Venipuncture in the medical physiology laboratory

Bruce J. Martin, John B. Watkins, Jw Ramsey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Medical physiology laboratories, traditionally devoted to animal experimentation, face unprecedented difficulties linked to cost, staffing, instrumentation, and the use of animals. At the same time, laboratory experiences with living creatures play a unique role in medical education. In this article we describe the use of 'venipuncture and subsequent blood analysis, with medical students serving as both subjects and experimenters, in a sequence of first-year physiology laboratories. These experiments are safe, robust, inexpensive, and time efficient, and they teach the principles of cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, nutritional, and gastrointestinal physiology. In addition, they enhance medical education in several other important dimensions. First, they teach safe venous blood collection and handling, a training appropriate for students at this level. Second, by serving each week as subjects as well as experimenters, students experience aspects of both sides of the doctor-patient relationship. Third, the laboratories can be used to teach fundamentals of research design and data analysis. Finally, because blood analysis is central to medicine, and because the student's own blood data are discussed, students are enthusiastic and cooperative, and the clinical relevance of the data is clear. COPYRIGHT

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S62-S67
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology
Issue number6 PART 2
StatePublished - Dec 1 1998


  • Blood clotting
  • Blood urea nitrogen
  • Cholesterol
  • Hemoglobin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology (medical)

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    Martin, B. J., Watkins, J. B., & Ramsey, J. (1998). Venipuncture in the medical physiology laboratory. American Journal of Physiology, 274(6 PART 2), S62-S67.