Course Title: Perform histological tests

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2017

Course Code: BIOL5224C

Course Title: Perform histological tests

School: 174T School of VE Engineering, Health & Science

Campus: City Campus

Program: C5362 - Diploma of Laboratory Technology (Pathology Testing)

Course Contact: Amber Mitton

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 8053

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Greg Jenkins

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


MSL973007 Perform microscopic examination

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 and may involve the use of automated processors and staining machines. 

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

MSL975003 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 Identify specimens and request forms that do not comply with requirements, record any discrepancies and indicate what action is required 1.3 Log acceptable specimens into a laboratory information management system (LIMS) accurately and efficiently, applying required document tracking mechanisms 1.4 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 Select tissue fixative to prepare tissue for subsequent procedures 2.4 Weigh organs and count tissue chips and shavings


3 Process tissue

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Select processor program and reagents 3.2 Perform equipment pre-use checks on the tissue processor to ensure sample integrity is maintained 3.3 Follow processing requirements for non-routine techniques, including histochemistry


4 Embed tissue

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Check that temperature of embedding medium is suitable for embedding process 4.2 Check that volume of embedding medium is sufficient for uninterrupted embedding of processor load 4.3 Embed tissue types in correct orientation and characteristics that minimise tissue loss during microtomy 4.4 Apply procedures to prevent cross-contamination between tissues 4.5 Inspect blocks, reject and re-embed items that do not meet quality control standards


5 Cut tissue sections

Performance Criteria:

5.1 Check that flotation bath is ready and satisfactory for use 5.2 Prepare and adjust all external parts of a microtome and associated equipment to accommodate requirements of tissue batch 5.3 Secure block in microtome following specified safety directions 5.4 Orientate the block correctly for each specific tissue to ensure tissue conservation and maintain sample integrity 5.5 Label required number of microscope slides in accordance with workplace traceability requirements 5.6 Cut thin tissue sections (4-5μm), according to needs of subsequent procedures, maintaining sample integrity and conserving tissue for further testing 5.7 Float sections onto water bath to flatten tissues 5.8 Pick up sections onto microscope slides ensuring patient identification on slides matches that on block 5.9 Apply procedures to prevent cross-contamination between patient tissues 5.10 Maintain tissue sections in conditions compatible with intended subsequent procedures 5.11 Compare the blocks and sections ensuring the tissue on slides matches that in the blocks 5.12 Inspect sections and reject any that do not meet quality control standards 5.13 Identify, troubleshoot and resolve common section quality control issues


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 using the required quality control section and accommodating any authorised variations 6.5 Mount slides using medium compatible with staining technique 6.6 Examine control sections microscopically to ensure expected staining outcomes are achieved and procedural artefacts are detected 6.7 Confirm macroscopically or microscopically that tissues on all slides conform with the expected characteristics of that case 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 workplace 6.10 Confirm microscopically that the type/disease is appropriate and still present in the control sections for each stain


7 Maintain a safe environment

Performance Criteria:

7.1 Use established safe work practices and personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure personal safety and that of other laboratory personnel 7.2 Handle non-fixed tissues safely to minimise cross-infection and contamination of personnel and environment 7.3 Store fixed tissues as specified to minimise exposure of personnel to dangerous fumes and vapours 7.4 Clean up spills using appropriate techniques to protect personnel, work area and environment from contamination 7.5 Minimise the generation of wastes 7.6 Ensure the safe disposal of biohazardous materials and other laboratory wastes in accordance with workplace procedures


8 Maintain laboratory records

Performance Criteria:

8.1 Make entries on report forms or into computer systems, accurately calculating, recording or transcribing data as required 8.2 Complete control stain quality assessment forms to report quality control outcomes 8.3 File and store tissue sections to facilitate efficient retrieval as required 8.4 Maintain instrument logs as required by accreditation checks 8.5 Maintain confidentiality and security of all clinical information, and laboratory data and records

Learning Outcomes

Details of Learning Activities

Online learning

In-class discussions

Practical exercises

Teaching Schedule










Monday 6th Feb

Introduction To the Course





Monday 13th Feb

Microtomy & Cryotomy

Note: Microtomy will be performed from this week.


Monday 20th Feb

Introduction to Microanatomy, Epithelial tissues


(but not every student every week)


Monday 27th Feb

Connective Tissues & Skin




Monday 6th March

Muscular & Nervous Tissues


Online Quiz 1 (Starts 6/3 ends 11/3)



Monday 13th March




Monday 20th March

The Reproductive System,



Monday 27th March

The digestive system and associated glands


Online Quiz 2 (Starts 27/3 ends 1/4)



Monday 3rd April


Haemopoetic and Respiratory Systems




Monday 10th April

Tissue recognition revision & test


Online Quiz 3 (Starts 10/4 ends 15/4)



Monday 17th April




Monday 24th April

Possible Excursion to RMIT Bundoora, Polarising microscopy & Microwave prac, IHC Theory & Demonstration





Monday 1st May

Possible site visit to diagnostic lab




Monday 8th May

Cutup process (theory), Tissue preparation (Prac)



Monday 15th May

Fixation (Theory & Prac) Decal (theory)



Monday 22nd May

Tissue Processing & Embedding Pt 1



Monday 29th May

Embedding Pt 2

Online Quiz 4 (Starts 29/5 ends 4/6)




Monday 5th June


Student Vacation Queen’s Birthday holiday


Semester 2 program will be posted two weeks prior to start of semester

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

Online learning resources

No prescribed texts


Overview of Assessment

written tests

practical tests

Laboratory logbook

online quizzes

Assessment Tasks

Assessment No.







S1 and S2

Practical competency and logbook                                


A Satisfactory result is mandatory for a pass


Monday 16th October



Online Quiz 1


Starts 6/3/17

Ends 11/3/17



Online Quiz 2


Starts 27/3/17

Ends 1/4/17



Online Quiz 3


Starts 10/4/17

Ends 15/4/17



Online Quiz 4               


Starts 29/5/17

Ends 4/6/17



Online Quiz 5


Starts 5/7/17

Ends 10/7/17



SLIDE TEST: tissue & stain recognition & section adequacy


Monday 18th September



Specimen reception & Data entry Prac. & Theory exam



A Satisfactory result is mandatory for a pass




Theory exam



Assessment Matrix

Other Information

This course is graded in accordance with competency-based assessment, but which also utilise graded assessment   CHD Competent with High Distinction (80 – 100%)
CDI Competent with Distinction (70 – 79%)
CC Competent with Credit (60 – 69%)
CAG Competency Achieved – Graded (50 – 59%)
NYC Not Yet Competent (0 – 49%)
DNS Did Not Submit for assessment

  • To pass the course you need to pass, on average, each type of assessment (exams, pracs, and assignments etc.) For example, if there are two exams you need to have an average of 50% to pass and you also need to have passed the other assessment types. You can’t make up marks from one type of assessment to another (e.g. pass the exams but fail the prac component).

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

  • APPLICATION FOR 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 online at least 24 hours 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. 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 online with supporting evidence prior to, or within, 48 hours of the scheduled time of examination
  • A minimum of 80% attendance at practical classes is required to pass this course. If you are sick you should submit a medical certificate to 6th floor office addressed to the Program Coordinator. If you miss a practical class that is a prac report write up you need to provide a medical certificate (or other evidence) and arrange an alternative report with your teacher


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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