Cytopathology rotation – online resources for STP Reproductive Science trainees

Last Updated: 28th July 2021

These useful resources are for rotational training in year 1 of the STP Reproductive Science (Embryology or Andrology).

Module details

Module title: SLS301 Principles and Practice of Cervical Cytology and Diagnostic Cytopathology

Aim: This module will provide trainees with the knowledge and understanding of Cervical Cytology and an overview of the role and limitations of Diagnostic Cytopathology.

Scope: Trainees will be able to recognise normal cells in cervical cytology preparations. They will gain knowledge of the cervical screening programme, the role of fine needle aspiration cytology and non-gynaecological cytology preparation techniques.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module the trainee will:

  • receive, prepare and process specimens for cytopathological investigation
  • select appropriate methods for preparation, fixation and staining
  • use microscopic examination techniques on a selection of cytopathology samples
  • recognise the appearance of normal and abnormal cellular patterns in Cervical Cytology

Resources for self-directed learning

Suggestions for self-directed learning

Module title Competence title Knowledge and skills Suggestions
SLS301

Principles and Practice of Cervical Cytology and Diagnostic Cytopathology

Competency 1

Receive, label and store a wide range of cytopathology specimens. Curriculum Library competency details Describe how to receive, prepare and process samples.

Understand reasons for sample rejection and the methods of sampling and processing for different tissue / cell types.

Examples from Reproductive Science: Semen samples for treatment, storage or donation.

Viral screening status of individuals providing semen samples.

Visit a cytology laboratory e.g. NHS department, private provider (The Doctor’s Laboratory).

Compare and contrast the requirements in the different specialties.

SLS301

Principles and Practice of Cervical Cytology and Diagnostic Cytopathology

Competency 2

Prepare, select and use appropriate fixative and staining solutions to a variety of tissue samples, to include:

  • Papanicolaou and May- Grünwald-Giemsa staining technique
Curriculum Library competency details Describe methodology for gynaecological and non-gynaecological cytology.

Describe how samples are processed.

Process testicular tissue after a surgical sperm retrieval and list cell types observed.

Stain sperm samples using cytology methods.

SLS301

Principles and Practice of Cervical Cytology and Diagnostic Cytopathology

Competency 3

Set up and use light microscopy at various magnifications levels to investigate a range of cytopathology specimens. Curriculum Library competency details Self-directed learning on microscope types and optical principles.

Demonstrate understanding in own laboratory.

Understand the types of microscopes used to examine cytology samples.

Self-directed learning; understand differences and similarities with RS.

SLS301

Principles and Practice of Cervical Cytology and Diagnostic Cytopathology

Competency 4

Select the appropriate enzyme cytochemical techniques required to demonstrate a specific disease process using appropriate control material. Curriculum Library competency details Self-directed learning; make a list of some diseases that can be investigated using enzyme cytochemical techniques.

Make a list of some diseases that can be investigated using immunocytochemical techniques.

SLS301

Principles and Practice of Cervical Cytology and Diagnostic Cytopathology

Competency 5

Select the appropriate immunocytochemical techniques and antibodies to demonstrate a specific disease process using appropriate control material. Curriculum Library competency details Find and read a SOP for cytological technique and relate this SOP to the specified knowledge for these two competencies.

Describe the application of these techniques to semen assessment, for instance testing for antisperm antibodies, staining round cells in semen.

Ask advice from cytology and andrology for advice on relevant test – sperm testing e.g. DNA fragmentation, antisperm, antibodies.

SLS301

Principles and Practice of Cervical Cytology and Diagnostic Cytopathology

Competency 6

Based on representative cervical cytology specimens, identify normal cellular appearance under the microscope and be able to recognise commonly occurring pathological features. Curriculum Library competency details Self-directed learning.

Online resources – use photos / illustrations to demonstrate knowledge of different cell types.

Full day practical completed at MMU.

SLS301

Principles and Practice of Cervical Cytology and Diagnostic Cytopathology

Competency 7

Produce a basic interpretative report on cytopathology investigations. Curriculum Library competency details Self-directed learning.

Online resources- describe the referral pathways for patients with an abnormal smear test result and the relevance for pregnancy and IVF treatment.

Full day practical completed at MMU.

SLS301

Principles and Practice of Cervical Cytology and Diagnostic Cytopathology

Competency 8

Control infection risks in accordance with departmental protocols. Curriculum Library competency details Self-directed learning; understand differences and similarities with RS.
SLS301

Principles and Practice of Cervical Cytology and Diagnostic Cytopathology

Competency 9

Minimise risks and hazards in compliance with health and safety policies. Curriculum Library competency details Self-directed learning; understand differences and similarities with RS.