As crucial members of the Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Service, histopathology technicians possess the knowledge and skills to process anatomical tissue and cytological cell samples obtained from the Veteran by a clinician. The work performed by histopathology technicians is vital for pathologists to interpret laboratory results and provide diagnoses that allow clinicians to plan appropriate and life-saving treatments for Veterans. 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 Grandfathering Provision. All Histopathology Technicians employed in VHA in this occupation on the effective date of this qualification standard are considered to have met all qualification requirements for the title, series, and grade held. For employees who do not meet all the basic requirements required in this standard, but who met the qualifications applicable to the position at the time they were appointed to it, the following provisions apply: (1) Such employees in an occupation that does not require a licensure/certification/registration, may be reassigned, promoted, or demoted within the occupation. (2) Employees who are appointed on a temporary basis prior to the effective date of the qualification standard may not have their temporary appointment extended or be reappointed, on a temporary or permanent basis, until they fully meet the basic requirements of the standard. (3) If an employee who was retained (grandfathered) under this provision leaves that occupation, the employee loses protected status and must meet the full VA qualification standard requirements in effect at the time of reentry to the occupation. Physical Requirements. See VA Directive and Handbook 5019. English Language Proficiency. Histopathology Technicians must be proficient in spoken and written English. Grade Determinations: GS-5 Experience or Education None beyond the basic requirements. Assignment This is an entry level histopathology technician position. It is expected that histopathology technicians receive guidance from more experienced staff members and require frequent and direct supervision. Assignments associated with this position include, but are not limited to, retrieving and accessioning surgical, cytology, and autopsy specimens; enter and track workload data and disposition of pathology materials and documents electronically; perform pre and post-analytical duties; and may assist in preparation of autopsy protocols as assigned. The incumbent must maintain the integrity of patient identification throughout all processes. GS-6 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) Knowledge of professional anatomic pathology principles, practices, concepts, and theories providing for sound independent work. (b) Knowledge of laboratory quality control and assurance procedures, principles of performance improvement, reagent management, inventory supply systems, and document control systems. (c) Knowledge of anatomic pathology laboratory equipment and ability to operate, maintain, and troubleshoot instrumentation. (d) Ability to plan, organize, set priorities, work as a team member, and effectively complete assignments. (e) Ability to use independent technical judgment to analyze and evaluate laboratory results. Assignment At the full performance level, the histopathology technician uses independent judgment to perform the full range of duties including analyzing and evaluating laboratory results. The histopathology technician carries out the day-to-day operations in the laboratory with minimal technical supervision. This includes routine and complex histopathological and cytopathological procedures, quality control and assurance procedures, operation and routine maintenance of instrumentation, troubleshooting, and principles of performance improvement. The incumbent utilizes specialized techniques for handling cell blocks, frozen sections, bone marrows, autopsies, and fine-needle biopsies. The technician prepares technically adequate slides of surgical, cytology, and autopsy specimens by processing, embedding tissue, cutting, staining (including immunohistochemistry), and coverslipping. Preferred Experience: Knowledge of human anatomy, medical terminology, clinical/anatomical laboratory functions; computer skills (typing, Microsoft Office Suite); science background and education. 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-6. The actual grade at which an applicant may be selected for this vacancy is from GS-5 to GS-6. Physical Requirements: Intermittent moderate lifting (15-44 pounds); light carrying (under 15 pounds); use of fingers; both hands required; walking (up to 4 hours); standing (up to 4 hours); repeated bending (up to 2 hours); intermittent, but possible prolonged stooping and kneeling; ability to distinguish basic colors; near vision correctable at 13" to 16"; ability to read and comprehend ordinary type and computer screens; ability to hear (aid permitted) and work in an environment with constant noise; working closely with others; high cognitive function required to work in a fast paced environment with competing priorities without loss of accuracy; emotional stability required to maintain self-control in difficult and stressful situations; ability to wear required to personal protective equipment as required. ["Major duties and responsibilities include but are not limited to the following: Manages anatomical pathology tissue storage and disposal and the maintenance of block and slide storage. Assists in the training of entry level position histopathology technicians. Assists in the establishment and writing of new policies and procedures including standard operating procedures (SOP). Assists in the maintenance of current quality control (QC) and quality assurance (QA) programs as well as the implementation of new QC/QA standards. Prepares technically adequate slides of surgical, cytology, and autopsy specimens by processing, embedding tissue, cutting, staining (including immunohistochemistry), and coverslipping. With general supervision, observed throughout the day, applies knowledge of complex chemical reactions in both manual and automated staining protocols to complete special and immunohistochemical staining of tissue sections. Assists in the collection of, and processes bone marrows, autopsy and cytology specimens. Applies specialized techniques in slide preparation and staining as well as specimen handling and preservation during sample collection. Evaluates and solves problems related to the collection and processing pathology specimens. Assists pathologists with frozen section procedures. Adheres to all laboratory practices and policies. Meets continuing education requirements. Maintains current knowledge of local, state, federal and local/national VA standards including but not limited to Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA), OSHA, CAP and Joint Commission and applies this knowledge within the workspace. Completes required job competencies, mandatory education and staff training. Manages anatomical pathology tissue storage and disposal. Maintains block and slide storage. Ensures cleanliness of work areas to include grossing and frozen section areas. Monitors and maintains consumable supply levels at immediate workstations. Manages supply orders in a fiscally responsible manner to reduce financial strain. Maintains laboratory equipment utilized in the processing of histology and cytology specimens including frozen section and grossing equipment documenting proper functioning as required. Prepares and ships specimens for outside testing and/or consultation. Incumbent may be assigned other duties within the incumbent's skill set and knowledge to meet the needs of the service. Work Schedule: Various tours of duty to include swings, evenings, weekends, and holidays. Telework: Not Available Virtual: This is not a virtual position. Functional Statement #: 593-00824-F, GS-6. 593-00823-F, GS-5. Relocation/Recruitment Incentives: Not Authorized Permanent Change of Station (PCS): Not Authorized Financial Disclosure Report: Not required Qualified candidates will be referred in the order received in USA Staffing. Cutoff dates to refer qualified candidates are as follows or as needed: May 25, 2023 June 8, 2023 June 22, 2023 July 6, 2023 July 20, 2023 August 3, 2023"]
The Veterans Health Administration is America’s largest integrated health care system, providing care at 1,298 health care facilities, including 171 medical centers and 1,113 outpatient sites of care of varying complexity (VHA outpatient clinics), serving 9 million enrolled Veterans each year.