Graduate Expected Competencies
Competencies in which the graduate should be able to perform appropriate preparation, dissection, and gross description of human tissue within the surgical pathology laboratory include:
- Appropriate accessioning of specimens with accurate CPT coding reflective of the specimen type and gross findings.
- Collect and review pertinent clinical information and history, including scans, x-rays, laboratory data, pathology reports, photographic images and physician notes.
- Appropriately and accurately dissect, describe and submit surgical specimen tissue of gross pathologies and perform associated tasks including: x-ray imaging, triage and decalcification.
- Identify and submit samples from surgical pathology specimens that require ancillary testing including: lymphoma protocol/flow cytometry, cytogenetics, immunohistochemistry, microbiology, molecular testing and biorepository.
- Appropriately select and submit gross specimen tissue sections for light microscopy, electron microscopy and immunofluorescence microscopy.
- Appropriately select specimen tissue and perform frozen section procedures expeditiously.
- Adequately photograph, annotate, and map gross specimens and microscopic slides.
- Maintain compliance with policies, procedures, and protocols in the surgical pathology suite.
- Accurately maintain quality control logs of laboratory equipment, supplies and waste management.
- Maintain a clean and safe surgical pathology suite that adheres to regulatory standards.
- Recognize the components and differences in forensic/autopsy pathology conferences, surgical pathology conferences and multidisciplinary conferences.
Competencies in which the graduate should be able to perform all components of gross human postmortem examination include:
- Validate the legal authorization to proceed with an autopsy including proper identification of the body and recognition of the proper completion of different types of permit forms;
- Collect the patient's medical records and other pertinent data for review by the pathologist using the electronic medical record, medical examiner reports and legacy charts where necessary;
- Review the case prior to dissection with the attending pathologist and the involved pathology resident and/or pathologists' assistant to plan the procedure for the case, including any special techniques or procedures to be utilized;
- Prior to beginning the case, notify the patient's attending physician, funeral home, and any other appropriate authorities, such as medical examiner or state prison investigators, and personnel that may be involved in tissue harvesting for transplantation or research purposes;
- Perform the gross autopsy, to include external examination, opening the body, in situ inspection of organs, evisceration or individual organ removal as appropriate to the type of autopsy, dissection of organs, and dictation and/or recording of gross anatomic findings, including organ weights and amounts and appearance of body fluids;
- Select, prepare, and submit appropriate tissue sections for formalin fixation, paraffin embedded (FFPE) histologic processing, as well as for any other special techniques needed, paying special attention to samples that must be prepared prior to formalin fixation of the organs and tissues;
- Collect routine biologic specimens such as blood, tissue for fresh frozen samples and any additional specimens for toxicologic testing as appropriate;
- Demonstrate or describe special procedures such as cardiac conduction system dissection, coronary artery perfusion, x-rays including use of barium perfusion, brain and spinal cord removal, eye enucleation, joint aspiration and dissection, bone biopsy and sectioning, and mastoid bone dissections;
- Make the routine photographs of the body and organs in situ and choose any additional photographs that will effectively demonstrate the gross pathologic findings;
- Obtain and organize any additional clinical data required to prepare a concise summary of the clinical history, and prepare an outline form provisional anatomic diagnosis report of the major autopsy findings;
- Assist with preparation of the body for release, including indication of any known biohazards (contagious or transmissible diseases, radioactive substances, etc.), and describe the procedures necessary to release the body to an appropriate recipient;
- Describe autopsy protocol maintenance, photographs and microscopic slide archiving, and coding;
- Explain how to organize and coordinate a gross autopsy conference and be able to present clinical history and gross findings at such conferences;
- Explain autopsy equipment procurement and maintenance, and appropriate provisioning of autopsy supplies;
- Assist with administrative duties relating to the pathology laboratory and the laboratory profession including: teaching residents and other pathologists' assistant students, laboratory supply and equipment ordering, laboratory budgeting, quality control and quality assurance documentation and improvement projects.