Collection of Routine Specimens - labsstudies

Collection of Routine Specimens

collection of routine specimens in a laboratory

Collection of Routine Specimens includes Urine collection, Stool collection, sputum collection, blood collection and pus collection. 

 In this article you will learn :

  • Definition of routine specimens
  •  Types of routine specimens
  • Methods  Collection of routine specimens
  • Method of collecting stool specimen
  • Methods of Collecting Blood Specimen
  •  Methods of Urine Collection 
  • Methods of Collecting Sputum

 Definition of Routine specimens

  •  Are specimens which performed regularly in the laboratory.


  • A specimens is a small sample or part taken to show the nature of the whole, such as a small quantity of urine for urinalysis, or a small fragment of tissue for microscopic study. 

 Types of Routine specimens includes;


  •  Is a waste material excreted from the intestines.


  •  Is a waste material/fluid excreted from the kidney.


  •  Blood is the fluid that circulates in the blood vessels of the body. Blood consists of plasma and cells floating within it.


  •  Is a substance that is brought up from the lungs and airway when a person coughs or spits. It is usually a mixture of saliva and mucus.


  •  Is a thick white or yellowish fluid that forms in areas of infection such as wounds and abscesses. It is constituted of decomposed body tissue, bacteria or other microorganisms that cause the infection, and certain white blood cells.

Methods Collection of Routine specimens

1. Methods of Collecting Stool Specimen

 Methods of Stool Specimen Collection Includes;

 Individual/Patient Collection

  •  Provide the patient with a wide-mouthed plastic container with a screw-cap lid.
  •  Tell the patient to collect at least a teaspoon full of stool. It is not necessary to fill the container.
  •  Ask the patient to keep the outside of the container clean and not contaminate the specimen with urine or antiseptic. Tell the patient to bring the specimen to the laboratory within one hour of collection.
  •  Label the container clearly with the patient’s name and laboratory identification number.
  •  If the specimen is to be examined for pinworm, the swab collection method should be used.

 Swab Method

  •  Use a swab moistened with physiological saline and swabs the anal area.

2. Methods of Collecting Blood Specimen

Sites for Collecting Venous and Capillary Blood

  •  Venous blood is collected in the following sites (veins).

 1. Median Cubital Vein. (NO.1)

  •  A superficial vein, most commonly used for venipuncture. It lies over the cubital fossa and serves as an anastomosis between the cephalic and basilic vein.

 2. Cephalic vein. (NO.2)

  •  Shown in both the forearm and arm, it can be followed where it empties into the axillary vein.

 3. Basilic Vein .(NO.3)

  •  Seen in the forearm and arm, it dives to join the brachial; best area for venipuncture is antecubital fossa area.

 The Diagram Below Shows the Location of Veins

Source: CDC (2009)

 Collection of capillary blood

  •  Capillary blood is collected from the side of the finger in adults and children. Avoid the tip of the finger as it is very sensitive. In infants, collect capillary from the side of the heel.

 Finger prick

 Caution on Heel pricking Technique

 Infant heels are appropriate for blood collection until approximately 6 months to one year.

  • Never exceed 2.4 mm in puncture depth
  • Never puncture the posterior curvature of the heel or the arch of the foot
  • Never use sites previously punctured, bruised, swollen or red in color
  • Never puncture the heel more than twice for any one collection

 Heel pricking Procedure

  •  Wipe away the first drop of blood
  •  Ease thumb pressure and apply intermittent pressure. Avoid milking and scraping
  •  Follow recommended order of draw
  •  When blood collection is complete, clean area, apply pressure.
  •  Never apply band-aid under the age of two
  •  Label specimens immediately after the draw; never before

The figure below shows a Procedure of Heel pricking

Collection of Routine Specimens

Source: CDC (2009)

Read also: Blood Collection

 3. Methods of Urine Collection 

Types of Urine collection are First, Midstream and Terminal urine.

 First urine

  •  A first morning urine sample is used for detection of urinary tract infection especially mycobacterium.

Procedure of collecting first urine

  • Provide the patient with a clean, dry container.
  • Instruct the patient to provide about 20 ml of urine voided immediately after
  • arising in the morning.
  • The patient should label the container with their name and date of collection

 Midstream urine

  • Is used for microscopy and culture to investigate bacterial infection of the urinary tract

 Procedure of collecting midstream urine

  • Provide the patient with a sterile container.
  • Instruct the patient to pass a small amount of urine into the toilet. This ensures that any organisms or cells in the urethra are flushed away.
  • Instruct the patient to provide about 20 ml of urine in the container.
  • Instruct the patient to pass the remaining urine in their bladder into the toilet.
  • The patient or the laboratory technician should label the container with the Patient name and date of collection.

 Terminal urine

  •  A terminal urine sample is used to demonstrate ova of Schistosoma haematobium.

 Procedure of collecting terminal urine

  • Provide the patient with a clean container and tell the patient to.
  • Void most of the urine into toilet
  • Collect last portion of urine to the container
  • Secure the lid of container immediately

Read also: Specimen Collection Container

4. Methods of Collecting Sputum

 Conditions for collecting sputum specimen

  •  Sputum specimen is collected from the patient when there is persistent coughing and sometimes the sputum is mixed with blood. Sputum samples are used in order to evaluate possible infections such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
  •  Morning specimen is ideal for collection and examination. However, multiple specimens collected over time may yield more accurate results (as multiple samples allow more opportunity to detect the organisms).

 Collection of sputum sample

  •  Ask the patient to go outside the building (open area) and take a deep breath and then cough deeply, spitting what he or she brings up into the container. Secure the top and label the container with the name and number of the patient.

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