Phlebotomist Jonathan Jennings recognized by patient for exceptional care

By Lynn McCain | April 9

Jonathan Jennings IMG_2802 cropped sm 500.pngWhen thinking of Pathology, many people think of tests being run in a laboratory located “somewhere” or of autopsies being performed in the morgue. It is considered a field with little direct contact with patients, and this may be true for much of the department, but not all. One area of the department that has a lot of patient contact is our phlebotomy services. Phlebotomists are the people who collect blood at your bedside in the hospital or as you sit in a chair at a blood-drawing station. This high-demand career field is staffed with people whose goal is to make sure you have the best experience possible while having your blood drawn for testing.

One of these people is Jonathan Jennings, a phlebotomist at the Briarwood Clinics in Ann Arbor. Jennings has worked in this role for the past ten years, but phlebotomy was not his initial career choice in life. He occupied his younger years as a truck driver, making daily runs delivering goods around the Midwest. Years of long hours of sitting and bumping along in a semi took its toll on his body and by 40 years of age, his back could no longer endure the punishment. He had a choice to make…go on disability or find a career where his back issues could be accommodated.

Jennings was fortunate to mention his quandary to a friend in nursing who suggested he consider becoming a phlebotomist. Healthcare was not something he had ever considered as he did not have a higher education degree. He discovered a 2-month training program, enrolled, and shortly thereafter was working at the American Red Cross. Jennings discovered that he loved phlebotomy. “I enjoy talking to the people and helping them to relax and try to have a good experience while getting their blood drawn. No one likes to have their blood drawn, but if I can do it quickly and painlessly, it is great for the patient,” he explained.

Ever since he began to consider phlebotomy, Jennings’ goal was to work for the University of Michigan. He wanted to work at the hospital complex which he calls “the city” as it is the size of a small city. When he was hired by Michigan Medicine, however, he was assigned to Briarwood outpatient clinics. “At first, I was disappointed that I was not going to be working at the hospital, but I love my job at Briarwood and my colleagues. I have the greatest supervisors, too! I am so happy to be working here.”

If you are looking for Jonathan to draw your blood, this is where you will find him!When Jennings first started as a phlebotomist, he noticed that sometimes patients made comments such as, “I didn’t feel a thing” while other times their discomfort was visible. He noticed that one colleague in particular received more positive comments than others. He asked her to draw his blood so he could observe what she was doing differently. “She simply held the skin taught. She held the skin with the thumb under where the needle was inserted, like I did. But then she placed her finger above that spot and pulled the skin tight. That made the needle insertion easy and painless.” From that point on, Jennings did the same and patients noticed! Recently, one of these patients sent in a comment to the Office of Patient Experience regarding Jennings, “He is kind, friendly, polite, and engaging. However, he can draw blood from this hard to find vein patient, like nobody else. I don’t feel the needle prick which is done perfectly and blood fills the tube in seconds.  Never a bruise; never a hurt. Just wanted to let you know!  Unassuming workers like John make health services a better place. Thank you.”

With ten years of experience under his belt, Jennings is hoping that he may have an opportunity to help train new phlebotomists as they join Pathology. “Many new phlebotomists are being trained on the job today. I would love an opportunity to help train them so that they can draw blood painlessly for their patients, too.” Jennings is not looking to retire any time soon, so if you need your blood drawn at Briarwood 10 or 3, you just might be lucky enough to have Jonathan Jennings as your phlebotomist. Keep up the great work, Jonathan!

If you are interested in a career in phlebotomy, check out our job postings here.