • Equipment Needed
      • Puncture Devices
      • Miscellaneous Equipment
      • A heel puncture that is performed on a small infant should not exceed what depth?
  • Obtaining the Specimen
      • Patient Identification
      • Site Preparation
      • Let Gravity Be Your Friend
      • Finger Puncture
      • Heel Puncture
      • Properly Filling and Mixing a Microcollection Container
      • Order of Draw
      • Positioning the Puncture Device for a Fingerstick
      • Which of these methods should be used to verify the identification of an infant in the nursery prior to collecting a blood specimen?
      • A lavender top microcollection container that has EDTA as an anticoagulant is used to collect a capillary hematology specimen for a complete blood cou...
    • Procedure Notes and Cautions
  • Special Circumstances
    • Filter paper Collection
      • The Need for Metabolic Testing on Newborns
      • Capillary Blood Collection for Metabolic Testing
      • Processing Filter Cards after Collection
      • The directions for this testing facility require filling all five circles on the filter card.Which of the cards that were collected for metabolic test...
    • Specialized Capillary Blood Testing
      • Hematology Specimens
      • Capillary Blood Gases
      • A patient has an order for microhematocrit testing. Which of the following should be collected for this testing?
    • Lead Collection
      • Lead: An Important Public Health Concern
    • Sucrose Solution
      • Using Sucrose as an Analgesic Prior to Heel Puncture and Capillary Blood Collection
  • References

Additional Information

Level of instruction: Basic
Intended audience: This program is designed as an educational and training tool for laboratory personnel, phlebotomists, and other healthcare personnel who perform dermal punctures for capillary blood collection or point-of-care testing. This course is also appropriate for clinical laboratory science and phlebotomy students.
Author information: Mary Ertl Dettmann, MA, CLS, MT(ASCP) is the education supervisor for Wheaton Franciscan Laboratory in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Health Care Administration from Central Michigan University. She has created several interactive, adult-learning courses in laboratory-related subjects including phlebotomy.
Author Information: Beth Kratzer, CLS, MT(ASCP) is a Clinical Trainer in the Education Department at Wheaton Franciscan Laboratories in Wauwatosa Wisconsin. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire in 1981 and obtained a Certificate of Professional Training from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2004. In addition to many years of technical experience in the hospital environment, Beth has been involved in the creation, implementation, and facilitation of educational and training programs for healthcare associates since 2001.
Reviewer information: Carolyn Webb, MT(ASCP) is the CLS-Lead for the Wheaton Franciscan Central Laboratory in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She is responsible for reviewing and revising policies and procedures in hematology, urinalysis, and coagulation and is the primary instructor for all new employees in these areas. She previously held the position of Point-of-Care Coordinator. Ms. Webb graduated from Marquette University with a BS in Medical Technology.
Reviewer Information: Alexandru Casapu, MBA, MLS(ASCP)CM, has over 20 years of experience as a medical laboratory scientist, section supervisor, and laboratory manager. He is the former Director of Clinical Laboratory Technology Program at Georgia Piedmont Technical College. He is currently a Program Director at MediaLab, Inc. Alexandru holds BS degrees in Biology and Medical Technology from Clark Atlanta University and an MBA from the University of Georgia.

How to Subscribe
MLS & MLT Comprehensive CE Package
Includes 169 CE courses, most popular
$95Add to cart
Pick Your Courses
Up to 8 CE hours
$50Add to cart
Phlebotomy CE Package$55Add to cart
Individual course$20Add to cart
Need multiple seats for your university or lab? Get a quote