The Histopathology Technician serves as the point of contact, technical expert and advisor to laboratory and professional medical staff in the specialty of surgical pathology and cytology. Independently performs both routine and complex histological procedures. 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. Experience and Education (1) 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, (2) 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. OR, (3) Experience/Education Combination. Equivalent combination of experience and education are qualifying for entry level for which both education and experience are acceptable. Examples are listed below: (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. Certification. None Physical Requirements. See VA Directive and Handbook 5019. English Language Proficiency. Histopathology Technicians must be proficient in spoken and written English. Grade Determinations: GS-7 Experience One year of experience equivalent to the next lower grade level. 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. 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. References: VA HANDBOOK 5005/102, PART II, APPENDIX G55. Histopathology Technician, GS-0646, Veterans Health Administration, April 6, 2018. The full performance level of this vacancy is GS-07. The actual grade at which an applicant may be selected for this vacancy is GS-07. Physical Requirements: This work requires physical exertion that consists of mainly long periods of standing and some bending and lifting as required for the handling of supplies and equipment. In addition, manual skills are required to be able to perform delicate procedures. Qualified candidates will be referred in the order received in USA Staffing. Cutoff dates to refer qualified candidates are as follows or as needed: November 22, 2022 December 6, 2022 December 20, 2022 January 3, 2023 January 17, 2023 January 31, 2023 ["PROCESSING SURGICAL, CYTOLOGY AND AUTOPSY SPECIMENS 1. Receives all requests and specimens for testing into the pathology laboratory. Verifies the accuracy and completeness of the request and proper sample collection, labeling and transport requirements. Makes sure two unique patient identifiers are on each sample. Evaluates, accepts or rejects specimens, using proficiency in recognizing tissue from any part of the body and identifies discrepancies which may cause erroneous results or require special handling. Makes sound decisions independently and takes appropriate action to correct and solve problems. Interacts with supervisor and hospital personnel to correct discrepancies. 2. Records patient and specimen data into the computer system using two unique patient identifiers. Prepares specimens for tissue examination and performs dissection and gross examination of biopsies and simple anatomical specimens. 3. Using principles of histotechnology, processes surgical, cytology and autopsy tissue specimens which are often delicate and difficult to handle through the required, complex steps of fixation, dehydration, clearing, infiltration, embedding, microtomy, staining and cover slipping. Recognizes improperly processed tissue and is able to take corrective action. 4. Sections paraffin blocks of tissue and mounts paraffin sections on slides. Sections are cut at proper thickness (2-5 microns) according to tissue type or as required for special staining procedures. Sections contain a minimal, unavoidable number of artifacts. 5. Stains routine slides using computerized strainers with hematoxylin and eosin for studying nuclear and cytoplasmic details of tissues. Checks for proper differentiation, dehydration and clearing. Control tissue is evaluated and results documented. Problems are corrected. 6. Prepares cytological specimens for examination using the following principles: homogenization, filtration and biochemical processing. Assists in the collection of fine needle aspiration biopsies for immediate diagnosis from the clinics, patient's bedside, and Special Procedure room in Imaging Services. Responsible for knowing appropriate fixation techniques for any special studies that may be appropriate. 7. Cover slips slides choosing the right kind of mounting medium depending on the kind of stain. The labeled slides are checked for accuracy and legibility and distributed to the pathologist for examination and diagnosis. Both the slides and paraffin blocks are stored as per regulatory guidelines. 8. Operates equipment such as microscopes, centrifuges, cassette labeler, thin-prep cytology processor, microtomes, tissue processor, cryostat, embedding center and stainers. Calibrates, performs preventive maintenance and records required function checks. Reports needed repairs to biomedical engineer. 9. Maintenance and inventory for all stains, supplies and reagents used in histopathology and order laboratory supplies. Maintenance of work records including temperature records, preventive maintenance records etc. as assigned by the supervisor. 10. Maintains a safe, clean and professional work area and is responsible for safe work practices of the Anatomic Pathology Laboratory to assure that they comply with accreditation and regulatory requirements. 11. Assists in training personnel, newer staff and students in laboratory safety and laboratory policies and procedures. Participates in the Quality and Performance Improvement plan for Anatomic Pathology. 12. Monitors specimens, reagents, equipment and the environment for contamination and assists in decontamination and safe handling and disposal of chemicals. Prepares and ships specimens required for consultation or to reference laboratories. 13. Complies with all regulatory agencies such as CAP, JCAHO, OSHA and VA guidelines. 14. May be assigned other duties by the supervisor or the service chief. FROZEN SECTION COVERAGE 1. Performs procedures in the frozen section laboratory. Orients, cuts and stains any specimens submitted for intra operative consultations, including minute biopsies for rapid diagnosis by the pathologist with no margin for error. 2. Prepares quality frozen sections per accrediting agency guidelines to provide rapid diagnosis in surgical cases (intra operative consultations). MAINTAINS REPORTS, RECORDS AND MATERIALS 1. Performs established quality control and quality assurance procedure to check the accuracy and validity of work. 2. Daily records temperature charts of refrigerators, water baths, rooms, and equipment. 3. Works closely with Biomedical engineering with preventative maintenance and repairs of all equipment in the laboratory. Work Schedule: Monday to Friday, 8:00 am - 4:30 pm Telework: Not Available Virtual: This is not a virtual position. Functional Statement #: 000000 Relocation/Recruitment Incentives: Not Authorized Permanent Change of Station (PCS): Not Authorized Financial Disclosure Report: Not required"]
Providing Health Care for Veterans: The Veterans Health Administration is America’s largest integrated health care system, providing care at 1,255 health care facilities, including 170 medical centers and 1,074 outpatient sites of care of varying complexity (VHA outpatient clinics), serving 9 million enrolled Veterans each year.