Looking at Us: Aretha ‘the Friendly Phlebotomist’ Floyd

If you’ve ever encountered Aretha Floyd, you may have found her so pleasant that you almost could forget she was sticking you with a needle. Aretha is an inpatient phlebotomist who draws blood throughout the University Tower. She’s worked in health care for 23 years, including the last three at UConn Health, where patients and coworkers know her to be friendly, upbeat, and always smiling. Aretha is a mother of five and grandmother of four. She and her husband live in Bristol.

Aretha Floyd, inpatient phlebotomist (Photo by Kristin Wallace)

Aretha Floyd

Favorite book:
Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

Favorite time of year:
New Year’s

Favorite place to visit:

Famous person you’d most like to meet:
Aretha Franklin, because I was named after her!

Something about you today that your younger self would never believe:
I will become a nurse. I’m starting school in January and I’m really excited about it!

What is the most challenging or rewarding aspect of your job?

The most challenging and rewarding thing that I can say that I have here is drawing patients’ blood. Everybody’s scared, they’re nervous, and they’re upset, they don’t know what’s going on with them, and some of them just don’t want to be bothered. But when I come in I just come in with enthusiasm, showing them that I care and that I want them to get their results so they can be well. It’s one of my favorite aspects of things that I need to do to help them get along.

What do most people not know about phlebotomists?

Phlebotomists are nervous too! When we’re drawing their blood, the patient is saying, “Oh my gosh, you’re going to stick me with a needle,” but I’m saying, “Oh my God, I’m going to stick you but I hope I get it on the first try.” Being phlebotomist is a hard job. It’s not as easy as people think it is. When you are really drawing someone’s blood, you have to deal with people from all different races, different thoughts, how they think, you have to try to compromise and have sympathy and empathy for everyone, because everyone doesn’t like needles.

You have a reputation as a very positive and pleasant person. What drives that?

I love my family, friends, and coworkers, and most of all I love people! I love giving respect to people. I don’t care where you come from, who you are, I feel like everyone is my family. I think it’s important that we respect one another, always greet, and say something nice. It doesn’t cost that much. Say something nice.

What would you do to make UConn Health better place?

I would love to have a group of volunteers go into each and every patient’s room and sing. I would love that.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?

I like to sing with my band, I’m in a five-piece band, we’re called Five Straight. I like to rehearse with them and learn new songs so we can show our talent. We’re not on Facebook yet, but if you need to know where we’re playing, you can come to me, I’ll let you know, I’ll text you, I’ll do whatever I need to do to let you know that we’re playing somewhere.