My name is Dr. Jo Horne and I am a Consultant Healthcare Scientist working within a large Cellular Pathology department at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (UHS). UHS is a large UK teaching hospital in Southampton, which is a city on the central south coast of England. I work within Cellular Pathology, which is part of a large department with approximately 150 staff working in various general and specialist sections, as well as over four separate floors of the hospital. UHS is a regional referral centre and so we deal with the most complex patient samples within the south central region of England.
Dr. Jo Horne
For this blog, I will be describing my exciting first week in the Histology lab! For those of you who are not familiar with this department of the lab, it is where tissues are sent in order to identify diseases. The pathologist is responsible for reading tissue slides microscopically to diagnose disease. These slides are made by technologists, and there are several steps involved in the production of the final slide.
First, when tissue is received in the lab, it is accessioned and given a specimen number. It is then sent to be ‘grossed’, which means it is given a macroscopic description. Next, it is cut into small pieces that are put into cassettes. These cassettes contain either a single piece or several pieces of tissue that will be made into a slide. The cassettes are then processed in machines that make them easier to cut while maintaining the microscopic characteristics of tissues. Once they are processed, tissues are then embedded into paraffin blocks, cut into thin slices using a microtome, stained and sent to the pathologist to read.