Guide for Specimen Collection, Preparation & Handling

The collection, preparation, and handling of specimens require great care. Even a minor error can lead to the corruption of the specimen. That is why nurses are trained to perform this task with precision. There are different types of tests that require the proper collection of a specimen to reach the correct results. 

If you want to know more about the processes of specimen collection, preparation, and handling, then keep reading as we explore this in further detail. At Medlock, we offer expert pharmaceutical packaging solutions and specimen handling tools. 

Our experts are highly experienced in the area of specimen collection, storage, and handling. In this article, we’ll provide information on the procedures associated with specimen collection and the various uses of these specimens.

Without further ado, let’s learn about the fundamentals of specimen collection below!

Fundamentals of Specimen Collection

Here are the basic tips to follow during specimen collection:

  • Always collect the specimen directly from the site of infection without contaminating any glands or tissues close by. 
  • Choose the right time for the collection of the specimen, such as early morning for sputum culture. 
  • Collect a sufficient amount of specimen with the help of proper and clean tools, i.e., tight, sterile, and leak-proof containers.
  • Choose the right transport medium such as culture for bacterial culture and anaerobic transport vials.
  • Always check expiration dates of collection devices before inoculating.
  • Make sure to label the specimen accurately and fill out any associated forms properly.
  • Reduce the transport time as much as possible, so an appropriate environment can be maintained until the specimen is delivered to the laboratory.

What is the Importance of Accurate Specimen Collection?

Ensuring the proper collection of the specimen is important because: 

  • Poor specimen distorts the results and fails to meet standard reporting and metrics requirements.
  • Patients aren’t satisfied with the inadequate collection of specimens.
  • It prevents the loss of resources that is caused by repeated specimen collection and incorrect diagnosis and treatment of patients. 
  • It prevents patients from sustaining pain or vessel trauma. 
  • Improper specimen collection can put the nurses at risk of exposure to pathogens.

Common Types of Specimen Collections

The following are the common types of specimen collection:

  1. Sputum specimen
  2. Throat swab 
  3. Urine specimen
  4. Stool specimen

Let’s learn about each of them in further detail below!

  • Sputum Specimen

A sputum specimen is collected for a culture so microorganisms that are causing infection in the lungs can be identified. This specimen also helps in the identification of lung tumors, cancer cells, and other pathogens infecting the lungs. 

This type of specimen collection takes around 2 to 3 days because the amount of septum required is larger than what an average person can cough up at a time.   

Equipment and Supplies used for this specimen

The equipment and supplies that are required for this type of specimen collection include the following:

  • Emesis basin
  • Sterile container with a tight-fitting lid
  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Tissue box
  • Nebulizer, if needed.
  • Laboratory request form
  • Throat swab 

Throat swab culture is collected for detecting the presence of pathogens, such as fungal or bacterial infections in the throat. This specimen is required for a diagnostic test in which the mucus sample is collected with the help of a cotton-tipped applicator. 

Then, it is put inside a specific collection cup where the infection is allowed to sit. Infections such as tonsillitis and pneumonia are detected with these tests. 

Equipment and Supplies used for this specimen

The equipment and supplies that are required for this type of specimen collection include the following:

  • Cotton-tipped applicator (sterile) 
  • specimen collection tip 
  • Tongue depressor
  • Flashlight
  • Laboratory request form
  • Urine Specimen

A urine specimen is collected for the physical, chemical, and microscopic analysis of urine with a number of detection tests. The urine sample is tested with different compounds and assessed based on its own color, odor, and density. These tests examine multiple aspects of the health of an individual.   

A urine specimen is also commonly collected for the detection of various substances in the body of a person. This type of specimen requires nearly no special handling. 

Equipment and Supplies used for this specimen

The equipment and supplies that are required for this type of specimen collection include the following:

  • Sterile and dry container with a cap
  • Cotton
  • Laboratory request form
  • Stool Specimen

Stool specimen is collected for detecting pathogens and growing organisms in the feces. This sample helps identify bacteria responsible for causing a disease. Stool culture helps in the treatment and identification of intestinal diseases. 

Equipment and Supplies used for this specimen

The equipment and supplies that are required for this type of specimen collection include the following:

  • Urine specimen jar
  • Sterile bedpan and cover 
  • Wooden tongue blades
  • Gloves
  • Paper bag for used tongue blades
  • Labels
  • Plastic bag for transport of the container

Final Thoughts

It is extremely important to carry out the procedure of collection, preparation, and handling of specimens carefully and accurately. If you’re looking for solutions for the equipment of storing and transporting these specimen, then contact us at Medlock. We provide all the supplies that ensure that your specimen is collected, stored, and transported safely. 

Author Bio:

Jack Finkelstein has expertise of twenty five years within the field of sales and sales management within the market of the USA. and North American nation. With Med-lock he’s managing the one-stop search expertise for compliant packaging. Jack has been connected with an in depth contact list of enormous U.S. and Canadian retailers for quite twenty five years currently.