Course Title: Perform histological procedures

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2010

Course Code: ONPS5199C

Course Title: Perform histological procedures

School: 155T Vocational Health and Sciences

Campus: City Campus

Program: C5182 - Diploma of Laboratory Technology (Pathology Testing)

Course Contact: Dinah van Ruyven

Course Contact Phone: (03) 9925 4287

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Asmaa Hasanein

Nominal Hours: 40

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites

This unit of competency has no prerequisites.

Course Description

This unit of competency covers the ability to perform straightforward histological procedures involving processing and sectioning (by hand or rotary microtome) of plant and animal tissues in paraffin wax. Personnel will work under direct supervision and have ready access to enterprise procedures.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

PMLTEST310A Perform histological procedures


Assemble equipment and materials

Performance Criteria:

1 Confirm the number and type of sections required

2 Collect equipment and arrange the workspace so that equipment can be used safely and efficiently

3 Perform pre-use and safety checks to ensure equipment is fit for purpose

4 Report faulty or unsafe equipment to appropriate personnel

5 Inspect processor reagents for deterioration and adequate volume and report any items requiring replacement


Cut sections of plant and animal tissue

Performance Criteria:

1 Place and secure block and knife in microtome strictly in accordance with safety directions

2 Label required number of microscope slides in accordance with enterprise traceability requirements

3 Cut ribbons of representative sections at the required thickness observing prescribed safety measures

4 Float sections onto water bath to flatten tissues

5 Pick up sections onto microscope slides ensuring identification on slides matches that on block

6 Apply procedures to prevent cross contamination between samples

7 Cut free hand sections of plant tissue as required

8 Inspect sections and reject items that don't meet specifications


Maintain a safe work environment

Performance Criteria:

1 Ensure personal safety and minimise cross contamination through the use of personal protective equipment

2 Handle all specimens and equipment in accordance with enterprise safety protocols/procedures

3 Clean up spills using appropriate techniques to protect personnel, work area and environment

4 Minimise generation of waste and environmental impacts

5 Collect and dispose of all wastes safely

6 Report hazards and incidents to designated personnel using enterprise procedures.


Process and embed plant and animal tissue

Performance Criteria:

1 Select program and reagents for processing

2 Monitor processor regularly during processing sequence to ensure dehydration, clearing and infiltration are complete

3 Check that temperature of wax is suitable for embedding process

4 Check that volume of wax is sufficient for uninterrupted embedding of processor load

5 Embed tissue in correct orientation

6 Allow block to solidify evenly according to wax requirements


Stain sections

Performance Criteria:

1 Select reagents specified in the method

2 Stain sections according to the method

3 Examine sections microscopically to ensure expected staining outcomes have been achieved

4 Mount sections to ensure long term preservation

5 Attach permanent labels giving specimen details according to enterprise traceability requirements

Learning Outcomes

Details of Learning Activities

Practical exercises, lectures, discussions, class activities, group work and peer teaching

Teaching Schedule

1Tissue preparation
2Fixation & decalcification
3Tissue processing & embedding
4Microtomy and Cryotomy (Excursion)
5Introduction to staining
6Collagen staining
9Elastic tissue staining
10silver staining
14Fibrin & microorganisms

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

Overview of Assessment

Assessments for this course typically consist of:
• Class activities
• Assignments
• Presentations
• Exam

Assessment Tasks

Students must pass all assessments to pass this course

2 theory tests 25% each                            50%

1 prac test                                                    25%

observed laboratory performance           5%

Practical reports                                         20%

Assessment Matrix

Other Information

Late work: Students are required to submit work on the due date at the School Office using the cover sheets provided. The work will be accepted through the School Office and you will receive a receipt which you should keep as proof of submission. Students must NOT submit work directly to the teacher.
Late submission of work will incur a penalty of 5% of the maximum mark per day unless Special Consideration is applied for in writing using the required form. Marks can be deducted until the minimum pass mark is reached, after which no further marks will be deducted. Work will not be accepted more than 1 week after the due date.

Special consideration: Any student who, because of illness or other circumstances beyond their control, has been prevented from attending a test, or whose performance in a test was affected by illness or other circumstances beyond their control may apply for Special Consideration. This must be done within 48 hours of the missed assessment/ assignment by lodging the appropriate form (available at the 6th floor office) with medical certificate or other supporting documentation at the Reception Office on Level 6, Building 51. Note: It is the policy of the School of Life and Physical Sciences NOT to AUTOMATICALLY PROVIDE SUPPLEMENTARY OR DEFERRED EXAMS. You will be advised of the outcome of your application for Special Consideration. The taking of Annual Leave does NOT constitute grounds for special consideration.                                     

Attendance Requirements: Student must attend 80% of practical classes to pass. Practical exercises will be chosen for presentation as formal reports. If they are not satisfactory, you will be given an opportunity to resubmit. If you are absent from a session nominated for a formal report and you have applied for special consideration, it is your responsibility to negotiate a replacement report with the teacher. You MUST submit the number of required reports in order to pass the course.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the presentation of the work, idea or creation of another person as though it is your own. It is a form of cheating and is a very serious academic offence that may lead to expulsion from the University. Plagiarised material can be drawn from, and presented in, written, graphic and visual form, including electronic data and oral presentation. Plagiarism occurs when the origin of the material used is not appropriately cited.
It also occurs through enabling plagiarism, which is the act of assisting or allowing another person to plagiarise or to copy your own work. Please make sure you consider this carefully in completing all your work and assessments in this course and if you are unsure about whether you might have plagiarised, seek help from your teacher.

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