The incumbent serves as a histopathology technologist with responsibility for technical oversight and are expected to carry out assigned tasks of considerable difficulty independently. They will have the responsibility of performing difficult histological, histochemical and immunohistochemical procedures, as well as developing, modifying, or adapting new staining methods or techniques, improving existing methods as necessary for routine histotechnology procedures. 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. Education. Individuals must meet one of the requirements below: (1) Successful completion of a full four-year course of study from an accredited college or university, leading to a bachelor's or higher degree, that included a major study in an academic field related to health sciences or allied sciences appropriate to the work of a histopathology technologist, such as, but not limited to clinical biology, microbiology, physiology, pre-medical, medical lab technology, chemistry, immunology, physiology, anatomy; OR, (2) Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college/university with a combination of 30 semester hours (45 quarter hours) of biology and chemistry (must include credit hours in both); OR, (3) Successful completion of two years of progressively higher level graduate education, leading to a master's degree or equivalent graduate degree, with a major study in an academic field related to health sciences or allied sciences appropriate to the position of histopathology technologist, such as clinical biology, microbiology, physiology, pre-medical, medical lab technology, chemistry, immunology, physiology, anatomy. c. Foreign Education. To be creditable, education completed outside the U.S. must have been submitted to a private organization approved by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) that specializes in the interpretation of foreign educational credentials, and such education must have been deemed at least equivalent to that gained in conventional U.S. programs. Certification. (1) Candidates must currently possess the histotechnologist (HTL) certification given by the ASCP Board of Certification. The ASCP requires completion of one of the following for a candidate to be considered "board eligible" to take the certification exam: (a) Successful completion of a histotechnician or histotechnology program accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science (NAACLS); OR, (b) One year of full time experience in all of the following: fixation, embedding, microtomy, processing, and staining in a histopathology (clinical, veterinary, industry, or research) laboratory. Exception for Non-Board Certified. Non-board-certified candidates designated by ASCP as "board eligible," who otherwise meet the eligibility requirements, may be given a temporary appointment under the authority of 38 U.S.C. § 7405(c)(2)(B). The appointing official may waive the requirement of certification for a period not to exceed two years for a histopathology technologist working under the direct oversight of a supervisor, lab manager, or qualified individual who can verify technical experience. This exception only applies at the entry level. For grade levels at or above the full performance level, the candidate must have HTL certification. Temporary appointments of non-board-certified histopathology technologists may not be converted to a new temporary appointment. Physical Requirements. See VA Directive and Handbook 5019. English Language Proficiency. Histopathology Technologists must be proficient in spoken and written English as required by 38 U.S.C. § 7403(f). May qualify based on being covered by the Grandfathering Provision as described in the VA Qualification Standard for this occupation (only applicable to current VHA employees who are in this occupation and meet the criteria). IN DESCRIBING YOUR EXPERIENCE, PLEASE BE CLEAR AND SPECIFIC. WE MAY NOT MAKE ASSUMPTIONS REGARDING YOUR EXPERIENCE. Grade Determinations: In addition to the basic requirements for employment listed above, the following experience criteria must be met when determining the grade of candidates. Histopathology Technologist, GS-9 Experience. Must have one year of creditable experience equivalent to the GS-7 grade level, which is directly related to the position to be filled. Assignment. At the full performance level, the histopathology technologist independently performs a full range of routine and specialized tests. Utilize information technology systems to apply histopathology techniques and broad scientific principles from the fields of biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology. The histopathology technologist acts as a technical resource, troubleshooting a variety of specialized lab tests, identifying suboptimal issues, and uses independent judgment and resources to resolve concerns. The histopathology technologist ensures goals are met by prioritizing work, as necessary, in times of short staffing, or heavy workload, and by performing simultaneous tasks. The histopathology technologist uses professional skills in applying anatomic pathology principles, practices, concepts, and theories to perform new or difficult specialized testing methods, such as immunohistochemical, histochemical, and frozen section techniques. Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities. In addition to the experience or education above, the candidate must demonstrate all of the following KSAs: (a) Knowledge of laboratory information technology systems and inter-connectivity. (b) Knowledge of histopathology techniques, chemistry, anatomy and physiology principles, theories, concepts, and methodologies sufficient to process specimens, and the ability to perform a full range of routine specialized tests. (c) Ability to identify and test suboptimal specimens and take corrective action to minimize or eliminate impact on a patient's sample. (d) Ability to organize, coordinate, and prioritize simultaneous work assignments; both individual and team related. (e) Skill in applying professional, anatomic pathology principles, practices, concepts, and theories in performing new or difficult specialized testing methods or techniques. References: VA Handbook 5005/118 PART II APPENDIX G65 The full performance level of this vacancy is GS-9. Physical Requirements: The work requires regular and recurrent standing, walking, bending, reaching, and moderate lifting to perform tasks and procedures. It also requires specific physical characteristics, abilities, and dexterity needed to perform intricate procedures. The employee may be required to spend long periods of time before a computer screen and using a keyboard. ["The duties and responsibilities of the histopathology technologist include, but are not limited to the following: 1. Receives all requests and specimens for testing into the laboratory. Verifies the accuracy and completeness of the request and proper sample submission. Properly identifies all specimens. Verifies discrepancies with the provider. Accessions all specimens into the hospital computer system. 2. Is responsible for embedding tissue of all sizes in the proper medium and in the proper manner for correct sectioning. Operates the microtome to achieve tissue sections of the thickness requested by the pathologist. Performs routine and special stains as requested by the pathologist. Correctly coverslips preparations so that there are no artifacts produced. Can ascertain the need for and perform fixation techniques that are non-routine such as EM preparations and bone decalcification. 3. Performs frozen section preparations. Frozen section preparation includes selection of pathogenic portions of the specimen; marking it for correct orientation and identification of the tumor margins, freezing the unfixed specimen; sectioning it with a cryostat microtome and staining and coverslipping. 4. Performs staining of tissue sections, including histochemical, immunohistochemical and other advanced staining techniques. These procedures are specialized and often complex, difficult and non-standardized. Many procedural steps are not covered by specific instructions. The choices of alternative ways of proceeding are determined through the Histopathology Technician's professional training and experience. Procedures must be adapted to individual variance in specimen and stain performance. 5. Assists the pathologist with surgical gross description and processing. Selection of the proper fixation technique is also critical, such as decalcification of bony specimens. 6. Assists the pathologist, radiologist, endocrinologist or other provider during specimen collection of fine needle aspirations and bone marrow. S/he prepares specialized touch preparations and aspirate smears in accordance with protocol. 7. Serves as an autopsy assistant. The incumbent assures all necessary documentation, including proper authorization, is present. S/he prepares the autopsy suite including selection of appropriate instruments, devices, containers, solution and other equipment. S/he is responsible for maintenance of an aseptic area, including instruments, equipment, clothing and proper asepsis for specimen handling. S/he carries out a full variety of technical autopsy procedures such as primary incisions, removal of breastbone, skull-cap, brain, and brain and other organs as directed. The incumbent weighs and places the organs in the appropriate solutions or containers. S/he closes the body, replacing organs and any necessary procedures for embalming. 8. Performs general program support work such as the collection, compilation, research, filing and/or tracking of data and program information/reports. 9. Adapts and develops new test and staining procedures. This development requires research into state-of-the-art methods and advancing technology. These new procedures are evaluated for proper performance of equipment and stains. 10. Assists in writing procedures for the department of all tests performed in accordance with Joint Commission, College of American Pathologists and other regulatory agencies. Reviews procedures as needed and gives suggestions for updates needed for the procedures. 11. Assists in the evaluation and implementation in the use of new methodologies and instrumentation in the Histology Section. Assists in writing and updating procedure manuals in the assigned sections (Histology). Keeps abreast of new technology. 12. Assists in the Quality Improvement and Quality Control programs in Histopathology. 13. Assists with ensuring that the department policies meet the requirements of regulatory and accrediting agencies such as CAP, JCAHO, and OSHA. Assists with ensuring that all regulatory survey requirements are completed. Performs audits as needed. 14. Responsible for specimen retrieval and quality improvement forms for 10% review of all surgical and pathology cases and 50% of all fine needle aspirates in accordance with VA Handbook 1106.1. 15. Assists in preparation, packaging and shipping of specimens to be submitted for quality assurance programs and for professional consultation. ALL OTHER ASSIGNED DUTIES. Work Schedule: Monday - Friday; Variable day shift possible weekends and holidays Financial Disclosure Report: Not required"]
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Providing Health Care for Veterans: The Veterans Health Administration is America’s largest integrated health care system, providing care at 1,255 health care facilities, including 170 medical centers and 1,074 outpatient sites of care of varying complexity (VHA outpatient clinics), serving 9 million enrolled Veterans each year.