Maintain and record tissue sample collection

This unit describes the knowledge and skills required to select, categorise, prepare, mount and display pathological specimens for a pathology museum


Work performed requires demonstration of basic knowledge of anatomy and pathology and the ability to apply solutions to a variety of predictable problems

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

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


Not Applicable

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Select suitable specimen

1.1 Gather information from medical personnel about suitable specimens

1.2 Complete documentation prior to retaining specimens for display in accordance with organisation policy and procedures

1.3 Store specimen in appropriate solutions

1.4 Clearly label specimens in accordance with organisation policy and procedures

2. Categorise specimen/s

2.1 Allocate a unique code to each specimen

2.2 Categorise specimens into appropriate groups

2.3 Ensure specimen can be tracked to the deceased person

2.4 Maintain inventory of all specimens

3. Prepare specimens for mounting

3.1 Select and prepare equipment and materials

3.2 Correctly use personal protective equipment

3.3 Fix specimen in appropriate solutions for the appropriate time

3.4 Disposed of waste in accordance with organisation policy and procedures

4. Mount specimen/s

4.1 Select and prepare equipment and materials

4.2 Correctly use personal protective equipment

4.3 Mount specimen to best display the object of interest and in the best anatomical position

5. Display specimen in museum

5.1 Select and prepare equipment and materials

5.2 Display specimen in a secure location

5.3 Place accurate labels and descriptions so they are clearly associated with the specimen

Required Skills

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:

Basic anatomy and physiology

Cleaning and waste disposal techniques

Legal requirements affecting the mortuary worker

Relevant basic medical terminology

Relevant basic pathology

Relevant organisation policies and procedures

Safe working procedures during autopsies

Work health and safety in a mortuary

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 problem solving skills, including an ability to use available resources

Correctly complete documentation

Correctly dissect, prepare, label and store specimens

Correctly preserve, maintain and display specimens


correct anatomical display of specimens

correct and safe disposal of clinical and other wastes

correct and safe use of equipment

correct dissection techniques

correct use of personal protective equipment

effective communication with medical officer performing autopsy

relevant and accurate labelling of specimens

safe working procedures during autopsies

Follow infection control policy and procedures

Follow Medical Officer's instructions

Follow waste management practices

Preserve specimens

Take into account opportunities to address waste minimisation, environmental responsibility and sustainable practice issues

Use numeracy skills including the ability to complete basic arithmetic calculations, and undertake measurements of volumes and weight, record stock levels and statistical information

Use oral communication skills 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

using effective verbal and non verbal communication skills with a range of internal and external persons

Use reading and writing skills required to fulfil job role in a safe manner and as specified by the organisation at a level of skill that includes reading workplace policy and procedure manuals and documenting administrative and clinical information

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

Evidence Required

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

This unit will be most appropriately assessed in the workplace under the normal range of workplace conditions

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

Observation of work activities

Observation of simulation and/or role play

Written tasks

Relevant formal and informal education/training courses

Case studies and scenarios


Role plays

Resource implications:

Access to a specimen preparation room where assessment can take place

Museum preparation equipment

Relevant organisation policy, guidelines, procedures and protocols

Relevant legislative requirements

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:

This unit can be assessed independently, however holistic assessment practice with other mortuary 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.

Specimen may include:

Gross human tissue and organs

Microscopic slides of tissue

Exhibits eg. Ligatures, motorcycle helmets


Personal and non-personal items

Information may relate to:

Medical history of the deceased

Pathology of specimen

Anatomy of specimen

Documentation may relate to:

Legal documents (eg. Permission to retain tissue)

Organisation documents (eg. Authorisation from next of Kin/ Coroner/ Pathologists)

Medical personnel may relate to:


Authorised medical practitioner performing autopsy examination

Organisation policy and procedures may relate to:

Work health and safety

Waste handling and disposal


Equipment and materials may include

Cutting, sawing, hand and electrical tools


Saw bench



Labelling materials


Fixing solutions

Storage solutions

Hazardous and other chemicals

Personal protective equipment may include



Protective eye wear

Face masks




Mountings may include:

Dry (i.e. on paper)

Wet (i.e. in perspex container)

Solid (i.e in solid block of methacrylate)

Waste may relate to:

Biological waste

Chemical waste


Not Applicable

Employability Skills

This unit contains Employability Skills

Licensing Information

Not Applicable