Taking a Risk


Luis Avila, Writer

Vampires are usually depicted as tall, skinny, pale, with long sharp fangs yearning for blood, not usually a normal person dressed in medical scrubs. Phlebotomist are people specifically trained specifically to draw blood from veins, in a process known as venipunctures.

Viviana Avila, who works for Arbor Women’s Health, draws patient’s blood for research, testing, transfusions or donations.

Avila, once a shift manager at the local Starbucks Coffee in Nipomo, made the drastic change from working at a coffee shop to studying for a career in the medical field. “Working here got super repetitive and I felt like I needed a change,” she says. “My friend had asked me to take the classes with her so she wouldn’t do it alone, so I did.”

“The class kind of grew on to me and I actually started liking the classes enough to pursue it as a job, maybe even a career,”  Avila said. Her friend who branched off into nursing and found a job quickly, while Avila continued studying. She soon began taking phlebotomy classes, where she found that she liked it most.

“I really like interacting with the people, and while you’re drawing a patient’s blood, there is a lot of downtime to speak with them and talk about various things.” Avila connects very well with the older patients at her job the most. “Older woman are the best to talk to because they have lots of stories to share and are overall the greatest people to work with, they’re funny and generous,” she adds.

Unintentionally, also helps take part in diagnosing patients. “A 24 year old guy came in and I drew his blood like I normally would and I sent it out to a lab for analysis. A couple days later the scientist who analyzed it told me that I had helped them in determining that he had early stages of Leukemia,” said Avila.

“Working with the people that I do now is also part of the reason why I love my job, they are always there to help and I’m never afraid to ask any questions because they never make it feel like I was already supposed to know whatever the question may be on,” said Avila.