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Phlebotomy students begin live exercises

Phlebotomy Students

The Northeastern Technical College classroom seemed warmer and quieter than usual as concentration and trust builds among the students during the right of passage of phlebotomy – the live stick.

NETC Instructor Bridget Graham sat between Davis and Williams coaching them along the process. Before switching to the hot seat, Williams, who is recertifying, properly drew blood on the first try from Davis, who is new to the procedure.

"Right there. There is the vein. It's a good one. Can you feel it?" Graham asked Davis, who touched Williams' arm just below the crook of her arm. Graham asked her students why they can't search for a vein with their thumbs.

"Thumbs have a pulse," they said.

With butterfly syringe ready and coil properly gripped, Davis aimed the needle for Williams' vein; Williams took a breath.

Sept. 13 marked the midway point for the 7-and-a-half-week course with students moving from fake arms to the real thing in-class as well as scheduling clinicals to wrap up the course.

Williams, 39, is a medical assistant who enrolled in NETC's phlebotomy course needing to recertify in the field for her job; she is considering moving forward with the school's nursing program.

Some things have changed since the last time she was in a phlebotomy class a decade ago – there are less tubes, and the practice equipment has significantly changed, she said.

Before lunch, the phlebotomy students practiced sticking dummy arms that look eerily like the real thing with life-like skin with veins underneath connected to an IV bag of red liquid. When punctured, students can see the red dye fill medical capsules.

None of this existed ten years ago, she said.

"There were no dummy arms and no dye. This is very beneficial. The dummy arms are so lifelike," Williams said.

Davis, 47, is re-entering the work force after a few years off due to illness; she knew she couldn't return to manufacturing and wanted to try a new field.
Phlebotomy serves as an entry-level pathway to a nursing career, which Davis has considered.

"I'll and wait and see," she said.

First thing, first: finishing phlebotomy and sticking a live patient.

Davis moved the needle carefully. Not too high. Not too fast. Not too slow.

Williams exhaled.


Davis withdrew the vial and breathed easy.

The next section of phlebotomy classes begins Oct. 9 on the Dillon, Marlboro County, and Pageland campuses. For more information, visit online at or call 800.921.7399.

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  • Kayla Gibson, Dual Credit Student:

    Taking classes at Northeastern Technical College while in high school has helped prepare me for the College of Charleston by earning credits that I will need for my major. I will be entering the College of... Read More about Kayla

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    I received individualized attention from my instructors at Northeastern Technical College when I was going through the business program. NETC's faculty and staff members are very friendly and accommodating, and they really care about their students.... Read More about Cynthia

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    Going to Northeastern Technical College allowed me to work a full-time job, be at home with my child and live in my community. At NETC, you are more than just a number in a classroom. The... Read More about Anissa

  • Jonathan Rivers, Farmer:

    Going to NETC, which is exactly 17 miles from my home, was convenient. I could live at home and go to school, which was a lot more affordable for me than going off to college elsewhere.... Read More about Jonathan

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    Northeastern Technical College was my pathway to a better life. NETC was directly involved in getting me where I am today and having the job that I am so passionate about.... Read More about Santrice

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    NETC was my pathway to a broad range of knowledge that has allowed me to pursue my dream of owning my own business. NETC is a great starting point for people who are undecided about their... Read More about Tony

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    Being a part of the Dual Enrollment program at NETC allowed me to not only graduate in four years from college, but also see the world. By gaining a head start in my college career through... Read More about Trevor

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    The education I received at Northeastern Technical College was my pathway to a fulfilling, exciting and successful career in law enforcement. Had I not started at NETC, I would never have achieved my position as chief.... Read More about Larry

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    I tell my students all the time that they need to pursue an associate degree and not just rely on the cosmetology certificate. A two-year degree can be their pathway to another job if they do... Read More about Alanda

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    If you live in Chesterfield, Marlboro or Dillon counties and you're having a hard time finding work, there's no reason not to start you­r education at Northeastern Technical College.... Read More about Chad

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    By enrolling in the Industrial Electronics program at NETC, I am pursuing the dream I’ve had for a long time of becoming an electrician. Going to school at NETC and learning these advanced skills has been... Read More about Jarrett

  • Emily Williams, NETC Alumna:

    I knew I wanted to study law, and Northeastern Technical College offered the pathway to becoming a legal office assistant. The smaller classes and the support services offered by NETC really met my needs and allowed... Read More about Emily

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    Northeastern Technical College was close to home and my job, and it was affordable. It was my starting place. With this nursing degree from NETC, I can branch out and go anywhere.... Read More about Tommy

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