Medical analysis is constantly being performed in any hospital situation. The specimens that go to the lab for study will often yield the causes to certain illnesses. The medical professionals that perform histopathology are laboratory technicians inspecting tissue samples from autopsies, biopsies, swabs, and other medical testing samples and result in what is known as an autopsy report, a biopsy report,or pathology report.
This specialty code will assist the pathologist in interpreting the samples and reports. In order to provide first-rate medical care often requires specialized examination to occur behind the scenes. Responsible for preparing tissue for examination, Histopathology specialists help with essential diagnosis of the diseased samples. These technicians work in hospital labs performing various duties that range from maintaining laboratory instruments to assisting pathologists to perform autopsies in pursuit of the medical answers needed to treat patients.
How important are these specialists? Many of the prognoses are gathered from such detailed examination of the tissues. These may include cancerous tumors, tumor type and grade, and extent of spread. Then the pathologists and surgeons make a determination on whether or not the cancer can be fully removed with a margin of healthy cells surrounding it. Not only do these technicians deal with cancer cells, but also bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections. Being able to determine the causes of patient’s illnesses is largely due to the specialists in the laboratory that doctors and patients require to make sound decisions for future healthcare options.
Duties and Responsibilities:
These medical professionals in the Air Force, perform clinical duties at autopsies, prepares autopsy and surgical specimens, and supervises histopathology activities. They also perform the following roles in and out of the lab:
- Prepares surgical, cytological, and autopsy specimens.
- Receives and prepares specimens for fixation, dehydration, and impregnation processes by either manually or automatically sending specimens through a series of formalins, alcohols, clearing agents, and paraffin.
- Embeds tissues and prepares paraffin blocks for cutting on rotary microtome.
- Attaches cut tissues on specially prepared microslides and clears paraffin from tissue.
- Obtains tissue slides by surgical, cytological, or autopsy number.
- Submits finished tissue slides to the pathologist along with pertinent clinical data received from originating agency and gross examination by the pathologist.
- Performs special stains and procedures.
- Performs duties at autopsies and biopsies.
- Serves as technical assistant at autopsies.
- Assists pathologist in opening abdominal, pleural, and cranial cavities; examining various organs; and procuring and handling specimens from these organs.
- Prepares remains for transfer to mortuary, to include cleaning and closing all incisions.
- Labels and stores autopsy specimens until pathologist makes final examination prior to fixing, embedding, and staining.
The lab technician of histopathology maintains histopathology records and instruments and complete records of all surgical, cytological, and autopsy specimens, to include filing and storing of paraffin blocks and stained tissue slides by accession number. They also prepare and ship blocks, slides and diagnostic reports to various military and civilian medical facilities. It is also required of the histopathology lab technician to maintain all surgical and autopsy instruments, to include sharpening and cleaning microtome blades, knives, scissors, and chisels.
Also performing quality assurance of equipment and laboratory devices is required of the histopatholgy lab technician. They also evaluate current and new procedures for implementation and effectiveness while monitoring specimen handling, cutting, and staining quality; and equipment and controlled substances inventory. Finally, a major responsibility is to assist in maintaining accreditation standards.
Knowledge. Knowledge is mandatory of methods of fixing, staining, embedding, and cutting all types of tissue; properties of various biological stains and reagents; autopsy procedures; equipment maintenance; and medical terminology, ethics, and administration.
Education. For entry into this specialty, completion of high school courses in algebra and chemistry is mandatory. Completion of high school courses in biology, zoology, and other basic sciences is desirable.
Training. The following training is mandatory for award of the AFSC indicated:
4T032. Completion of a basic medical laboratory course.
4T052. Completion of a histopathology course.
. The following experience is mandatory for award of the AFSC indicated: (Note: See Explanation of Air Force Specialty Codes).
4T052. Qualification and in possession of AFSC 4T032. Also, experience performing tests in histopathology.
4T072. Qualification and in possession of AFSC 4T052. Also, experience performing and supervising histopathology tests and activities.
. For entry into this specialty:
Normal color vision as defined in AFI 48-123, Medical Examination and Standards, is mandatory.
Strength Req: G
Physical Profile: 333333
Required Appitude Score : G-43 (Changed to G-44, effective 1 October 2004).
Course #: Unknown
Length (Days): Unknown