Course Title: Perform histological tests

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2013

Course Code: ONPS5668C

Course Title: Perform histological tests

School: 155T Vocational Health and Sciences

Campus: City Campus

Program: C5283 - Diploma of Laboratory Technology (Pathology Testing)

Course Contact: Amberlee Mitton

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 5053

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Teachers: Amberlee Mitton & Asmaa Hasanein


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

MSL974006A Perform biological procedures

MSL973007A Perform microscopic examination

MSL973004A Perform aseptic 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.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

MSL975003A Perform histological tests


1. Process specimens and associated request forms

Performance Criteria:

1.1. Check and match specimens and request forms before they are accepted
1.2. Return specimens and request forms that do not comply with requirements to their source with reasons for non-acceptance
1.3. Process routine and non-routine specimens according to enterprise protocols
1.4. Log acceptable specimens, applying required document tracking mechanisms
1.5. Dispatch specimens to referral laboratories as required
1.6. Store specimens appropriately until required for testing


2. Prepare specimens for cut up

Performance Criteria:

2.1. Arrange tissues and request forms in cut-up area
2.2. Label tissue cassettes as required to maintain identity during subsequent procedures
2.3. Prepare containers for transport of tissues to processor
2.4. Select tissue fixative to prepare tissue for subsequent procedures
2.5. Weigh organs and count tissue chips and shavings
2.6. Take notes of gross features of specimens during cut-up if required


3. Process tissue

Performance Criteria:

3.1. Select processor program and reagents
3.2. Inspect processor reagents for deterioration and adequate volume
3.3. Follow processing requirements for non-routine techniques, including histochemistry
3.4. Monitor processor regularly during processing sequence where appropriate


4. Embed tissue

Performance Criteria:

4.1. Select embedding medium that is compatible with infiltrating agent
4.2. Check that temperature of embedding medium is suitable for embedding process
4.3. Check that volume of embedding medium is sufficient for uninterrupted embedding of processor load
4.4. Embed tissue in correct orientation
4.5. Apply procedures to prevent cross-contamination between patient tissues
4.6. Allow block to solidify according to requirements of embedding medium



5. Cut tissue sections

Performance Criteria:

5.1. Check that flotation bath is ready and satisfactory for use
5.2. Prepare microtome and associated equipment to accommodate requirements of tissue batch
5.3. Secure block in microtome following specified safety procedures
5.4. Label required number of microscope slides with patient identification as prescribed by enterprise
5.5. Cut tissue sections according to needs of subsequent procedures
5.6. Float sections onto water bath to flatten tissues
5.7. Pick up sections onto microscope slides ensuring patient identification on slides matches that on block
5.8. Apply procedures to prevent cross-contamination between patient tissues
5.9. Maintain tissue sections in conditions compatible with intended subsequent procedures


6. Stain tissue sections

Performance Criteria:

6.1. Apply staining procedures to demonstrate required morphological features
6.2. Prepare labile reagents for immediate use
6.3. Select reagents for specified technique, ensuring reagent sequence matches standard procedure
6.4. Stain sections according to method accommodating any authorised variations and applying required quality control
6.5. Mount slides using medium compatible with staining technique
6.6. Examine sections microscopically to ensure expected staining outcomes are achieved and procedural artefacts are detected
6.7. Confirm macroscopically or microscopically that tissue type conforms with labelling and pathologist specifications
6.8. Participate in final check to establish that the number of slides tallies with the worksheet
6.9. Attach permanent label giving specimen details as required by enterprise


7. Contribute to efficient provision of histological services

Performance Criteria:

7.1. Monitor and maintain resources for pathologists in cut-up area
7.2. Liaise with clinical and nursing staff if required by enterprise regarding tissue fixative requirements in areas, such as wards, theatres and mortuary
7.3. Monitor and maintain volumes of fixatives in areas, such as wards, theatres and mortuary
7.4. Store slides and blocks according to legal and enterprise requirements under conditions that prevent degeneration


8. Maintain a safe environment

Performance Criteria:

8.1. Use established safe work practices and personal protective equipment to ensure personal safety and that of other laboratory personnel
8.2. Handle non-fixed tissues safely to minimise cross-infection and contamination of personnel and environment
8.3. Store fixed tissues as specified to minimise exposure of personnel to dangerous fumes and vapours
8.4. Clean up spills using appropriate techniques to protect personnel, work area and environment from contamination
8.5. Minimise the generation of wastes
8.6. Ensure the safe disposal of biohazardous materials and other laboratory wastes in accordance with enterprise procedures


9. Maintain laboratory records

Performance Criteria:

9.1. Make entries on report forms or into computer systems, accurately calculating, recording or transcribing data as required
9.2. File and store tissue sections to facilitate efficient retrieval as required
9.3. Maintain instrument logs as required by accreditation checks
9.4. Maintain confidentiality and security of all clinical information, and laboratory data and records

Learning Outcomes

Details of Learning Activities

2 hours of theory weekly - Delivered mostly online by Amber

  • Library introduction session
  • Interactive online tools
  • Question and answer
  • Blackboard discussion boards
  • Online quiz

2 hours of prac delivered by Asmaa

Teaching Schedule

 Amber’s Theory Outline Prac WeekTopicAssessmentTopicAssessment1.
Topic 1: Histology & Intro to Immunity Intro To Histology + Preparation of Tissue 
Topic 2: The biology of cancer Epithelial Tissue + Fixation and Decalcification 
Topic 3: Nerves, Nerve Biopsy & Leprosy Connective Tissue + Tissue Processing and Embedding 
Topic 4: Lymphatics, Lymph node biopsy & Lymphoma Muscular Tissue Muscular Tissue + Microtomy Prac report 10%
Topic 5: Hematopoietic system, Bone marrow biopsy & Leukaemia Skeletal Tissue+ Microtomy 
Topic 6: Breast and breast cancer Nervous Tissue Connective Tissue + Microtomy 
Student Vacation   
Exam WeekAssessment 1: Online quiz
 Prac exam 15%
Topic 7: The Integumentary system & Skin Biopsy & Melanoma Haemopoietic System  + Microtomy 
Topic 8: GI tract and colorectal cancer Skin + Microtomy 
Topic 9: Liver and hepatocellular carcinoma Digestive System + Microtomy 
Topic 10: Respiratory system and lung cancer Glands Associated With the Digestive Tract + Microtomy 
Topic 11: Reproductive system and endometriosis The Respiratory System  + Microtomy 
Topic 12: Prostate and prostate cancer The Urinary + Microtomy 
Revision  SystemThe Reproductive System + Microtomy 
Exam WeekAssessment 2: Online Quiz

written exam 20%
prac exam 15%

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

Overview of Assessment

Asessment may include the following

written tests

practical reports

assignments & presentations

practical tests

Assessment Tasks

Theory (Amber)

Assessment 1: Online quiz 20%

Assessment 2: Online quiz 20%

Prac (Asmaa)

1 prac report 10%

2 prac tests 15% each

1 written test  20%

Assessment Matrix

Other Information

Assessment Information

• To pass the course you need to pass, on average, each type of assessment (exam, prac reports, and assignments etc.). For example, if there are two tests you need to have an average of 50% to pass. But you also need to have passed the other assessments as well. You can’t make up marks from one type of assessment to another (eg pass the tests but fail the prac reports).

• Late work that is submitted without an application for an extension will not be corrected.

• Extension of time for submission of assessable work- A student may apply for an extension of up to 7 days from the original due date. They must lodge the application form (available on the web ) at least the day before the due date. The application is lodged with the School Admin Office on Level 6, Bdg 51. Students requiring longer extensions must apply for Special Consideration (form available on the Web). For missed assessments such as exams- you (& your doctor if you are sick) must fill out a special consideration form. This form must be lodged at the HUB or online with supporting evidence (eg medical certificate), prior to, or within, 48 hours of the scheduled time of examination.

• In order to be successful in this module, you have to achieve a pass in all of the above assessment tasks. If you miss an assessment task due to unavoidable circumstances, you need to follow the procedure of special consideration and apply within the allowed time frame.

Course Overview: Access Course Overview