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Robbin George
Order of Blood Draw
Can I get a definitive statement as to the CORRECT order to teach Nurses to fill Blood Tubes ie I know Blood Cultures are first and Lavender is last......but happens in between.....Also if you are using a vacutainer system versus syringe do you filled the tubes in a different order? I thought someone had commented on this subject before but I searched and could not find the discussion--Thanks in advance of your responses 
rivka livni
You have the right

You have the right answer,

According to our Lab physician:

1.Blood Culture

2.Coags Blue top

last is purple / laveder CBC top

Everything else is after #2

Does not matter if syringe or vacutainer.


Sue Witkowski
We use this   The red gold

We use this   The red gold green is a traffic stoplight as a reminder

YO                    yellow (blood cultures)

BEHOLD             blue


RED                   red

GOLD                 gold

GREEN               green

LIGHTS              lavender

PRETTY             pink

GIRL                  gray

Nadine Nakazawa
Nadine Nakazawa's picture
The info can come from your

The info can come from your clinical lab.   They assume that nurses are drawing labs in this order.   Most nurses are completely unaware of the "Order of the Draw."  The reason is that blue must be first (after BC or waste) is that you cannot allow blood to sit in the catheter or tubing, nor can you allow any contamination of the vacutainer needle with any other anticoagulant, as these factors will affect the coag results.   Next you draw the studies WITHOUT anticoagulants, eg, viral studies, serum studies---those go in your red top or gold top tubes (serum separator tubes).  3rd:  Green or mint top tubes have heparin:  these are for your chemistries.  4th:  lavendar top:  had EDTA which apparently has a high concentration of potassium in it.  That is why it must be drawn last.   Other tubes are drawn far less often; I encourage nurses to just call Clinical Lab to go over the "Order of the Draw" if you have to draw a navy, gray, or yellow top tube.

To help us out, one of the lab supervisors made a laminated poster stating the order of the draw with the colored tubes hot-glued to it.  It's a clear reminder of how to do the "order."

Nadine Nakazawa, RN

PICC Nurse, Stanford Hospital 

Nadine Nakazawa, RN, BS, VA-BC

Robin, I have a color chart


I have a color chart that lists the sequence, what's in the tubes and special handling (e.g. putting blood for ammonia on ice).  We laminated this and have it in the areas where our nursing units have lab supplies.  Send me your email address.  [email protected]

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