[Histonet] Who can perform Histology Duties

Terri Braud tbraud <@t> holyredeemer.com
Thu Jan 10 09:54:41 CST 2008

"Sharon.Davis-Devine" <Sharon.Davis-Devine <@t> carle.com> wrote:
  Ok, all of you Histonetters I have another question for you. Who the
histology laboratory can perform these job functions: embedding,
cutting, performing special stains and IHC? Can a lab assistant perform
these duties if properly trained or do you have to be classified as a
Histotech in training? Can a Cytotech or Med Tech perform such duties,
again if properly trained? All opinions and references to such
requirements would be greatly appreciated.

Though some may not like to admit it, ANYONE properly trained and documented as competent can perform the duties listed above.  The only exception is for those states that have licensure requirements for the performance of Histological duties, and then, the licensure requirements must be met. IHC is still a stain.  The interpretation of that stain by the pathologist is the high complexity part of the test.  Anyone properly trained and documented as competent can stain IHC. Even grossing has now been re-defined by CAP to allow submission of smaller tissues by personnel without the qualifications for High Complexity Testing (see below)  
(CAP checklist question and notes: ANP.11600)
1) Processing is defined as a tissue examination limited to description, inking and cutting of the specimen (if applicable), and submission of the entire specimen to histology.  Tissue processing can be performed according to standardized protocols.  Processing is generally limited to small specimens (skin ellipses, small biopsies, curettings, etc.) and does not require knowledge of anatomy.
2) Grossing (or gross examination) is defined as a tissue examination requiring a greater exercise of judgment and a knowledge of anatomy.  Dissection of the specimen and selection of tissue samples for submission to histology are generally required.  The specimen description is not necessarily standardized.

Please save your flames.  The scenerio of a Non-Histotech embedding, cutting, and staining my surgical tissue does not thrill me, but that was not her question.  Maybe the reality of the answer is why many Histology Labs have always been considered the evil red-headed stepchildren of the Lab.

Terri L. Braud, HT(ASCP)
Anatomic Pathology Supv.
Laboratory, Holy Redeemer Hospital
1648 Huntingdon Pike
Meadowbrook, PA 19046
(215) 938-3689



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