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Chapter 2.1 : Collection, Transport, and Manipulation of Clinical Specimens and Initial Laboratory Concerns
The collection, transport, and processing of clinical specimens are preanalytical steps that are key to organism recovery. Quality specimens must be collected in order to provide the most clinically relevant microbiology results for our patients ( 1 , 2 ). To ensure that specimens are collected in an appropriate manner, easy-to-understand instructions for proper specimen collection and transport conditions in the form of a specimen collection manual or instructional how-to sheet should be available either electronically or from printed material and updated regularly in order to ensure that practices are current. The instructional information should be made available to your clinicians, clinical laboratory scientists, nursing staff, patients, or other clients. Specimens are to be labeled with the patient name and medical records number. The last preanalytical consideration before processing the specimen is to ensure that the specimen is processed in accordance with the test ordered and the organism suspected. The tables in this section are meant to be used as a guide for these important preanalytical steps.