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Getting grants to conduct phlebotomy educational programs.

Getting grants to conduct phlebotomy educational programs

From needs analysis to budgeting--how to win funding for a new training course.

Although hospitals in our city already conducted phlebotomy training, they had repeatedly asked our university to develop a formal phlebotomy educational program. We tentatively decided to go ahead five years ago. The university's medical technology and cytogenetics program would seek grant funding for this new type of instruction if a needs analysis confirmed that a broad sampling of health care providers wanted it.

We surveyed hospitals, health maintenance organizations, clinics, and physicians' offices. The results showed a great demand for phlebotomists at that time, as there is today. Respondents said they would gladly hire individuals trained in school rather than on the job.

Armed with this ammunition, I proceeded to go after funding. The first step was to devise a workable curriculum; that would give us an idea of how much money we needed to run the program.

Writing a grant proposal, or any proposal for that matter, forces you to organize ideas and project them to others. The process should not be difficult

for a laboratorian, who is used to thinking systematically. Nevertheless, self-protection, shyness, and uncertainty can combine to make you postpone this trial of mental strength. Drafting the preliminary outline of a curriculum is a way to ease into the task of writing the overall proposal.

There's another point to bear in mind when writing a grant proposal for a phlebotomy education program: Don't be stingy in the first draft--you can always trim excess words and information later. If you are too strict with yourself at the outset, you may delete some element of potential importance.

The first draft of the curriculum called for four weeks of instruction--two weeks of didactic work and two weeks of clinical rotation. Subsequent drafts expanded the curriculum to cover the growing amount of information that a phlebotomist should know (Figure I). Changes suggested by several medical technology faculty members were incorporated in the final version.

Development of the curriculum prompted us to consider a number of other aspects of the grant proposal. Since the medical technology faculty already had a heavy teaching load, who would teach the phlebotomy students? Would we have to seek funding for a phlebotomy instructor? What equipment and supplies would have to be purchased and in what quantities? Where could we purchase instructional materials for a phlebotomy educational program? How would we set up clinical rotation sites for the students?

What type of professional liability insurance, if any, would we have to obtain for the students? Should they have physical exams prior to entering the program, in light of the extensive patient contact during clinical rotation? Who would pay for the physicals--a granting agency or the students? Who would pay for their lab coats?

Where would the lectures and the student laboratory sessions be held? Since the phlebotomy training program was not an official degree program sanctioned by the university's board of regents, would I have to lease space from the university?

While pondering the answers to these questions, I made an incredible discovery. The Private Industry Council in our city was searching for health career training programs to fund, particularly those lasting less than six months! The council had received money from both the city and Federal governments to help unemployed individuals become skilled workers. It had heard about our medical center's various training programs and wanted to become a sponsor.

I found that the council had no formal guidelines for proposals. It advised us that the funding process would probably be expedited if we simply wrote the grant proposal according to the university's criteria. In doing so, we included the following basic grant proposal items:

* Cover letter to the funding agency

* Title page

* Abstract

* Proposal with an introduction, statement of need, objectives, procedures, evaluation, budget, and appendix.

The introduction states the purpose and explains why the idea of a phlebotomy training program is important. It should give evidence of your competence in training phlebotomists and that you will be fiscally responsible.

The statement of need, or needs assessment section, describes the service to be performed-training phlebotomy students. Here, the project's dual benefits are portrayed: its intrinsic worth as an idea and its usefulness to society at large.

This section should be as succinct and factual as possible. It should note that you performed a formal needs analysis study and that the results proved a demand for phlebotomists. It also helps to include letters of concurrence from the institutions that will participate as clinical affiliates and to specify any of their requirements, such as professional liability and medical insurance for the students. This will corroborate the need to allow for such items in the budget.

The objectives section is truly the heart of the proposal. It spells out what you intend to accomplish, not what you hope to do (see Figure II).

The procedures section is the longest component of the grant proposal. It describes the proposed curriculum, the number of training sessions within the proposed time period, the required faculty, and why you have selected these particular procedures. You should indicate that alternatives have been considered but that this particular format is the most likely to succeed.

It is imperative to create a timetable with projected starting and completion dates for each training class and to specify the number of students per class. Since some classes may overlap, a chart or diagram can help the funding agency visualize the program.

The procedures section should also describe the student application and selection process, formal affiliation agreements that must be implemented with other health care or educational institutions, faculty qualifications, and formal affirmative action procedures (including advertisements that must be published).

The evaluation section indicates how graduates of the phlebotomy training program will be placed in new jobs. It also should state an anticipated success rate.

With the budget section, you get into the most time-consuming part of preparing the proposal. You must obtain cost information on the various items tabulated in the "wish list" or budget request, and you want to be as accurate as possible. Padding the budget may sink the proposal, while asking for too little money could jeopardize the program's continued existence.

There must be an evident relationship between the expenditures noted in the budget and the activities delineated in the procedures section. Keep a complete record of methods used to calculate each budget item to show how you arrived at the figure, in case the funding agency asks for additional information during the review process. Figure III lists some of the costs that should be itemized in the budget section.

Be sure to request funding for brochures. Promoting the phlebotomy program will bring in that many more good applicants. Even the certificates of completion presented to program graduates should be part of the grant request. We wanted to invite the clinical participants from the community to the graduation, so we also requested funds for the printed invitations and postage,

Many community colleges currently receive state funds for training programs in various vocations. If your health care institution is interested in implementing formal phlebotomy training, you might contact local colleges to see whether joint development of such a program is possible. In addition, The Chronicle of Higher Education, a weekly news journal, provides listings of foundations and agencies that offer research and education grants.

To enhance your chances for a grant to train phlebotomists:

* Examine every publication available relating to potential funders. Follow up on every lead.

* Keep all promises you make to a funding agency. Your reliability during the initial stages of the application process will help reinforce the impression that you are a safe risk as a potential grantee.

* Meet all deadlines. If possible, submit your proposal at least two weeks ahead of deadline. This will give the funder time to request additional information if any is needed--and give you time to get the information.

In the past five years, our medical technology and cytogenetics program has received five phlebotomy education grants totaling nearly $200,000. The funding came from city, state, and Federal agencies and a corporation. The money was put to good use, training the unemployed and easing the city's phlebotomist shortage.

I am now working on a grant proposal to establish a similar program to train physicians' office personnel. The opportunities are real if you are willing and able to invest the time to seek them.

Figure II

Objectives of phlebotomy training

The University of Texas Program in Medical Technology and Cytogenetics proposes the following:

1. To provide two standardized phlebotomy training sessions for Houston and surrounding communities in the next six months.

2. To improve patient relations and increase the precision and accuracy of laboratory results in the Houston community, through instruction on proper collecting techniques and computer data acquisitioning.

3. To provide skills in phlebotomy techniques and computer applications to the phlebotomy students and thus make them more marketable as employees in the health care industry.

Figure I

The phlebotomy training curriculum.

Three weeks at university, four hours per day

First week (secretarial skills).

Monday-Policies and procedures, administration, medicolegal aspects

Tuesday-Communication systems and skills, introduction to CRT

Wednesday-Medical terminology and recording, log sheets, charts, requisitions

Thursday-Use of computer (codes, alpha list, checking charts, logging, accessioning), scheduling

Friday-Written exam and practical using CRT (medical secretary skills)

Second week (professional and interpersonal skills that relate to patient)

Monday-Interpersonal skills (approaching the patient, dealing with difficult patients)

Tuesday-Anatomy and patient ID

Wednesday-Patient safety.- CPR certification, part 1

Thursday-CPR certification part 1 exam and practical, general lab safety

Friday-Anticoagulants in collection tubes

Third week (blood collection skills)



Wednesday-Written exam, special procedures lecture

Thursday-Practicals: venipuncture and microcollection

Friday-Patient blood collection, handling specimens other than blood, hospital assignments

Three weeks at hospital/clinic, four hours per day

First week Supplies, personnel safety, and specimen collection manual

Second week Departments covered on each day for special procedures

Third week Mixture of phlebotomy, secretarial skills including use of CRT and information system, final comprehensive exam (at university)
COPYRIGHT 1988 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1988 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Becan-McBride, Kathleen
Publication:Medical Laboratory Observer
Date:Jun 1, 1988
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