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: 

Process human tissue specimens for testing in a cytology laboratory 
SAQA US ID UNIT STANDARD TITLE
257202  Process human tissue specimens for testing in a cytology 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  12 
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 as a laboratory assistant in a Cytology laboratory, and will provide skills and recognition within the laboratory for upward mobility as well as skills to work in other departments in pathology laboratory. Knowledge and understanding gained are essential elements for the quality needed in handling pathology specimens as well as addressing the skills shortage in the country.

On completion of this unit standard, the competent learner will be able to:
  • Receive, sort, store and discard specimens in a cytology laboratory.
  • Label, preserve and stain slides for microscopic examination.
  • Operate and maintain laboratory equipment.
  • Prepare stock and working solutions for staining. 

  • 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 
    Process implies all actions pertaining to specimens, stock and equipment. 

    Specific Outcomes and Assessment Criteria: 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 1 
    Receive, sort, store and discard human tissue specimens in a cytology laboratory. 
    OUTCOME RANGE 
    Specimens include body cavity fluids, cerebrospinal fluids, urine, fine needle aspirates, sputa, washings, brushings, cervical and vaginal smears. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Specimens are identified, matched to request forms; both are labelled with the laboratory access number to ensure future traceability and any disparity or lack of information is telephonically queried with the sender. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Urgent specimens are prioritised for urgent handling to ensure quality client service. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Specimens are assessed for suitability for preparation and analysis; reaction to unsuitability can be explained. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Includes but not limited to whether slides are fixed, containers are broken, leaking or empty, specimen tests marked for other laboratory disciplines.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    Specimens are sorted and placed at relevant workbenches for further processing, or despatched to other pathology departments. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Benches for different types of specimens include pap smears, cerebrospinal fluid, body cavity fluids and fine needle aspirates.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 5 
    Tested specimens, screened slides, request forms and worksheets are appropriately stored for possible future retrieval; expired specimens are discarded after the specified period of time to maintain order and safety in the laboratory. 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 2 
    Label, preserve and stain slides for microscopic identification. 
    OUTCOME RANGE 
    Slides include gynaecological smears and non-gynaecological smears. Labelling is done with Diamond and/or HB lead pencil. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Slides are labelled with the laboratory reference number on the request form, to ensure correct client identity. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Labelled slides are appropriately stained and mounted and non-conformance incidents are recorded and reported to ensure quality control. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Stains are changed according to protocol and recorded for quality control purposes. 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 3 
    Operate and maintain laboratory equipment. 
    OUTCOME RANGE 
    Equipment includes but is not limited to fridges, glassware, safety cabinets, laminar flow cabinets, autoclaves, centrifuges, thermometers, balances, staining and mounting machines. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Equipment is operated in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications in order to ensure optimal performance. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Equipment is maintained by performing cleaning and recording procedures to ensure environmental and personnel safety. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Operational non-conformances are recorded and reported to maintain quality control. 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 4 
    Prepare stock and working solution for staining. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Stock and working solutions are prepared according to manufacture's specifications, to ensure accurate test results. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Clean glassware and calibrated equipments are selected for use when making up solutions and the solution containers are labelled for easy identification according to accreditation requirements. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Accreditation requirements include date of opening the reagent, date of expiry, name of the solution, name of person preparing the solution.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Solutions are stored according to required shelf life specification and storage conditions; expired solutions are discarded to maintain order in the laboratory. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Storage conditions include varying degrees of temperature, varying types of containers.
     


    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 sites of specimen collection.
  • Recognition of preserved and unpreserved slide smears.
  • Policies and procedures of the relevant organisation.
  • Quality control and laboratory safety procedures.
  • Appropriate use and maintenance of laboratory equipment.

    Current applicable legislation pertaining to:
  • 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 all Specific Outcomes. 

  • 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 all Specific Outcomes. 

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

  • 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 all 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 a 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.

    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.

    Matrix of Credits Assigned:

    Activity; Hours:
  • Tutoring:
    > Lecturer; 16.
    > Learner/self study; 8.
  • Practical:
    > On job and Simulation; 96.
  • Total: 120.

    Credits: 12. 

  • 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.