Unit of competency details

HLTPAT304D - Collect pathology specimens other than blood (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by HLTPAT004 - Collect pathology specimens other than bloodThis version was released in HLT Health Training Package release 2.0 and meets the requirements of the 2012 Standards for Training Packages. Merged HLTPAT304/410. Significant changes to the elements and performance criteria. New evidence requirements for assessment, including volume and frequency requirements. Significant change to knowledge evidence. Removed prerequisite. 05/Aug/2015
Supersedes and is equivalent to HLTPAT304C - Collect pathology specimens other than bloodISC upgrade changes to remove references to old OHS legislation and replace with references to new WHS legislation. No change to competency outcome. 06/May/2012

Release Status:
ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 07/May/2012


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 019909 Laboratory Technology  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 019909 Laboratory Technology  02/Oct/2012 
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Modification History

HLT07 Version 4

HLT07 Version 5


HLTPAT304C Collect pathology specimens other than blood

HLTPAT304D - Collect pathology specimens other than blood

Unit updated in V5.

ISC upgrade changes to remove references to old OHS legislation and replace with references to new WHS legislation. No change to competency outcome.

Unit Descriptor


This unit of competency describes the skills and knowledge required to follow procedures for collection of pathology specimens other than blood from clients and clients for pathology testing

Application of the Unit


Work performed requires a broad knowledge base and the ability to apply solutions to a defined range of unpredictable problems

Individuals will take responsibility for their own outputs and limited responsibility for the quantity and quality of output of others

All tasks are conducted in accordance with organisation policies and procedures including WHS and infection control guidelines

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not Applicable


Not Applicable

Employability Skills Information

Employability Skills 

This unit contains Employability Skills

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements define the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

The Performance Criteria specify the level of performance required to demonstrate achievement of the Element. Terms in italics are elaborated in the Range Statement.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Receive request for collection of pathology specimen

1.1 Assess request to determine equipment required and other special requirements

1.2 Identify precise nature and requirements of the test request

1.3 Collect relevant clinical and personal information by interview of client and document correctly

1.4 Ensure pre-test criteria are met

1.5 Refer pathology requests to supervisor if required

1.6 Use of pathology collection manuals correctly

1.7 Select and prepare equipment and appropriate collection containers

2. Perform procedure

2.1 Explain procedure to client and obtain consent in accordance with legal and organisation requirements

2.2 Follow infection control guidelines

2.3 Use personal protective equipment appropriately according to organisation policy

2.4 Use collection and clinical equipment appropriately to avoid contamination of sample

2.5 Follow organisation guidelines for safe handling of pathology specimens/non pathology specimens

2.6 Adopt standard and additional precautions and seek assistance as required

2.7 Follow appropriate procedures for collection of sample

2.8 Follow WHS guidelines relating to disposal of equipment

3. Label and store specimens for transportation

3.1 Label specimens in accordance with ISO 9000 or the National Australian Testing Authority

3.2 Process and store specimens correctly

3.3 Contain specimens appropriately for transport

3.4 Report specimens ready for transportation

4. Care for client

4.1 Position client correctly and make comfortable

4.2 Monitor client during and on completion of collection procedure to identify potential adverse outcomes

Required Skills and Knowledge


This describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level required for this unit.

Essential knowledge:

The candidate must be able to demonstrate essential knowledge required to effectively do the task outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage the task and manage contingencies in the context of the identified work role

This includes knowledge of:

  • Abbreviations commonly used in a clinical laboratory
  • Basic anatomy and physiology relevant to type of pathology collections
  • Basic medical terminology used in a clinical laboratory
  • Boundaries of responsibilities
  • Client care
  • Correct storage methods for specimens and fixatives
  • General knowledge of pathology laboratories e.g. various departments and tests performed
  • Obligations with respect to confidentiality of client information and legal and ethical issues
  • Potential complications of collection procedures
  • Tests and appropriate times to collect eg drugs, last dose
  • Understanding of test requested and any special requirements - protecting the integrity of the specimen

Essential skills:

It is critical that the candidate demonstrate the ability to effectively do the task outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage the task and manage contingencies in the context of the identified work role

This includes the ability to:

  • Apply basic first aid
  • Apply standard and additional precautions
  • Comply with policies and procedures including WHS, infection control etc
  • Demonstrate appropriate care when handling radioactive isotopes
  • Demonstrate correct techniques for collection of pathology specimens other than blood
  • Demonstrate knowledge of pre-test criteria
  • Exhibit an appropriate level of care reflecting courtesy, responsiveness and helpfulness
  • Handle sterile jar so as not to contaminate
  • Maintain client confidentiality
  • Respond productively to supervision
  • Take into account opportunities to address waste minimisation, environmental responsibility and sustainable practice issues
  • Use basic computer skills
  • Use literacy support available in the workplace that may range from having access to support or assistance from expert/mentor/supervisor, to having no communication supports available
  • Use numeracy skills that may range from the ability to complete basic arithmetic calculations, weighing and measuring requirements to recording data
  • Use oral communication skills and language competence required to fulfil job roles in a safe manner and as specified by the organisation, including skills in:
  • asking questions
  • providing clear information
  • listening to and understanding workplace instructions
  • clarifying workplace instructions when necessary
  • literacy in English or a community language, depending on client group and organisations requirements
  • Use problem solving skills required including ability to use available resources Use reading and writing skills required to fulfil job roles in a safe manner and as specified by the organisation at a level of skill that may range from the ability to understand symbols used in WHS signs, to reading and interpreting requests for pathology specimens and completing appropriate documentation
  • Use time management strategies to set priorities
  • Work cooperatively in a team environment and unsupervised (some centres only have one staff)

Evidence Guide


The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the Performance Criteria, Required Skills and Knowledge, the Range Statement and the Assessment Guidelines for this Training Package.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate this competency unit:

  • The individual being assessed must provide evidence of specified essential knowledge as well as skills
  • Observation of workplace performance is preferred for assessment of this unit
  • Consistency of performance should be demonstrated over the required range of situations relevant to the workplace
  • Where, for reasons of safety, space, or access to equipment and resources, assessment takes place away from the workplace, the assessment environment should represent workplace conditions as closely as possible

Method of assessment may include:

  • Observation in the work place
  • Written assignments/projects or questioning should be used to assess knowledge
  • Case study and scenario as a basis for discussion of issues and strategies to contribute to best practice
  • Clinical skills involving direct client care are to be assessed initially in a simulated clinical setting (laboratory). If successful, a second assessment may be conducted during workplace application under direct supervision
  • Formal appraisal systems
  • Staff/client feedback
  • Portfolio/CV
  • Supporting statement of supervisor(s)
  • Authenticated evidence of relevant work experience and/or formal/informal learning

Access and equity considerations:

  • All workers in the health industry should be aware of access and equity issues in relation to their own area of work
  • All workers should develop their ability to work in a culturally diverse environment
  • In recognition of particular health issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, workers should be aware of cultural, historical and current issues impacting on health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • Assessors and trainers must take into account relevant access and equity issues, in particular relating to factors impacting on health of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander clients and communities

Related units:

  • However holistic assessment practice with other pathology units of competency is encouraged

Range Statement


The Range Statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Add any essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts.

Pathology specimen requests are made by:

  • Registered medical practitioner or specialist or nominated nursing staff eg nurse practitioner

Clients may include

  • Adults
  • Children and infants

Pre-test requirements include:

  • Client identification
  • Client details
  • Collection of clinical information
  • Appropriate procedures for paediatric clients may require specialised skills and knowledge

Pathology specimens other than blood may include:

  • Saliva
  • Sputum
  • Urine including via catheter
  • Semen
  • Stool
  • Swabs
  • Skin scraping
  • Breath
  • Aspirates

Protective clothing includes:

  • Gloves
  • Gowns
  • Masks
  • Goggles

Venues for collection may include:

  • Centres/clinics
  • Collection centre
  • Home visits
  • Hospitals
  • Other facilities including aged care and mental health facilities
  • General workplaces

Equipment includes:

  • Vacuum flasks
  • Syringes
  • Needles
  • Lancets
  • Steri-wipes
  • Band-Aids
  • Paediatric urine bags
  • Swabs
  • Scalpels
  • Sterile jars
  • Breath balloons
  • Scraping cards for skin and nail scrapings

Correct storage of specimens may include:

  • Kept on ice or dry ice
  • Kept warm
  • Actioned immediately
  • Protected from light
  • Use of fixatives
  • Procedures may be undertaken in an assisting role eg assisting a pathologist with a fine needle aspiration

Unit Sector(s)

Not Applicable