Biology 333 – Clinical Laboratory Techniques

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Biology 333 – Clinical Laboratory Techniques.

Course Description. Biology 333 – Clinical Laboratory Techniques.

Introduction to basic and specialized clinical laboratory techniques. Techniques include making and formulating chemical solutions and compounds: Phlebotomy, processing of clinical specimens, collection of clinical specimens, safety and handling of clinical laboratory specimens including proper disposal, material data safety sheets, aseptic techniques and culturing of organisms, spectrophotometry. This course also would include off site visits to observe clinical laboratories in a hospital/ clinical lab setting.

Dr. Judith A. Loewen

Office: 244 Pasteur Hall

457-2993 Office in Pasteur


452-8782 Home



Instructor’s Expectations: This is a preparatory class for professional graduation. My expectations are that you as a student will be adequately prepared for the lecture and lab. QUESTIONS ARE ENCOURAGED. This is a beginning exposure for laboratory techniques. You will have the opportunity to see how these procedures will be applied in future clinical CLS courses such as hematology, urinalysis, microbiology, blood banking, chemistry. This class is not intended to accomplish procedural competency, merely an exposure. You will be expanding upon your laboratory techniques in other course work.

Attendance Policy: Attendance at lectures and lab is expected. The final exam will be taken at the time scheduled by the University. This class is scheduled to meet twice a week. You may however, be asked to check on incubations, solutions, work in progress, or lab tours at other times outside of these scheduled meeting times. Please be flexible and note that we will try and accommodate your other outside needs.

Grading System: The final grade will reflect an assessment of performance and accomplishment in the lab and lecture as follows:

Laboratory skills and performance: Basic level of exposure and introduction. Follows all safety procedures. Organizes their time and works towards independent scheduling = multi-tasking. Can follow directions with minimal supervision. Attendance for skill exposure. Beginning to develop leadership skills within some group work and projects. Interest in the profession and a beginning basis for how a laboratory functions. Instructor interaction is important. ASK QUESTIONS!


You will be asked to wear appropriate professional attire when in the laboratory setting. Open toes shoes or sandals are not appropriate. Hair should be pulled back or off the face. You will be asked to purchase a white lab coat. This can be short or long, a suggestion would be to have more than one at your disposal, that way one can be laundered and one can be in use. It is not an endorsement but here is a rather inexpensive link that you may order from, or any hospital uniform shop can also provide you with the white lab attire. You will need to have a white lab coat or attire for the other clinical courses such as hematology, etc. so look to getting those now and you can just continue their use with the other lab classes.

You will need to wear professional attire during outside laboratory tours and visits.

Areas of Measure and Techniques Covered in this course.

Syllabus and Lab Performance.

This course will proceed through the techniques in the following order. We will begin with lab safety and a scavenger hunt for specific items. Students will be assigned teams, and they will work within that team to find not only the “required items” for a successful hunt, but also the reasoning behind the items, what each one represents within the laboratory procedural methods, and begin to lay the groundwork for where items can be found within our CLS lab space and the general biology lab spaces. Students as a team will have to present their items to the course instructor including a description or validation for the items they found and why they are necessary for routine lab work.

Concurrently as that is beginning we will proceed into phlebotomy which will continue throughout the course demonstrating each procedure, provide the beginning exposure to phlebotomy techniques, and problem solving action when needed. To this end, each student will have the opportunity to be observed performing successful drawing techniques, patient interaction, working within a team effort on many occasions. It does not require a proficiency in phlebotomy, but should establish the beginning methods and exposure that will continue in future clinical courses.

The course will then begin slides, making them, evaluating them for acceptable standards, staining them with evaluation for correct staining features, and performance and observation of the slides and the results based upon the slide itself – differentials for hematology, gram stains for microbiology as some examples. Again, it does not require a proficiency, but should establish the beginning methods and exposure that will continue in future clinical courses.

The next step will be to look at manual methods- pipettes, dilutions, solution preparation, calibrations and concurrently why it is necessary to work and perform these tasks. Students will have the opportunity to make actual solutions, recipes, lab reagents that can be placed into use within the biology department and labs. This will include some math problems and short quizzes to demonstrate an understanding of solutions, dilutions, molarity, pH, etc.

Concurrently we will be adding into the classes exposure to current instrumentation within the practicing clinical laboratory. Hematology, coagulation, chemistry, staining, microbiology, centrifugation, spectrophotometry, and microscopy. It does not require a proficiency in, but should establish the beginning methods and exposure that will continue in future clinical courses.

Finally, if at all possible the student will have the opportunity to actually visit a clinical laboratory with a functioning laboratory. This should allow for question and answer situations, job atmosphere exposure, practical “real world” observations that all of the techniques and methods are utilized by working CLS employees. There will be a final written comprehensive examination for this class. The student’s grade will be determined based upon their final written examination and their demonstrated/observed lab performance throughout the semester.

It is CRITICAL that the student attends class sessions. Many of the skills need to be observed as the student is actually performing those skills. Your grade will be based upon class participation and success within the performance. That cannot be measured if you are not present. Included may be small quizzes- tests to evaluate reading assignments or discussion and observation = how are you building your foundation for learning and how does that translate into demonstrative skills and/or resources. As each student proceeds throughout the course they will be evaluated and each skill can be examined for satisfactory performance, areas or ways to improve and suggestions for change.


  1. OSHA

  2. Material Safety Data Sheets

  3. Autoclave, Biohazard, Universal precautions

  4. Laboratory Design

  5. Fire Control and Prevention


  1. Specimen requirements and processing.

  2. Vacutainer, single sample and multi-sample collection

  3. Butterfly Draws

  4. Syringe Draws

  5. Additional processing

Slide Making

  1. Hematology slides

  2. Microbiology slides

  3. Staining techniques

  4. Histology review


A. Differences and types of pipettes

B. Proper pipette usage, dexterity

Metric Conversions and Basic Mathematical Ratios.

A. Percentages, Standard Deviations

B. Weights and Measures

a. Dry – Scales, Weight boats,

b. Liquid- solutions

C. Centrifuge and calibrations

Chemical Solutions

A. Molarity

B. Normality

C. pH

a. Hendersen-Hasselbach

b. Acidic compounds

c. Basic compounds

d. Safety- carriers, additions

D. Solutions, Percentage


  1. Instrumentation

  2. Hemoglobin

  3. Turbidity – Standards

  4. Graphs

Laboratory Variables

  1. Temperature

  2. Time

  3. Graphing

  4. Humidity

Quality Control

A. Standards

1. In House controls and Standards

2. Commercially purchased controls and Standards.

3. Standard Deviations, graphing and recording

4. Surveys, CAP

5. Governmental Regulations and standards.

6. Costs

B. Performance of QC

C. QC versus QA, Acceptable errors.

D. Specificity versus Sensitivity, Setting thresholds.

Aseptic Techniques

  1. Culture and transfer

  2. Culture and processing

  3. Contact and surface

  4. Disinfectants and cleaning compounds-solutions

Site Visits and Observation

  1. Hospital Clinical laboratory visit and observation

  2. Office/ clinic clinical laboratory visit and observation

  3. Review of Instrumentation

  4. Review of laboratory layout and design.

3. Basic Instructional plan and methods utilized.

This course will be a hands on clinical laboratory techniques course that will include lecture/instruction time prior to each laboratory session. The students will physically have to participate and perform each step in the clinical procedures outline within each unit and topic. The assumption upon completion of this course is that the student will be aware of the basis for the performance of these basic physical procedural skills. It becomes a laboratory technique prerequisite for the following clinical courses that will be taught, such as hematology, blood banking, urinalysis, microbiology, clinical physiology. The students will not be proficient within these areas of laboratory performance, but they will have had an introduction. The extended goal will be to expand upon these skills in the continued clinical courses and eventually to improve those skills through the students’ clinical experience.

4. Course requirements (papers, lab work, projects, etc.) and means of evaluation.

Students will be required to follow all current clinical laboratory safety regulations.

Students will actually make up solutions to the correct percentages, molarity, pH, composition. Students will actually make clinical slides and stain them to acceptable standards. Students will learn and perform phlebotomy procedures for drawing blood including vacutainer, syringe and butterfly techniques, with an understanding of basic anatomy. Students will perform spectrophotometric hemoglobin tests, and turbidity controls. They must demonstrate aseptic culturing techniques and plate streaking techniques.

This will be a means of measuring physical aptitude for performing laboratory procedures, they will have to be physically able to perform the procedures with a dexterity that is acceptable for safe performance within the clinical lab setting.

Evaluations will include written testing, and laboratory performance. Participation in class and demonstration of problem solving and time management will also be evaluated.


You will need these books for BIOL 333 Techniques in Clinical Laboratory Science. These specific books were chosen for you to keep and retain as they will be used for your future clinical courses, and can provide excellent reference resources for your final professional certification examination.

Blood Collection, A Short Course, Edition 2, by Marjorie Dr Lorenzo and Susan Strasinger

            F.A.Davis Company, ISBN # 10:08036-1699-6

Mathematics for the Clinical Laboratory, by Lorraine J. Doucette

            Saunders Publishing, ISBN # 0-7216-4458-9

            Linne & Ringsrud's Clinical Laboratory Science: The Basics and Routine Techniques (Paperback) by Mary Louise Turgeon EdD MT (ASCP) CLS (NCA) Elsivier and Mosby, ISBN # 978-0-323-03412-8.


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