By Christine Wolff
The room buzzed with conversation, interrupted occasionally when loud squeals punched the air.
Nothing to fear — it’s almost expected at the February 10-11 Sticks 4 Kicks event at Woodward Career Technical High School.
The squealers were students who voluntarily offered their arms to Woodward’s phlebotomy students so they could practice drawing blood. Sometimes, that needle stick surprised.
The fourth annual Sticks 4 Kicks gave students in Woodward’s Health Technology program opportunities to hone their blood-drawing skills before an April 3-4 Certified Phlebotomy National Exam. Students can earn certifications while in high school, which gives them the tools necessary to qualify for careers in a competitive workforce.
The two-day event annually attracts about 700 volunteers so the 20 phlebotomy students get plenty of practice, said Woodward teacher Candace Jones.
For Lexxis Bates, no squeals.
“I don’t feel anything,” she said, smiling at Woodward senior Cassidi, the sticker. Bates is a 2018 graduate of Woodward’s program, working now in phlebotomy at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
“That means you are doing a good job. When a patient doesn’t feel the stick, that’s good,” said Karen Lampkin, a registered nurse at the Cincinnati VA who was supervising Cassidi.
A beaming Cassidi admitted that, “This morning, I was so scared. I kept thinking, ‘this is not my classmate, not someone that I know where her veins are. This is a stranger. I have to remember all the steps.’ I feel confident now.”
Keevan Thompson, a 2019 Woodward graduate now working in phlebotomy at Bethesda North Hospital, also came back to supervise students during the event.
“I believe in this program. I talked to TriHealth during a career fair, and I was hired by them two weeks after graduation,” Thompson said.