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: 

Receive and prepare specimens for microbiological analysis and prepare culture media in a medical laboratory 
SAQA US ID UNIT STANDARD TITLE
257215  Receive and prepare specimens for microbiological analysis and prepare culture media in a medical 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  24 
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 microbiology laboratory and contribute to the competence required to work in other departments of a pathology laboratory. Knowledge and insight gained are essential elements for the competency required in handling pathology specimens.

On completion of this unit standard, the competent learner will be able to:
  • Receive specimens in a microbiology laboratory.
  • Prepare specimens aseptically and incubate inoculated culture plates for analysis.
  • Operate and maintain laboratory apparatus.
  • Stain prepared slides for microscopic examination.
  • Prepare culture media for use in specimen 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 
    Human tissue specimens include but are not limited to:
  • Urine (random and timed collections), cerebrospinal fluid, aspirates, faeces, seminal fluid, tissue biopsies, sputa, pus, specimens on swabs, prosthetic devices such as central line tips, intra uterine contraceptive devices, valves, shunts, catheters. 

  • Specific Outcomes and Assessment Criteria: 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 1 
    Receive specimens in a microbiology laboratory. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Specimens are identified and matched to the data captured on the computerised or manual system and request forms, to verify that all are correct. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Details include patient name, age, sex, requisition number, specimen type, test procedure request and clinical details.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Specimen suitability is assessed in accordance with test procedure requirements and time of specimen reception to assure authentic results. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Test requirements include date and time of specimen collection, volume, source of specimen, suitability of specimen container, use of transport media, priority e.g. urgent, presence of additives such as Formalin.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Unsuitable specimens are recorded and reported according to the established laboratory procedure and new specimens are requested. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    Specimen and matching relevant work cards/request forms are distributed to the correct bench in preparation for analysis. 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 2 
    Prepare specimens aseptically and incubate inoculated culture plates for analysis. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Specimens are labelled with appropriate internal laboratory/bench laboratory numbers for internal referencing purposes to ensure quality. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Blood culture bottles are loaded into the automated blood culture machines or incubators as soon as possible following receipt to facilitate the growth of any microbes present. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Urine specimens are centrifuged to concentrate sediment for microscopic examination. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    The influence of environmental/atmospheric conditions on microbiological procedures is described in terms of ensuring optimal organism isolation. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Temperature control, atmospheric gas composition requirements, moisture content, pH.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 5 
    Inoculated culture plates are transferred from the bench to the appropriate incubators and stored for the time required to facilitate microbial growth. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Range of Incubators: Carbon Dioxide, Oxygen, 37ļ Centigrade and 25ļ Centigrade incubators.
     

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 3 
    Operate and maintain laboratory apparatus. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Control gauges of instruments are checked and instruments operated in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications and laboratory standard operating procedures in order to maintain optimal performance. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Instruments may include incubators, centrifuges, automated blood culture machines, water baths, thermometers, safety cabinets, laminar flow hoods, plate pouring machines, tube dispensers, water distiller, balances, pH meters, autoclaves, steamers and sterilizers.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    All cleaning and maintenance procedures are recorded to ensure environmental and personnel safety; mal-functioning instruments are reported to facilitate timely maintenance. 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 4 
    Stain pre-prepared slides for microscopic examination. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Pre-prepared slides are stained for microscopic examination of human tissue samples according to the tests required. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Details include the sequencing and timing of procedures for Gram, Eosinophil, Methylene Blue, Ziehl NeŽlsen, Auramine, Kinyoun staining.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Stocks of stains are maintained by replacing old with new stains according to quality control procedures and all changes are recorded on maintenance charts. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Slides are mounted as required for the specific microscopic examinations. 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 5 
    Prepare media for use in specimen processing. 
    OUTCOME RANGE 
    Media include bottle, tube and plate media stock and working solutions. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Media stock levels are checked and media prepared according to protocol and the Medical Technologist is notified when the prepared media are ready for quality control testing. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Media batches are stored or discarded to maintain quality control standards and non-conformances with regard to media preparation are recorded and reported. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Media are distributed as per telephonic, computer or paper media orders. 


    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 collections e.g. Pleural fluid originates in the chest cavity.
  • Quality Control and Laboratory Safety Procedures.
  • Appropriate use and maintenance of laboratory apparatus.
  • Policies and Procedures of the relevant organisation.

    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 specimens in a microbiology laboratory.
  • Prepare specimens aseptically and incubate inoculated culture plates for analysis. 

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

    Refer to the following Specific Outcomes:
  • Receive specimens in a microbiology laboratory.
  • Prepare specimens aseptically and incubate inoculated culture plates for analysis.
  • Operate and maintain laboratory apparatus.
  • Prepare media for use in specimen processing. 

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

    Refer to the following Specific Outcomes:
  • Receive specimens in a microbiology laboratory.
  • Prepare media for use in specimen processing. 

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

    Refer to the following Specific Outcomes:
  • Receive specimens in a microbiology laboratory.
  • Prepare specimens aseptically and incubate inoculated culture plates for analysis.
  • Operate and maintain laboratory apparatus. 

  • 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 specimens in a microbiology laboratory.
  • Operate and maintain laboratory apparatus.
  • Stain pre-prepared slides for microscopic examination.
  • Prepare media for use in specimen processing. 

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

    Refer to the following Specific Outcomes:
  • Receive specimens in a microbiology laboratory.
  • Prepare specimens aseptically and incubate inoculated culture plates for analysis.
  • Operate and maintain laboratory apparatus. 

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

    Refer to the following Specific Outcomes:
  • Receive specimens in a microbiology laboratory.
  • Prepare specimens aseptically and incubate inoculated culture plates for analysis. 

  • 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:
  • ID 252401: Comply with safety requirements in the medical or blood transfusion fields.
  • ID 119078: Use a GUI-based word processor to enhance a document through the use of tables and columns.
  • 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.
  • 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:
    > Lecturer: 30 Hours.
    > Learner/self study: 10 Hours.
  • Practical:
    > On job: 200 Hours.
    > Simulation.

    Total: 240 Hours.
    Credits: 24.

    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.