General Overview

Also known as laboratory assistants, specimen accessioners perform specimen preparation duties. Their work involves receiving and unpacking specimens, preparing them for lab tests and ensuring that they are preserved properly before they are sent off. Specimen accessioners need to possess a background in handling laboratory work which is why they usually go through a rigorous training period. Although a high school diploma is sufficient to provide credence to this work, it is important for people working at this work to possess knowledge of waste management along with some administrative knowhow.

Specimen accessioners need to be extremely thorough as laboratory professionals’ work and test results depend on how specimens are prepared. Their work is somewhat administrative in nature as well as they need to document all the procedures that they perform on a single specimen. Since specimen accessioners are required to answer a multitude of questions put to them by laboratory technicians, it is important for them to understand in depth what a procedure is all about. Knowledge of terminology associated with medicine is also a prerequisite when applying for this position.

Specimen Accessioner Job Description

Some common duties that a specimen accessioner is expected to perform on a typical day at the lab are as follows:

• Receive laboratory samples and check them for accuracy

• Ensure that the labels on the specimens coincide with the information provided in the associated file

• Check specimens for contamination before preparing them for test

• Perform analysis on specimens such as blood, urine and stool

• Put specimens through various stages of analysis in order to acquire accurate information

• Handle procedures such as centrifuge, serum separation and blood smears

• Prepare excess samples for storage or retesting

• Ensure that all analysis and preparation stages are documented properly

• Label prepared specimens in accordance to the information provided in the initial file and ensure that specimen bottles are stored  with associated information files

• Manage data entry tasks associated with punching in patient specimen information in the lab database

• Ensure that each process of analysis and preparation is documented in accordance to the lab’s documentation guidelines

• Handle hazardous waste management activities in accordance to preset policies and protocols

• Ensure proper storage of specimens in the storage area

• Document and report any issues that may have arisen during the preparation process

• Handle container management in a time-efficient manner