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Santa Maria Sun / Biz Spotlight

The following article was posted on October 2nd, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 30 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 14, Issue 30

Spotlight on: Clinical Training Institute

Kevin Tharrington, Northern and Central Coast regional director


Students at Clinical Training Institute in Santa Maria practiced drawing blood on each other. The phlebotomy school, which recently received two awards for excellence, uses both lectures and hands-on training in its program.

Kevin Tharrington loves helping little kids. The longtime medical professional prides himself on his bedside manner, which the North Carolinian calls “just simple Southern hospitality.”

He recalled a special instance when he and a little boy bonded over his Southern accent. A woman came into Clinical Training Institute, of which Tharrington is the regional director, to sign up for one of its phlebotomy classes. She had her 2-year-old son with her, so Harrington spent some time talking to him. Soon the woman and her son left and drove to McDonald’s for lunch.

“Do you remember the movie Cars?” Tharrington asked. “McDonald’s was giving away little Cars toys. [The little boy] got Tow-Mater, and he kept saying, ‘Mommy, he talks like him.’”

The boy explained to his mom that Mater talked like the man from CTI. And the next time the two of them went to the office, the boy came up to Tharrington, handed him the toy, and said, “I want you to have this.”

Tharrington said that’s the kind of doctor-patient relationship he teaches his students to cultivate, especially when they’re doing something as intimate as drawing blood.

“A lot of people have a fear of getting blood drawn,” he said, adding that properly trained phlebotomists can help assuage that fear.

He explained that there are certain techniques that can be used to prevent bruising or pain, such as applying the appropriate pressure to someone’s arm after drawing blood and not leaving a tourniquet on someone’s arm for too long.

“If someone does a good job [drawing blood], patients will come back and ask for that phlebotomist by name,” he said.

Excellent phlebotomy training, he said, also ensures that patients and their doctors get accurate results on their lab work. He explained that blood that isn’t drawn and analyzed properly can often yield inaccurate medical results.

“Patients could be put on the wrong medication or not get the medication they do need,” he said.

These training techniques are obviously paying off for CTI: The school, which also has campuses in Oxnard, Woodland Hills, Bakersfield, and Lancaster, recently received recognition from American Medical Technologists for having the highest passing rate among students in California. Nationally certified phlebotomists must put in at least 40 hours of training and then pass an exam before being able to work in the field.

The school is also slated later this month to receive an achievement award from the Southern California-based South Bay Workforce Investment Board, Inc.

Tharrington said CTI’s passing rate for its students is 96 percent, and approximately 90 percent of its students complete their training.

The school offers three phlebotomy training classes: night classes run Monday through Thursday from 6 to 10 p.m. for four weeks; weekday classes run Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for three weeks; and Saturday classes run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for eight consecutive Saturdays.

Tharrington said many of his students work part time or full time while attending classes. Becoming a phlebotomist, he said, is the “cheapest, easiest, and quickest way to get started in the medical field.” He explained that students at CTI take classes to build their résumé for nursing or medical school or to start a new career, and medical professionals take it to brush up on their phlebotomy training.

The school also offers a pharmacy technician program.

“For me, it’s all about the patients,” Tharrington said. “In the long run, I might be [one of my student’s] patients and I want them to treat me right.”

CTI is located at 521 E. Chapel St. in Santa Maria.

For more information about classes, call 
720-9094 or visit


Managing Editor Amy Asman wrote this week’s Biz Spotlight. Information should be sent to the Sun via fax, e-mail, or mail.