SAQA All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.
SOUTH AFRICAN QUALIFICATIONS AUTHORITY 
REGISTERED UNIT STANDARD: 

Handle biological specimens for processing in a histopathology laboratory 
SAQA US ID UNIT STANDARD TITLE
257198  Handle biological specimens for processing in a histopathology laboratory 
ORIGINATOR
SGB Medical Laboratory Assistants 
PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QUALITY ASSURANCE FUNCTIONARY
-  
FIELD SUBFIELD
Field 09 - Health Sciences and Social Services Curative Health 
ABET BAND UNIT STANDARD TYPE PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL CREDITS
Undefined  Regular  Level 3  NQF Level 03  13 
REGISTRATION STATUS REGISTRATION START DATE REGISTRATION END DATE SAQA DECISION NUMBER
Reregistered  2018-07-01  2023-06-30  SAQA 06120/18 
LAST DATE FOR ENROLMENT LAST DATE FOR ACHIEVEMENT
2024-06-30   2027-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This unit standard does not replace any other unit standard and is not replaced by any other unit standard. 

PURPOSE OF THE UNIT STANDARD 
This unit standard will enable the learner to work with biological specimens in a Histopathology laboratory and will provide skills for recognition within a laboratory for upward mobility as well as skills to work in other departments in pathology laboratories. Knowledge and insight gained are essential elements for the competency required in handling pathology specimens.

On completion of this unit standard, the learner will be able to:
  • Receive record and label specimens.
  • Prepare specimens for processing and distribute slides for screening.
  • Operate and maintain laboratory equipment.
  • Prepare, store, replace and discard specified reagents and stains used in the Histology Laboratory.
  • File, retrieve and/or discard specimens after processing. 

  • LEARNING ASSUMED TO BE IN PLACE AND RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING 
  • Communication at NQF Level 2.
  • Mathematical literacy at NQF Level 2.

    Recognition of Prior Learning:

    Relevant prior work experience, qualifications and learning events will be recognised for this qualification, and competence will be measured against the equivalent assessment criteria. RPL will be granted in agreement with the relevant ETQA or ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding in place with the relevant ETQA. 

  • UNIT STANDARD RANGE 
    Biological human tissue specimens include those taken post mortem, under frozen sectioning and during surgical procedures.

    Handle implies:
  • All actions relating to specimens, stock, slides and equipment. 

  • Specific Outcomes and Assessment Criteria: 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 1 
    Receive, record and label specimens. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Specimens are received, verified, numbered and sorted according to the test requested. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Sample suitability is assessed for compliance with test/s requested, for example, samples not received in formalin are unsuitable for histological processing. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Appointments of patients for frozen sections are recorded and the relevant pathologist notified in order to expedite the laboratory processes and thus the length of the anaesthetic for the patient. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Details include name of hospital, doctor, patient, time and type of tissue.
     

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 2 
    Prepare specimens for processing and distribute slides for screening. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    The 'cut-up' laboratory area and tissue specimen are prepared for the pathologist to select sections of tissue for processing. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The unused specimen is returned to the original container for filing in case of possible future reference. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Specimen cassettes are loaded into the processor for preparation prior to embedding. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    Following embedding and sectioning by the technologist, the assistant stains the slide according to the test requested and passes it to the designated pathologist for microscopic examination. 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 3 
    Operate and maintain laboratory equipment. 
    OUTCOME RANGE 
    Includes, but is not limited to water baths, scales, embedding machines, staining machines and extractor fans. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    All equipment is operated according to manufacturer/s specifications to ensure optimal functioning of the equipment. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Scheduled maintenance procedures are carried out according to the manufacturer's specifications and the specific laboratory protocol and the maintenance procedure is recorded in the specified maintenance log to ensure optimal functioning and environmental safety. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Faulty equipment is identified, the fault recorded and the situation immediately reported to the relevant supervisor for timeous corrective action. 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 4 
    Prepare, store, replace and discard specified reagents and stains used in the Histology Laboratory. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Reagents and stains are prepared by using the required quantities, ingredients and combinations of ingredients and the prepared containers are labelled accordingly prior to storage. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    A prepared slide is stained and given to the technologist who will ensure the correctness of the composition of the stain prepared. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    A control slide is used to test the quality of the reagent each time it is changed and the technologist is requested to note the reaction for quality control. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    The old reagents and stains are discarded according to the specified protocol, once new stains and reagents have been accepted by the quality controller. 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 5 
    File, retrieve and/or discard specimens after processing. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    The original reserve tissue specimen is filed after cut-up is completed, for possible further reference. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The wax blocks are filed after sectioning is completed by the technologist. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    The screened slides are filed after the pathologist has completed diagnostic screening. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    All accompanying documentation is filed for easy retrieval. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 5 
    Original tissue specimens, wax blocks and slides are discarded according to the prescribed time lines and in terms of specified guidelines. 


    UNIT STANDARD ACCREDITATION AND MODERATION OPTIONS 
  • Anyone assessing a learner or moderating the assessment of a learner against this qualification, must be registered as an assessor and/or moderator with the relevant Education and Training Quality Assurance body (ETQA) or ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding in place with the relevant ETQA.
  • Any institution offering learning for this unit standard must be accredited as a provider with the relevant ETQA or ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding in place with the relevant ETQA.
  • Assessment and moderation of assessment will be overseen by the relevant ETQA according to the ETQA`s policies and guidelines for assessment and moderation.
  • Anyone wishing to be assessed against this qualification may apply to be assessed by any relevant accredited assessment agency, assessor or provider institution, which is also accredited by the relevant ETQA or ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding in place with the relevant ETQA. 

  • UNIT STANDARD ESSENTIAL EMBEDDED KNOWLEDGE 
  • Basic anatomy and physiology pertaining to the site of specimen collection.
  • Policies and procedures of the relevant organization.
  • Appropriate use and maintenance of laboratory equipment.
  • Quality control and laboratory safety procedures.

    Current legislation pertaining to the following will be applicable:
  • Occupational Health and Safety.
  • Handling or use of Human Tissue.
  • Medical, Dental and Supplementary Health Services.
  • Regulations defining the scope of the profession of Medical Technology.
  • Statutory guidelines of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) pertaining to Medical Ethics. 

  • UNIT STANDARD DEVELOPMENTAL OUTCOME 
    N/A 

    UNIT STANDARD LINKAGES 
    N/A 


    Critical Cross-field Outcomes (CCFO): 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO IDENTIFYING 
    Identifying and solving problems in which responses display that responsible decisions using critical thinking have been made.

    Refer to the following Specific Outcomes:
  • Receive, record and label specimens.
  • Operate and maintain laboratory equipment.
  • Prepare, store, replace and discard specified reagents and stains used in the Histology Laboratory. 

  • UNIT STANDARD CCFO WORKING 
    Working effectively with others as a member of a team, group, organization or community.

    Refer to all Specific Outcomes. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO ORGANISING 
    Organising and managing oneself and one's activities responsibly and effectively.

    Refer to all Specific Outcomes. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO COLLECTING 
    Collecting, analysing, organizing and critically evaluating information.

    Refer to the following Specific Outcomes:
  • Receive, record and label specimens.
  • Operate and maintain laboratory equipment.
  • Prepare, store, replace and discard specified reagents and stains used in the Histology Laboratory. 

  • UNIT STANDARD CCFO COMMUNICATING 
    Communicating effectively using visual, mathematical and/or language skills in the mode of oral and or written persuasion.

    Refer to the following Specific Outcomes:
  • Receive, record and label specimens.
  • Prepare specimens for processing and distribute slides for screening.
  • Operate and maintain laboratory equipment.
  • Prepare, store, replace and discard specified reagents and stains used in the Histology Laboratory. 

  • UNIT STANDARD CCFO SCIENCE 
    Using science and technology effectively and critically showing responsibility towards the environment and health of others.

    Refer to all Specific Outcomes. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO DEMONSTRATING 
    Demonstrate an understanding of the world as a set of related systems.

    Refer to the following Specific Outcomes. 

    UNIT STANDARD ASSESSOR CRITERIA 
    N/A 

    REREGISTRATION HISTORY 
    As per the SAQA Board decision/s at that time, this unit standard was Reregistered in 2012; 2015. 

    UNIT STANDARD NOTES 
    It is strongly recommended that competency in the following Unit Standards is achieved prior to commencing learning towards this Unit Standard.
  • SAQA ID 252401: Comply with safety requirements in the medical or blood transfusion fields.
  • SAQA ID 119078: Use a GUI-based word processor to enhance a document through the use of tables and columns.
  • SAQA ID 13915: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of HIV/AIDS in a workplace and its effects on a business sub-sector, own organisation and a specific workplace.
  • SAQA ID 257201: Apply quality practice in the medical laboratory.

    Course requirements: The learner is required to be registered with the HPCSA as a Student Medical Laboratory Assistant for the duration of the period of learning.

    Matrix of Credits Assigned:
  • Tutoring:
    Activity; Hours:
    > Lecturer; 16 Hours.
    > Learner/self study; 8 Hours.
  • Practical:
    > On job practical and simulation; 100 Hours.

    Total; 130 Hours; 13 Credits.

    All actions are measured against the prescribed protocols or standard operating procedures (SOP) of the organization/institution where the learner is currently employed. The prescribed protocols/SOP are written instructions relating to specific tasks. These written instructions are issued to the learner, and signed once they have been studied. 

  • QUALIFICATIONS UTILISING THIS UNIT STANDARD: 
      ID QUALIFICATION TITLE PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL STATUS END DATE PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QA FUNCTIONARY
    Elective  63189   National Certificate: Medical Laboratory Assistance  Level 3  NQF Level 03  Passed the End Date -
    Status was "Reregistered" 
    2012-06-30   


    PROVIDERS CURRENTLY ACCREDITED TO OFFER THIS UNIT STANDARD: 
    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.
     
    NONE 



    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.