The Basics of Blood Culture Collection

Expires June 1, 2018


Length: 1 hour and 10 minutes


This month’s offering was originally recorded as part of our 2016 Phlebotomy Conference. In this presentation, Audrey Schuetz, M.D., explains that blood cultures are one of the most important procedures performed. Several key principles of site selection, skin antisepsis, and bottle inoculation are covered, and the role of blood cultures in establishing catheter-related bacteremia is discussed. Special situations or clinical concerns which will impact laboratory work-up of blood cultures is also highlighted.


At the completion of this activity, participants should be able to:

  • Discuss the procedures to follow for sterile collection of blood.
  • State the number of blood culture sets necessary to collect for adequate recovery of clinically significant microorganisms.
  • List the reasons that skin site preparation is important in blood culture collection.

Intended Audience

This program is appropriate for clinicians, pathologists, medical technologists, nurses, pharmacists, and other allied health staff.

Level of Instruction



Photo of Audrey Schuetz, M.D.Audrey Schuetz, M.D.
Division of Clinical Microbiology
Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology
Mayo Clinic
Rochester, Minnesota



The following types of credit are offered for our Virtual Lecture programs:

State of California
State of Florida

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.

For an instruction sheet that describes the process, see

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 General (Blood Banking) credit. The level of instruction for this program is intermediate. This program has been approved for 1.0 contact hour.


MML Education

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