Course Title: Perform histological tests

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2011

Course Code: ONPS5205C

Course Title: Perform histological tests

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

Amber Mitton

Nominal Hours: 150

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

PMLTEST310A - Perform histological techniques.

Course Description

This unit of competency covers the ability to perform tests and procedures associated with processing and staining tissues for examination of tissue structure and abnormalities by pathologists and scientists to assist with disease diagnosis. The unit covers tests and procedures that are associated with anatomical pathology (including frozen sections), and may involve the use of automated processors and staining machines. The unit principally refers to techniques performed on human tissues, but many aspects may be relevant to animal and plant tissues.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

PMLTEST503B Perform histological tests


Contribute to efficient provision of histological services

Performance Criteria:

1 Monitor and maintain resources for pathologists in cut-up area

2 Liaise with clinical and nursing staff if required by enterprise regarding tissue fixative requirements in areas, such as wards, theatres and mortuary

3 Monitor and maintain volumes of fixatives in areas, such as wards, theatres and mortuary

4 Store slides and blocks according to legal and enterprise requirements under conditions that prevent degeneration


Cut tissue sections

Performance Criteria:

1 Check that flotation bath is ready and satisfactory for use

2 Prepare microtome and associated equipment to accommodate requirements of tissue batch

3 Secure block in microtome following specified safety procedures

4 Label required number of microscope slides with patient identification as prescribed by enterprise

5 Cut tissue sections according to needs of subsequent procedures

6 Float sections onto water bath to flatten tissues

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

8 Apply procedures to prevent cross-contamination between patient tissues

9 Maintain tissue sections in conditions compatible with intended subsequent procedures


Embed tissue

Performance Criteria:

1 Select embedding medium that is compatible with infiltrating agent

2 Check that temperature of embedding medium is suitable for embedding process

3 Check that volume of embedding medium is sufficient for uninterrupted embedding of processor load

4 Embed tissue in correct orientation

5 Apply procedures to prevent cross-contamination between patient tissues

6 Allow block to solidify according to requirements of embedding medium


Maintain a safe environment

Performance Criteria:

1 Use established safe work practices and personal protective equipment to ensure personal safety and that of other laboratory personnel

2 Handle non-fixed tissues safely to minimise cross-infection and contamination of personnel and environment

3 Store fixed tissues as specified to minimise exposure of personnel to dangerous fumes and vapours

4 Clean up spills using appropriate techniques to protect personnel, work area and environment from contamination

5 Minimise the generation of wastes

6 Ensure the safe disposal of biohazardous materials and other laboratory wastes in accordance with enterprise procedures


Maintain laboratory records

Performance Criteria:

1 Make entries on report forms or into computer systems, accurately calculating, recording or transcribing data as required

2 File and store tissue sections to facilitate efficient retrieval as required

3 Maintain instrument logs as required by accreditation checks

4 Maintain confidentiality and security of all clinical information, and laboratory data and records


Prepare specimens for cut-up

Performance Criteria:

1 Arrange tissues and request forms in cut-up area

2 Label tissue cassettes as required to maintain identity during subsequent procedures

3 Prepare containers for transport of tissues to processor

4 Select tissue fixative to prepare tissue for subsequent procedures

5 Weigh organs and count tissue chips and shavings

6 Take notes of gross features of specimens during cut-up if required


Process specimens and associated request forms

Performance Criteria:

1 Check and match specimens and request forms before they are accepted

2 Return specimens and request forms that do not comply with requirements to their source with reasons for non-acceptance

3 Process routine and non-routine specimens according to enterprise protocols

4 Log acceptable specimens, applying required document tracking mechanisms

5 Dispatch specimens to referral laboratories as required

6 Store specimens appropriately until required for testing


Process tissue

Performance Criteria:

1 Arrange tissues and request forms in cut-up area

2 Label tissue cassettes as required to maintain identity during subsequent procedures

3 Prepare containers for transport of tissues to processor

4 Select tissue fixative to prepare tissue for subsequent procedures

5 Weigh organs and count tissue chips and shavings

6 Take notes of gross features of specimens during cut-up if required


Stain tissue sections

Performance Criteria:

1 Apply staining procedures to demonstrate required morphological features

2 Prepare labile reagents for immediate use

3 Select reagents for specified technique, ensuring reagent sequence matches standard procedure

4 Stain sections according to method accommodating any authorised variations and applying required quality control

5 Mount slides using medium compatible with staining technique

6 Examine sections microscopically to ensure expected staining outcomes are achieved and procedural artefacts are detected

7 Confirm macroscopically or microscopically that tissue type conforms with labelling and pathologist specifications

8 Participate in final check to establish that the number of slides tallies with the worksheet

9 Attach permanent label giving specimen details as required by enterprise

Learning Outcomes

Details of Learning Activities

Learning activities for this course will include:
Teacher directed delivery of lessons
Whole class Discussion
Pair/group discussion and self assessment
Laboratory experiments
Record keeping of experiments
Research activities

See the Teaching Schedule (below) for details.

Teaching Schedule

Date Theory
Histo lab topics                     
7.2 no class Intro To Histology
 14.2 Epithelial Tissue Epithelial Tissue
 21.2Connective Tissue Connective Tissue
 1.3 Muscular/ skeletal tissue Muscular/ skeletal tissue
 7.3nervous tissue 
 nervous tissue

Labour day


Haemopoietic   system

 Haemopoietic System

11.4skin skin
 18.4Digestive system
Digestive system


 2.5 Glands Associated With the Digestive Tract Glands Associated With the Digestive Tract
 9.5 The Respiratory System The Respiratory System
The Urinary System 
The Urinary System
 23.5 The Reproductive System

 The Reproductive System


 Theory test

prac test

Additional Assesment
 Additional Assesment

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Di Fiore MSH. Atlas of Human Histology Lea & Febiger, Philadelphia. 
Wheater PR, Burkitt HG. Functional Histology, Daniels VG. Churchill Livingstone.
Junqueira LC, Carneiro J, Basic Histology, Long JA. Appleton-Century-Crofts.
Ham AW. Histology JB Lippincott Company, Philadelphia & Toronto.
Pappas GS. Laboratory Manual of Histology Wm C Brown, Dubuque,lA.
Bancroft, Gamble. Theory and Practice of Histological Technique, Churchill Livingstone

Other Resources

Overview of Assessment

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

Assessment Tasks

4 practical reports- 20%
Practical exam-10%
2 Theory exams- 30%

1 test - 20%
assignment - 20%

Assessment Matrix

Other Information

Important information

Passing the course- Students must pass all of the assessment tasks listed above to pass the course.

Submission of work & 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 subject.

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.

Course Overview: Access Course Overview