Preparing for your blood test

Preparing for your blood test

Make sure you bring your Request Form with you as this tells us what tests you need.

Most blood tests usually don’t require any special preparation and only take a few minutes.

However, some tests require an appointment or may have special requirements prior to the blood test. Your doctor or midwife should inform you about this but you can also check on the “Specialised Test Information” page

What to expect during the test
  • Most people are in and out of the collection room in less than 15 minutes.
  • The Phlebotomist will call you into the room and ask you to be seated. You will be required to say your full name, date of birth, address and phone number.
  • If you have fainted in the past or have a phobia of needles, please let the Phlebotomist know so they can position you so you’re less likely to faint and help keep you at ease.
  • Our Phlebotomists are highly skilled at drawing blood from a variety of patients. Some veins are trickier to draw from than others and may require different equipment to be used.
  • Once you are in the correct position the Phlebotomist will gather the required equipment, wash / cleanse their hands and put on gloves.
  • A tourniquet will be placed around the bicep area of your arm. This will feel a bit tight but it won’t be left on for very long. You will be asked to make a fist and hold your hand still and tight. The Phlebotomist will then press against your skin to locate the best vein.
  • The skin is then cleansed with an alcohol wipe. This may feel a bit cold. It will kill any bacteria at or near the site. After the alcohol has dried the needle is then inserted into your vein.
  • The insertion of the single use, sterile needle, is relatively quick and will feel like a small pinch or sharp sting. Depending on how many blood tubes are drawn the needle may be left in for anywhere from 30 seconds to a couple of minutes.  
  • After the blood has been drawn, the Phlebotomist will remove the needle and hold gauze against the puncture site. You will then be asked to apply pressure on the site. Applying pressure following the blood test greatly reduces the chance of bruising and encourages the site to stop bleeding (to clot). Do not bend your arm, as this increases the chance of bruising. Hold the pressure until you are asked to remove your hand.
  • The Phlebotomist will label the blood tubes on the table in front of you, then check the site to ensure the bleeding has stopped. The Phlebotomist will then apply a plaster.

After the test
  • It is recommended the plaster remain covering the site for at least 15 mins to reduce the chance of infection.
  • It is also recommended that you do not lift, strain or carry anything with your arm for at least two to three hours. This also reduces the chances of bruising.
  • If, despite this, you do develop a bruise, apply ice wrapped in a towel to the area for 15-30 minutes.
  • If you continue to experience pain following the blood test or have any concerns, please let the Laboratory know or contact your doctor for advice.

Top Tips


Take a deep breath and stay calm. Try to close your eyes and think of something peaceful to help you keep calm. Talk to the Phlebotomist, they will do their best to keep you distracted and comfortable.

Follow Our Instructions

To make sure the blood test goes smoothly your Phlebotomist will ask you to do certain things before, during, and after the blood test. This may include holding your hand tight, rotating your hand, saying and confirming information, breathing calmly, or pressing the gauze over the needle site.

Drink Water

Drink plenty of water before your blood test and ensure you are well hydrated prior to your blood test. Blood is about 50 percent water, so the more water you drink, the plumper your veins become and the easier it is for the Phlebotomist to locate your veins and draw blood.

Keep Warm

Keeping warm before your blood test will make your veins easier to find and increase circulation.