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COPPERAS COVE — Copperas Cove High School student Angelica Wright ties the rubbery band around the upper arm of fellow student Christopher Hastings and tells him to make a fist. Like a professional who has worked in the phlebotomy field well beyond her years, Wright slides the needle right into the vein. Hastings doesn’t even wince.
Wright is one of 19 students who signed up to participate in the high school’s phlebotomy class, and will emerge as a certified phlebotomist after passing the state examination in May.
Health Science Technology Teacher Cynthia Cooper said she worked for two years to meet the requirements to have the class offered along with pharmaceutical technology.
“We want students who graduate from high school to be able to step right into a career. Sometimes life gets in the way and students cannot or don’t want to go to college right
away. They can use these skills to get a full-time phlebotomy job or as a part-time job when they are in college,” she said. “Most hospitals will pay for a student’s education in the medical field. So, this class will help with their college finances and allow them to work their way through.”
Fifteen students were required for the class to be held and 19 enrolled. Cooper said 26 students already expressed an interest in taking the class next school year. Through the training, students are required to conduct 30 vein punctures and 10 finger sticks. Cooper said with parental permission, the students “draw on” each other in the class and practice on student volunteers from other classes along with faculty and staff.
“They have to stick me first before they do anyone else so I know they have the technique down. Otherwise, they go back to the mannequin and everyone hates that because the skin is really tough and it’s hard to do,” Cooper said.
Wright, who is already a pharmacy technician trainee and able to work in pharmacies, said she was one of the first to enroll in the phlebotomy class.
“I was so excited. I am already a premed student at Sam Houston (State University). If I can be working right out of high school, this will benefit me way better later on,” Wright said. “I expect to be able to be able to get a job at school’s pharmacy while in college.”
Students sitting for the phlebotomy certification exam, which will be conducted at CCHS on May 20 and 22, also will be able to test in electrocardiogram certification and become a certified medical assistant, Cooper said.
Senior Maleah Duenas, 17, who is a certified nursing assistant through classes taken at the high school, plans to attend Baylor University and major in anesthesiology.
“I think the classes are a good idea because I can earn my certifications now and get my foot in the door,” she said. “We get the classes free here, but it can be expensive to take them in college. It’s a good program here, especially if you are serious about it.”
Originally published by KDHNews.com on April 5, 2015