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It is important to provide staff with guidelines
on the correct management of specimens obtained during procedures
for pathology examination, including collection, handling,
labelling and documentation.
There are standard precautions or protocols that staff should
follow when handling specimens.
Staff should be educated in the different types of specimens and
methods of handling, as relevant. For example:
Staff should receive hazardous substance training to ensure
formalin is handled safely and a spill kit should be available
There should be adequate supplies of appropriate specimen jars
or slides for the intended list.
Correct labelling is critical on the specimen container,
pathology request form, pathology record book and patient care
form, as the results may determine further treatment for that
patient. Labelling should include the patient's name, UR number,
gender, address, patient's doctor, name of practice, date, time of
specimen collection and anatomical labelling of specimen (e.g. left
Specimen labelling should be checked by both the nurse and
doctor involved in the procedure.
All specimens and pathology request forms should be placed in
leak-proof containers and sealed in a biohazard specimen bag for
transport. Potentially infectious specimens should be double
Transport of specimens should be organised promptly according to
the pathology company requirements.
The treating medical practitioner should check all results prior
to filing and follow-up with the patient as appropriate (see Tracking Tests).