In addition to instilling a consciousness about movement from one area to the next, other work skills are critical and key to obtaining accurate results:
- Aseptic technique
- Pipetting skills
Due to the sensitivity of molecular assays, there is little margin for error. Cross contamination from specimens with large numbers of organism/target nucleic acid can result from the slightest deviation in aseptic technique. The use of aerosol barrier pipette tips and positive displacement pipette devices go a long way in preventing aerosol contamination, but do not replace the attentiveness of the technologist during each transfer of specimen material. When working with specimens, only one specimen container should be opened at a time.Pipetting skills
Although more and more assays are being introduced with pre-prepared master mixes, invariably some reagent preparation is required. This often entails the transfer of very small volumes, which leaves no margin of error during pipetting. Attentiveness to accuracy of pipetting is a must.