Cultural Diversity and the Phlebotomist
It is very important for phlebotomists to recognize and respond appropriately to cultural differences they encounter during performance of their job duties. Patient-centered care includes respecting the patient. If necessary, procedures should be adjusted to accommodate cultural customs, keeping in mind that patient safety must be maintained. For example, in some cultures, the male is the spokesperson for the female members of the family. If this is the case, the female patient may not speak directly to a male health care worker. This may pose a challenge to the phlebotomist when positively identifying the patient prior to venipuncture. The male may verbalize answers to all of the phlebotomist's questions but the phlebotomist must adhere to precise identification procedures. The phlebotomist, while respecting the patient's cultural customs, must be sure that accurate patient identity is established.