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Histopathology Technician

Company: Department of Veterans Affairs
Location: Saint Louis
Posted on: June 13, 2021

Job Description:

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Duties

Summary

The Histopathology Technician serves in the histology section in the Anatomical Pathology Department of the Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Service (PLMS) at the John Cochran Division of this two division Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Specimens generated at both hospitals are processed and analyzed at the John Cochran Division.

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Responsibilities

Histopathology technicians at this level generally have a higher level of responsibility for technical oversight, and are expected to carry out assigned tasks of considerable difficulty independently. The incumbent will have the responsibility of performing difficult specialized histological, histochemical, and immunohistochemical procedures, as well as developing, modifying, or adapting new staining methods or techniques, improving existing methods as necessary for routine histo-technology procedures. The technician will be responsible for troubleshooting issues with instruments and resolving problems.

  • The histopathology technician typically performs procedures in preparing histologic sections (surgical pathology, autopsy and cell blocks) working independently (with limited supervision of the supervisor or designee as the need arises). These procedures are performed in the manner described by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) as well as the written guidelines of PLMS and as required by The Joint Commission, and other regulatory agencies.
  • Prepares solutions and reagents used in the Histology Laboratory. Monitor reagents inventory, know the amount of reagent needed to keep on hand performing tasks and replenish the supplies as the need arises.
  • Receiving and correctly accessioning the different histology and cytology specimens accurately into the patients' electronic medical record system.-Prepares samples, slides, smears, or other types of specimens common to the laboratory.
  • Operates tissue processors and ensure optimal tissue fixation, dehydration and paraffin infiltration. Paraffin embeds processed tissues. Performs microtomy and cut various tissue section levels on a variety of specimen types. Mounts tissue sections on slides avoiding folds, chatter, and floaters on a properly warmed water bath.
  • Performs a variety of standard routine hematoxylin and Eosin stains as well as special histochemical stains such as: PAS, trichrome, myelin, amyloid, mucin, reticulin, luxol-fast blue, bacterial stains, fungal stains, acid-fast stains.
  • Provide technical assistance for intra-operative frozen section consultations. Maintains the staining row and the cryostat in the frozen section room.-Performs minor duties in the morgue as needed.
  • Follows standard procedures and applies a practical knowledge of the properties of the specimens to ensure an adequate sample for pathologist diagnosis.-Performs manual procedures as required during computer down times. Prepare samples, slides, smears, or other types of specimens common to the laboratory.-Work with the other team members, pathology assistant, resident and pathologist to gain a better understanding concerning the proper tissue embedding technique and to understand the established protocol for the number of sections required.-Monitors the integrity of laboratory facilities and equipment and the environment for contamination.
  • Closely monitor instruments and equipment in the Anatomic Pathology Laboratories for proper functioning and optimal performance.
  • Perform and record machine maintenance in the preventative maintenance manual. Calibrate the pH meter.-Receives and assess reagents procured for use in the Anatomic pathology laboratory. Properly stores reagents received and promptly notifies supervisor if any damage had been done to the shipment.
  • Maintains laboratory records including inventory of reagents and also records of machine maintenance.
  • Record manually or electronically all activities and work performed. Check quality control (QC) of stains and complete the proper QC forms for Pathologist review.
  • The incumbent performs established quality control procedures to check the accuracy and validity of the test results. Any deviations in quality control results are documented and reported to the supervisor. Prior to further processing for analysis of patients' sample, the incumbent takes action to correct the quality control deviations. He/she identifies instrument malfunctions, if applicable, and takes appropriate action to correct them. The incumbent identifies unusual test results or discrepancies/conditions that can cause erroneous results (instrument malfunction, conditions of test performance, reaction systems and/or test procedures). The individual takes appropriate action to make corrections and solve problems.
  • The incumbent will observe all laboratory safety and infection control practices in accordance with the procedures established by national, regional, and facility policies.

Work Schedule: Full Time Mon - Fri 8:00am - 4:30pm

Financial Disclosure Report: Not required

Travel Required

Not required

Supervisory status

No

Promotion Potential

7

  • Job family (Series)

0646 Pathology Technician

  • Requirements

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Requirements

Conditions of Employment

  • You must be a U.S. Citizen to apply for this job
  • Designated and/or random drug testing may be required
  • Selective Service Registration is required for males born after 12/31/1959
  • You may be required to serve a probationary period
  • Subject to a background/security investigation
  • Must be proficient in written and spoken English
  • Selected applicants will be required to complete an online onboarding process

Qualifications

Applicants pending the completion of educational or certification/licensure requirements may be referred and tentatively selected but may not be hired until all requirements are met.

Basic Requirements:

  • United States Citizenship: Non-citizens may only be appointed when it is not possible to recruit qualified citizens in accordance with VA Policy.
  • English Language Proficiency: Histopathology Technicians must be proficient in spoken and written English in accordance with chapter 2, section D, paragraph 5.a., this part.

May qualify based on being covered by the Grandfathering Provision as described in the VA Qualification Standard for this occupation (only applicable to current VHA employees who are in this occupation and meet the criteria).

Preferred Experience: One year of experience in a health care field that demonstrates the applicant's ability to perform the work or provides an understanding of the work such as but not limited to a medical or clinical laboratory assistant (or technician) or health technician.

OR,

Education: (a) Four academic years above high school leading to a bachelor's degree with courses related to the occupation such as biological science or chemistry; or (b) Successful completion of two academic years of study above high school that included at least 24 semester hours in Chemistry and/or in appropriate fields of biological science and successful completion of a 12-month program of education and training in histopathology or cytotechnology.

NOTE: Graduate education or an internship meets the specialized experience required above GS-5 only in those instances where it is directly related to the work of the position. One full year of graduate education meets the requirements for GS-7. Two full years of graduate education or a master's degree meets the requirements for GS-9. One year of full-time graduate education is considered to be the number of credit hours that the school attended has determined to represent 1 year of full-time study. If that information cannot be obtained from the school, 18 semester hours should be considered as satisfying the 1 year of full-time study requirement. Part-time graduate education is creditable in accordance with its relationship to a year of full-time study at the school attended.

OR

Experience/Education Combination: Equivalent combination of experience and education are qualifying for entry level for which both education and experience are acceptable. Examples are: (a) Six months of experience in the health care field and two years of education above high school that included at least six semester hours in health care related courses such as biological science, surgical technician courses or other courses related to the position; or an associate's degree in a health care related field. (b) Six months of experience in the health care field and successful completion of a course for health care technicians, hospital corpsmen, medical service specialists, or histopathology technicians given by the U.S. Armed Forces.

Grade Determinations: In addition to the basic requirements for employment, the following criteria must be met when determining the grade of candidates:

(1) Experience. One year of experience equivalent to the next lower grade level.

(2) Assignment. Histopathology technicians at this level generally have a higher level of responsibility for technical oversight, and are expected to carry out assigned tasks of considerable difficulty independently. The incumbent will have the responsibility of performing difficult specialized histological, histochemical, and immunohistochemical procedures, as well as developing, modifying, or adapting new staining methods or techniques, improving existing methods as necessary for routine histotechnology procedures. The technician will be responsible for troubleshooting issues with instruments and resolving problems. For all assignments above the full performance level, the higher-level duties must consist of significant scope, complexity (difficulty) and range of variety and be performed by the incumbent at least 25% of the time.

Specialized ExperienceAnatomical pathology technician work in (a) cutting and staining very thin sections of human tissue specimens for microscopic examination; and/or in (b) testing and examining body fluids, etc. for abnormalities in cell structure, depending upon the requirements of the position to be filled.

Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities.

In addition to the experience above, the candidate must demonstrate all of the following KSAs.

(a) Skill in applying professional, complex anatomic pathology principles, practices, concepts, and theories in performing new or difficult specialized testing methods or techniques.

(b) Ability to provide technical oversight of laboratory quality control and assurance procedures and principles of performance improvement exhibiting competence in managing reagent and supply inventories and document control systems.

(c) Ability to validate methodologies, operate anatomic pathology laboratory equipment and perform complex instrument troubleshooting.

(d) Ability to use independent technical judgment to analyze and evaluate laboratory results and resolve problems.

References: VA Handbook 5005/102 Part II Appendix G55

Physical Requirements: The work requires regular and recurring standing to perform tests; prolonged sitting while utilizing a microtome; walking, reaching, stooping and bending to obtain supplies and operate instruments. The incumbent occasionally lifts heavy containers of reagents or supplies.

Education

IMPORTANT: A transcript must be submitted with your application if you are basing all or part of your qualifications on education.

Note: Only education or degrees recognized by the U.S. Department of Education from accredited colleges, universities, schools, or institutions may be used to qualify for Federal employment. You can verify your education here: http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/. If you are using foreign education to meet qualification requirements, you must send a Certificate of Foreign Equivalency with your transcript in order to receive credit for that education. For further information, visit: http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ous/international/usnei/us/edlite-visitus-forrecog.html.

Keywords: Department of Veterans Affairs, St. Louis , Histopathology Technician, Other , Saint Louis, Missouri

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