Course Title: Perform histological procedures

Part A: Course Overview

Program: C5283 Diploma of Laboratory Technology (Pathology Testing)

Course Title: Perform histological procedures

Portfolio: SEH Portfolio Office

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.

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


155T Vocational Health and Sciences


Term2 2013,
Term2 2014

Course Contact: Amberlee Mitton

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 8053

Course Contact Email:

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.

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


National Competency Codes and Titles

National Element Code & Title:

MSL973008A Perform histological procedures


1. Assemble equipment and materials
1.1. Confirm the number and type of sections required
1.2. Collect equipment and arrange the workspace so that equipment can be used safely and efficiently
1.3. Perform pre-use and safety checks to ensure equipment is fit for purpose
1.4. Report faulty or unsafe equipment to appropriate personnel
1.5. Inspect processor reagents for deterioration and adequate volume and report any items requiring replacement

2. Process and embed plant and animal tissue
2.1. Select program and reagents for processing
2.2. Monitor processor regularly during processing sequence to ensure dehydration, clearing and infiltration are complete
2.3. Check that temperature of wax is suitable for embedding process
2.4. Check that volume of wax is sufficient for uninterrupted embedding of processor load
2.5. Embed tissue in correct orientation
2.6. Allow block to solidify evenly according to wax requirements

3. Cut sections of plant and animal tissue
3.1. Place and secure block and knife in microtome strictly in accordance with safety directions
3.2. Label required number of microscope slides in accordance with enterprise traceability requirements
3.3. Cut ribbons of representative sections at the required thickness observing prescribed safety measures
3.4. Float sections onto water bath to flatten tissues
3.5. Pick up sections onto microscope slides ensuring identification on slides matches that on block
3.6. Apply procedures to prevent cross-contamination between samples
3.7. Cut free hand sections of plant tissue as required
3.8. Inspect sections and reject items that do not meet specifications

4. Stain sections
4.1. Select reagents specified in the method
4.2. Stain sections according to the method
4.3. Examine sections microscopically to ensure expected staining outcomes have been achieved
4.4. Mount sections to ensure long term preservation
4.5. Attach permanent labels giving specimen details according to enterprise traceability requirements


5. Maintain a safe work environment
5.1. Ensure personal safety and minimise cross-contamination through the use of personal protective equipment
5.2. Handle all specimens and equipment in accordance with enterprise safety protocols/procedures
5.3. Clean up spills using appropriate techniques to protect personnel, work area and environment
5.4. Minimise generation of waste and environmental impacts
5.5. Collect and dispose of all wastes safely
5.6. Report hazards and incidents to designated personnel using enterprise procedures

Learning Outcomes

Overview of Assessment

Assessments for this course typically consist of:

  • Class activities
  • Assignments
  • Presentations
  • Tests
  • practical skills assessment