Pathology Support Specialist, Full-time, Days

  • 251 E. Huron, Chicago, IL
  • Full-time
  • Job Shift: Day Job (1st)

Company Description

At Northwestern Medicine, every patient interaction makes a difference in cultivating a positive workplace. This patient-first approach is what sets us apart as a leader in the healthcare industry. As an integral part of our team, you'll have the opportunity to join our quest for better healthcare, no matter where you work within the Northwestern Medicine system. At Northwestern Medicine, we pride ourselves on providing competitive benefits: from tuition reimbursement and loan forgiveness to 401(k) matching and lifecycle benefits, we take care of our employees. Ready to join our quest for better?

Job Description

The Pathology Support Specialist reflects the mission, vision, and values of NM, adheres to the organization’s Code of Ethics and Corporate Compliance Program, and complies with all relevant policies, procedures, guidelines and all other regulatory and accreditation standards.


  • Supporting the medical directors, pathologists, physicians and other laboratory personnel as required, by performing an array of clerical and clinical support functions for the pathology laboratory.
  • Coordinating the retrieval of data/information, recording data/information in charts, file or databases
  • Communicating with internal and external customers and staff in person or over the telephone as directed.
  • Maintaining the integrity of the pathology report, slide and block archive.
  • Maintaining appropriate and accurate documentation ensuring that diagnostic materials are available for review by physicians and other healthcare professionals in a timely manner and are retained for the appropriate timeframe per current regulatory guidelines.
  • Communicating with pathologists, residents, coordinators, and warehouse staff regarding any archival issues.
  • Ensuring files and records are accurate and held confidential, also, acting as a runner, delivering materials to various hospital departments.
  • Provides internal and external customer service excellence
    • Answers incoming telephone calls using NM telephone etiquette, assisting callers with inquiry about reports, scheduling, locating residents and pathologists and forwarding of calls when appropriate.
    • Troubleshoots and resolves problems related to case order, proper paperwork and distribution. Promptly seeks direction from the senior staff regarding unresolved case problems.
    • Maintains patient confidentiality including protected health information (PHI)
    • Assists patients, visitors and other contacts whenever need occurs
  • Maintains report (hard copy and/or digital), slide, and block archive.
    • Retrieves materials for file from designated laboratory locations.
    • Cleans, sorts and organizes microscopic slides accurately within 24 hours of return for on-site or off-site storage.
    • Files slides to permanent cabinets.
    • Requests recuts for broken or missing slides.
    • Handles diagnostic materials in extreme care.
    • Pays attention to detail in data entry and other documentation activities
  • Pulls slides and blocks as requested and return to storage
    • Ensures request includes required information.  Follows-up as necessary.
    • Locates and delivers materials to appropriate requestor.
    • Ensures that slides and blocks integrity is maintained throughout retention.
    • Documents release of materials.
    • Initiates follow-up for materials not returned within the defined timeframe.
  • Coordinates requests and material transfers with the off-site storage facility.
    • Requests materials from warehouse.
    • Packages and returns materials to warehouse.
    • Coordinates transfer of bulk archived materials to warehouse.
    • Documents all requests and transfers.
  • Handles requests for external and internal consultations following established procedures
    • Receives, registers, accessions, distributes, cleans and returns external pathology materials.
    • Processes requests, pulls appropriate materials, and submits to pathologists for review.
    • Performs case distribution to appropriate residents, fellows and/or pathologists.
    • Packages and sends internal consultation cases to outside institution as requested by a pathologist
    • Prioritizes case processing based on receipt, STAT requests and completes tasks within defined turn-around-times (TAT).
    • Documents slide and/or block send out.
    • Monitors the outstanding case log to ensure all cases are returned within established times.
  • Handles requests for referred laboratory testing on blocks and/or slides (i.e. FISH testing, quantitative metal analysis, molecular testing, etc.).
    • Coordinates request with pathologist as necessary.
    • Pulls and packages materials appropriately for transfer to Referred Testing.
    • Delivers materials to Referred Testing for send out.
    • Documents material transfer.
    • Initiates follow-up for materials not returned within the defined timeframe.
  • Works with laboratory management to identify materials qualifying for disposal per the current regulatory retention guidelines.  Discards materials and documents discard.
  • Is responsive and helpful to senior staff, management, pathologists, residents, fellows and attending physicians regarding requests for information about projects and daily activities in the department.
  • Participates in Quality Management activities related to the surgical pathology archive.
    • Demonstrates an understanding of the medico-legal and confidentiality implications and responsibilities related to the maintenance of patient records.
    • Performs periodic archival audits and quality review.
    • Maintains files to ensure information is current and ready for QM review.
    • Recognizes and reports unusual circumstances or issues to appropriate management staff.
    • Participates in departmental quality improvement activities on an ongoing basis
  • Performs duties per laboratory and departmental SOPs.
    • Prioritizes requests and workload.
    • Documents electronic and manual records consistently, accurately, and legibly.
    • Meets established quality and productivity standards and deadlines.
  • Maintains file room supplies.  Promptly notifies senior staff of supply shortages or supply delivery problems.
  • Maintains a clean, safe, and effective work environment to ensure efficient workflow and compliance with all regulatory requirements.  Answers routine inquiries related to the surgical pathology archive.
  • Participates in Safety and Infection Control activities.
    • Some assignments involve long periods of standing, lifting or pushing carts up to 50lbs and walking to other hospital and clinic buildings.
    • Personal protective equipment is provided by the laboratory and is worn in the department due to exposure to biohazardous and/or chemically hazardous materials.
  • Takes initiative for personal development by attending teleconferences, educational sessions, and required meetings, etc.
  • Performs other duties as assigned. May assist in training other staff in area of expertise and may assist in specific process improvement projects
  • Fosters department and laboratory teamwork through effective communication. The position is also required to participate in the laboratory occurrence management program



  • Education/Experience
    • High school diploma. 
    • Strong attention to detail and number recognition skills. 
    • Excellent organizational skills; ability to multi-task and work within tight time constraints. 
    • Effective inter-personal skills. 
    • Computer experience with keyboard proficiency; strong knowledge of Microsoft Word and Excel applications. 
    • Ability to maintain accurate and legible documentation. 
    • Familiarity with medical terminology.


  • Associate in Science degree
  • Prior work experience in laboratory support or health related experience.

Additional Information

Northwestern Medicine is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of age, sex, race, color, religion, national origin, gender identity, veteran status, disability, sexual orientation or any other protected status.