OSF Saint Francis Medical Center

Peoria, Illinois

Curriculum

Technical Development

The School of Histotechnology provides a seven-month structured program providing both laboratory and classroom instruction. Students are assigned to rotations through each work station where they learn manual techniques and operation of automated lab instruments, including specimen accessioning, microtomy, frozen sections, fixation, decalcification, processing, embedding, general and special staining and immunohistochemistry. All lab activities are supervised by certified histotechnicians and histotechnologists. Judging specimen and reagent quality, evaluating instrument function, validating stain results through quality control protocols, and troubleshooting common instrument malfunctions are an integral part of this learning process. The classroom phase consists of lectures, class discussions, and the use of audio-visual materials including online education through BlackBoard.

Professional Development

A histotechnician needs more than just technical knowledge and skills. Students encounter a variety of situations which promote the development of professional attitudes, values and behavior. Opportunities to observe and perform activities such as scheduling, inventory ordering and management, workload management, problem resolution, resume preparation and a mock job interview are provided. Tours may be scheduled to a variety of locations, depending on student career interests.

Course Descriptions

Histology I: General Techniques (8 semester hours)

This course includes an orientation to the histology laboratory and the instrumentation. Focus is on preparation of routine stained tissue slides, including tissue histology, and techniques for tissue fixation, processing, microtomy and staining Lectures and supervised clinical practice in a histology laboratory are included.

OBJECTIVES: Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge, comprehension, application and entry-level competency in general histological techniques in the areas of:
    1. Specimen receipt and accessioning;
    2. Fixation of tissues;
    3. Decalcification of tissues;
    4. Processing of tissues;
    5. Microtomy of paraffin embedded tissues;
    6. Cryotomy of frozen tissues;
    7. Cover slipping, labeling and storage of slides and blocks; and
    8. General staining.
  2. Use appropriate terminology as applied to general histological techniques.
  3. Describe the purpose and methods utilized in general histological techniques.
  4. Set-up, operate and maintain routine histology instruments.
  5. Solve basic problems associated with reagents and methods of general histology techniques.
  6. Perform appropriate methods of quality control while performing general histology techniques.
  7. Apply mathematical calculations in class and lab assignments, including use of the metric system, temperature conversions, solution dilutions, molarity and normality.
  8. Recognize gross and microscopic anatomy of various tissues at the cellular, tissue and organ level.
  9. Consistently apply principles of lab safety in completing all laboratory work.
  10. Develop and exhibit positive professional attitudes at all times in the laboratory environment, including confidentiality and ethical decision-making

Histology II: Special Stains (5 semester hours)

This course builds on skills acquired in Histology I, with focus on special staining techniques and improved competence in microtomy and preparation of finished slides. Basic immunology, as applied to the theory of staining, is studied. Lectures and supervised clinical practice in a histology laboratory are included.

OBJECTIVES: Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge, comprehension, application and entry-level competency in special histological staining techniques for:
    1. Connective tissue;
    2. Carbohydrates;
    3. Microorganisms;
    4. Lipids, Minerals and Pigments;
    5. Nerve and special cells; and
    6. Enzymes.
  2. Use appropriate terminology as applied to special staining procedures.
  3. Describe the purpose and methods utilized in special histology techniques.
  4. Set-up, operate and maintain histology instruments.
  5. Solve basic problems associated with reagents and methods of special histology techniques.
  6. Perform appropriate methods of quality control while performing special histology techniques.
  7. Apply immunological and histochemical staining principles in performance of immunohistochemical special stains.
  8. Consistently apply principles of lab safety in completing all laboratory work.
  9. Develop and exhibit positive professional attitudes at all times in the laboratory environment, including confidentiality and ethical decision-making.