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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Concept and Construction of a Laboratory Individualized Quality Control Plan. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Example-- Observation

Armed with this information, we will now observe the process as it is being performed. Sometimes there is a performance gap between "what should be done" and "what is actually done." Observing more than one person or event may reveal person-to-person or event-to-event variations.
Here are some tips that may be helpful when you are observing the preanalytical phase of the process:
  1. Introduce yourself to the phlebotomist and patient in a very positive way. “Hi. My name is Jon Lee. I’m here to learn more about the great work Abby does. Do you mind if I watch?”
  2. Watch without offering comments or questions; comments and questions can make the phlebotomist nervous and may make the patient question the quality of his/her care.
  3. Thank the patient for letting you observe.
  4. After leaving the patient's room, ask the phlebotomist questions about what you observed without pointing out any deviation from the written documents. If there are deviations, asking open-ended questions may help you determine the root cause of the problem, eg, deficiencies in the written specimen collection procedure, inadequate phlebotomist training or competency assessment, or random error.
  5. Do not pass judgment or “educate” the person. Simply thank the phlebotomist for letting you observe. "Thanks Abby. You've helped me understand the process better."