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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Special Topics in Phlebotomy. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Collection and Communication

The laboratory plays an important role in monitoring the level of therapeutic drugs. Communication with clinical personnel is critical. Blood specimens are collected at specific time intervals to determine the trough level and peak levels of the drug. The pharmacist uses these trough and peak values to adjust the dose of the drugs appropriately.
It is the responsibility of the phlebotomist to obtain the specimen at the precise time ordered for the specific peak or trough drug level. With some drugs, altering the draw time by even 15 minutes can have an adverse effect on adjusting and administering the next drug dose.
  • Obtain the specimen at the requested time.
  • If the time is missed, ask the clinical staff if the test should still be obtained or if another draw time is desired.
  • If the clinical staff still wants a specimen collected, make a note of the time the drug was administered in relation to when the specimen was collected.
Failure to communicate could have an adverse effect on the patient who may be given too little or too much medication based on an erroneous test result.