How to Organize Phlebotomy Trays

Updated March 23, 2017

A well organised phlebotomy tray is one of the single most important things a phlebotosit can have in order to make a venepuncture go smoothly, quickly and without pain. Organzing a phlebotomy tray requires understanding of the needed supplies, keeping supplies replenished throughout the day and knowing the order of collection (the sequence in which different types of blood tubes for different types of testing) must be filled for accurate results. This step-by-step will help you organise (and keep stocked) your own phlebotomy tray.

Position all the needed materials by the sectioned phlebotomy tray. Set blood collection tubes aside.

Fill the tray with supplies, keeping like supplies together. Ensure that needles are organised by gauge and by type, separating out needles used for single draws and "butterfly" type needles.

Review the patient's testing orders to ensure that you pull the correct blood collection tubes. Blood collection tubes, whether made of glass or plastic, have colour coded stoppers that indicate additives contained in the tube, as well as the type of test that will be performed on that blood sample. It is essential to collect blood into these tubes in a specific order to avoid cross-contamination of the blood.

Set collection tubes in the tray's tube slots in their correct order of collection: yellow/yellow-black speckled tops (for sterile blood cultures); dark blue tops (for trace metal analysis); light blue tops (coagulation tests); red tops (no additives, for blood serum tests); red-grey speckled top/gold top (serum separator additives added, for serum and infectious disease tests); dark green tops (contain heparin, for clinical chemistry tests); light green tops (contains heparin and a gel separator, for plasma chemistry tests); lavender tops (for hematology tests); pale yellow tops (for microbiology tests and phenotyping); and finally, light grey tops (for glucose testing).

Place phlebotomy tray close to the sharps collection container. Perform the venepuncture, as required.

Repeat steps 3 through 5 for each patient.

Replenish supplies throughout the day. Don't let supplies dwindle to the point where you only have enough supplies for one venepuncture. You should always have enough supplies to perform at least five procedures without running low.

Things You'll Need

  • Sectioned phlebotomy tray
  • Blood collection tubes
  • Collection needles of various gauges
  • Needle holder/adaptors
  • Syringes
  • Tourniquet(s)
  • Alcohol and iodine swabs
  • Cotton or gauze squares
  • Adhesive bandages
  • Surgical tape
  • Extra gloves (latex or vinyl)
  • Portable, single-use warming pads
  • Sharps disposal container
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About the Author

A writer and professional lab assistant based in Seattle, Kate Bruscke has been writing professionally about health care and technology since 1998. Her freelance clients include "The Seattle Times,", Reading Local: Seattle, Nordstrom and MSN/Microsoft. Bruscke holds a Master of Fine Arts from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.