Overview of Physical Ergonomic and Cognitive Human Factors Issues in Phlebotomy Practice

Expires May 11, 2018


Video length: 53:47 minutes


The first part of this presentation will provide an overview of physical ergonomics, ergonomic risk factors, and how they contribute to the development of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Attention will be given to the specific ergonomic risk factors observed in both the outpatient and inpatient phlebotomy practice. Recommendations will be provided to reduce the risk of these variables. The second portion of the presentation will focus on the cognitive human factors issues experienced by phlebotomists. Human factors is the study of our capabilities and limitations—what humans are good at and what they are bad at—in terms of how we think, how we act, and what we use when we perform tasks. This science takes those principles and applies them to the design of tools, systems, tasks, jobs, and the environment in order to optimize safety, effectiveness, and comfort for the human. The goal is to reduce the incidence of human errors in the phlebotomy practice.


Upon completion of this activity, participants should be able to:

  • Describe the basic principles of ergonomics and human factors
  • Identify the primary ergonomic risk factors and their contribution to the development of work-related musculoskeletal disorders in general and specifically related to the phlebotomy practice
  • Discuss methods to reduce these risk factors in phlebotomists
  • Describe the balance between human capabilities and limitations relative to the task demands and tools used by phlebotomists

Intended Audience

This series is appropriate for phlebotomists, phlebotomy managers, phlebotomy educators, and other patient care staff involved in specimen collection.


Photo of Valerie HallingValerie Halling
Project Manager, Media Support Services
Assistant Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, College of Medicine
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
Valerie Halling has worked at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, for 37 years. She has held positions in management, research and development, and education—all of which were in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology. Valerie has also worked in the Department of Finance as a performance improvement professional with a primary focus in quality improvement, customer service, and performance management and as a health care systems engineering analyst within the Systems and Procedures area. She is currently a Project Manager in Media Support Services. Valerie earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Organizational Management and Communications from Concordia University and a Masters of Education degree from the University of Minnesota. She holds professional certificates in adult education and human resource development from the University of Minnesota–Rochester and is ASQ Six Sigma Black Belt-certified. In 2002, Valerie received the academic appointment of Assistant Professor of Laboratory Medicine in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. She has held many positions as an educator and facilitator, including adjunct faculty positions at the University of North Dakota and at Rochester Community and Technical College. She has presented 19 poster presentations and 5 oral presentations at national meetings and is an author on 33 abstracts and 8 peer-reviewed journal articles. Valerie has facilitated, taught, and implemented several Lean and process-improvement projects. Her interests include Lean and Lean office, change management, human factors, event management, and standard work.

Photo of Sandra WoolleySandra Woolley
Ergonomist, Occupational Safety
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
Dr. Sandra Woolley is currently working as an Ergonomist for Mayo Clinic in Rochester. She has previously worked in academia and industry. Sandra holds a Ph.D. in industrial engineering from SUNY Buffalo, a Master’s degree in biomechanics/work physiology from the University of Waterloo, and an Honours Bachelor’s degree in physical education and biology from the University of Western Ontario. She is also a Certified Professional Ergonomist (CPE). She has held several positions on the organizing committee of the Applied Ergonomics Conference and was the Conference chair from 2014-2016. Sandra has also served with the Board of Examiners of the Board of Certified Professional Ergonomists.


The following types of credit are offered for this program:

State of California
State of Florida (Supervision/Administration, Quality Control/Quality Assurance, and Safety)

To obtain credit:

  1. Watch the video.
  2. Complete the posttest and evaluation that launches immediately following the video.
  3. Generate and print your certificate(s).

Note: Participants requesting P.A.C.E. credit, in compliance with ASCLS P.A.C.E. program requirements, must attain a score of 70% or higher on the posttest to obtain a certificate.

Mayo Medical Laboratories is approved as a provider of continuing education programs in the Clinical Laboratory Sciences by the ASCLS P.A.C.E. ® program. This program has been approved for a maximum of 1.0 P.A.C.E® contact hours. Level of instruction for this program is intermediate.

Mayo Medical Laboratories is approved as a Continuing Education Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science for State of California and State of Florida credit. Florida Board of Clinical Laboratory Personnel has designated this program for Supervision/Administration, Quality Control/Quality Assurance, and Safety credit. The level of instruction for this program is intermediate. This program has been approved for 1.0 contact hour.


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This post was developed by our Education and Technical Publications Team.