Handling of Routine Specimens - labsstudies

Handling of Routine Specimens

handling of Routine Specimen

Routine Specimens are the specimens perform regularly in the Laboratory. Example of this routine specimens are urine, sputum, blood and pus. While in the Laboratory handling of routine specimens is the way we manage them during collection, transportation and further for Examination.

 In this article you will learn :

  • Definition of  protective gears
  • Types of protective gears
  • Importance of protective gears
  •  Handling of routine specimens (Stool, Urine, Blood, Sputum and Pus)
  •  Significance of proper handling of routine specimen
  • Demonstrate wearing and putting of protective gears(Gloves)

 Definition of Protective gears

  • Protective gears are the material worn to protect an individual from infection, and are specialized clothing or equipment worn by health service provider for protection against health and safety hazards.

Protective gears are designed to protect many parts of the body

such as:

  • Hands
  • Eyes
  • Feet
  • Nose and mouth

 Examples of potential eye, mouth and nose contamination

  • Splashes and aerosols from contaminated materials
  • Harmful rays from the use of lasers or other radiant light (as well as heat, glare, sparks, splash and flying particles).

Types of Protective Gears

  Protective gears includes:


  •  Are worn on the hands and protects hands contamination

 Laboratory Coat

  •  Protects health providers clothes from being contaminated)


  •  Protects nose and mouth from fumes, and aerosols 


  •  Protects feet contaminations

 Eye Glasses

  •  Protects eyes contaminations

Importance of Protective Gears

  • Protects health provider from contamination
  • Presents transferring of infections from work place to another area
  • It can also reduce the overall costs of health care by preventing injury and illness in the workplace

Handling of Routine Specimens

  •  Once a specimen is collected properly, it must be handled correctly otherwise results may be compromised.

 Stool Specimen

  • Never leave stool specimen exposed to the air in container without lid
  • Never accept stool specimen mixed with urine (e.g. in a bed pan
  • Never examine stool specimen without first putting on gloves
  • Always examine stool specimen within 1-4 hours after collection. If several specimens are received at the same time ,examine the liquid stools and those containing mucous or blood first, as they contain motile amoebae(which dies quickly)

 Urine Specimen

  •  A urine specimen for routine urinalysis requires 15 ml of urine.
  •  Container for Collection of urine should be wide mouthed clean, and dry with a screw-capped lid.
  •  If urine has been collected for presence of Schistosoma haematobium ova but it may not be examined for several hours should be acidified with a few drops of 10% acetic acid.

 Sputum Specimen

  •  Sputum sample is collected in a plastic, wide mouthed, leak proof container with lid, or waxed carton.
  •  Do not collect sputum in glass bottles (except when sending for culture of  Mycobacterium tuberculosis) as glass bottles are difficult to treat.
  •  Avoid contaminating the outside of the container with sputum
  • If the outside is contaminated discard the container and repeat with fresh container.

 Blood of Specimen

  •  Use appropriate collection containers for specific testing needs.
  •  Store specimens upright, in racks at the appropriate temperature.
  •  Note the time of taking the specimens to ensure processing in the correct timeframe.
  • Results of laboratory investigations are only as good as the sample received by the laboratory.

 Pus specimen

  •   Pus is collected in order to examine micro organisms causing infection.
  •  Must be collected by using sterile swab.
  •  Do not make a smear for transporting when the specimen is from a patient with suspect of anthrax or bubonic plague.
Significance of Proper Handling of Routine Specimen (10minutes)
  •  Reduces contamination.
  •  Helps tracking down the specimens and results.
  •  Helps to get quality results.
  •  Avoids mixing specimen and request form.
  •  Avoid leakages.
Demonstration of Wearing and putting off the Protective Gears (gloves)
  • Wash hands with soap
  • Dry with a drier or disposable absorbent paper
  • Arrange properly piece of gloves relating with hand
  • Put on the gloves.

 Putting off the Gloves

  • Use left hand to collect all contaminated material (non sharp).
  • Using right hand remove the glove from left hand.
  • Again use left hand to remove right hand glove.
  • Tie up and dispose in the green bin.
  • Wash hands with soap or antiseptic and dry.

the picture below show how to safely remove gloves.

how to remove gloves



F.J. Baker, R.E. Silverton (2001): Introduction to Medical Laboratory Technology, 7thEdition, Oxford University Press;
• Carter J, Lema O (1994) Practical laboratory manual for health centres in eastern Africa.AMREF
• Monica Cheesbrough (1981): Medical Laboratory Manual for Tropical Countries VolumeI, 2nd Edition Butterworth & Co. (Publishers) Ltd; and
• Monica Cheesbrough (2002)|: District Laboratory Practice in Tropical Countries Part 1 & 2, Cambridge University Press.

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