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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Reading and Reporting Gram Stained Direct Smears. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Summary of Gram Stain Reading and Reporting Procedure

  • View control smears under oil immersion. If the control smears stained correctly, read the remainder of the smears.
  • Look at the direct smear macroscopically to locate the stained area.
  • Examine the direct smear under oil immersion and find an area that is properly decolorized.
  • Examine at least ten fields in an area that is properly decolorized.
  • Identify the following nonbacterial cells, if present:
    • epithelial cells
    • white blood cells
    • red blood cells
    • yeast and hyphae.
  • Look for bacterial microorganisms and record their characteristics.
  • Report the direct smear findings according to your laboratory's reporting procedure.