Reading Gram Stained Smears From Cultures (by LabCE)

1.5 P.A.C.E. contact hour(s)

(based on 1,049 customer ratings)

Authors: Betty Smith, MT(ASCP); Mary Ann Fiene, MSMT(ASCP); Rukhsana Evans, MSMT(ASCP)
Reviewers: Judi Bennett, MT, BSM and Alexandru Casapu, MBA, MLS(ASCP)CM

Course provided by LabCE.

This course explains how to intelligently evaluate and interpret gram stained smears from cultures. Good for clinical laboratory science students, cross training, and CE. Covers gram positive and gram negative bacilli; single, pair, chain, and tetrad cell arrangements; and reporting.

See more courses in: Microbiology

Included In These Course Packages

Continuing Education Credits

P.A.C.E.® Contact Hours (acceptable for AMT, ASCP, and state recertification): 1.5 hour(s)
Course number 578-009-22, approved through 2/28/2024
Florida Board of Clinical Laboratory Personnel Credit Hours - General (Microbiology/Mycology/Parasitology): 1.5 hour(s)
Course number 20-896508, approved through 2/28/2024


  • Explain the importance of Gram stained smears from isolated colonies to the clinician.
  • Discuss the procedure for reading smears from cultures with respect to Gram stain reaction, shape of the organism, and arrangement of the cells.
  • Identify microorganisms as gram-positive or gram-negative and be able to describe their shape and cell arrangement.
  • Demonstrate ability to interpret Gram stained smears from various cultures and report appropriately.

Customer Ratings

(based on 1,049 customer ratings)

Users Also Bought

2 P.A.C.E.® contact hours
(720 ratings) $20 Add to cart
1 P.A.C.E.® contact hour
(0 ratings) $28 Add to cart
1 P.A.C.E.® contact hour
(10 ratings) $30 Add to cart
12 P.A.C.E.® contact hours
(1 ratings) $44 Add to cart
12 P.A.C.E.® contact hours
(2 ratings) $44 Add to cart
2 P.A.C.E.® contact hours
(3 ratings) $15 Add to cart

Course Outline

  • Introduction to Reading Gram Stained Culture Smears
      • Culture, Isolation, and Identification of Microorganisms
  • General Aspects of Gram Stained Smears From Culture
      • Gram Stain
      • Preparation of a Gram Stained Smear From Culture
      • Quality Control (QC)
      • Gram Stain Quality Control (QC) Organisms
      • Examining the Smear
  • Organism Shapes in Gram Stained Culture Smears
      • Cocci and Rods
      • Variations in the Shape of Cocci
      • Variation in the Shape of Bacilli
      • Gram-Negative Rods (GNRs)
  • Arrangement of Organisms in Gram Stained Culture Smears
      • Cellular Arrangement
      • Single Cell Arrangement
      • Pair Cell Arrangement
      • Chain Cell Arrangement
      • Tetrad Cell Arrangement
      • Clusters of Gram-Positive Bacteria
      • Yeast Cells
  • Gram Stain Characteristics and Organisms Expected From Common Body Sites
      • Gram-Positive Organisms Recovered From Culture
      • Images: Gram-Positive Cocci (GPC) Recovered From Culture
      • Images: Gram-Positive Rods (GPRs) Recovered From Culture
      • Gram-Negative Organisms Recovered From Culture
      • Images: Gram-Negative Organisms Recovered From Culture
      • Expected Pathogens From Common Body Sites/Specimens
      • Expected Pathogens From Common Body Sites/Specimens, continued
      • Expected Pathogens From Common Body Sites/Specimens, continued
  • Reporting Gram Stained Culture Smears
      • Gram-Stained Smears From Culture: Importance and Reporting
  • Case Studies in Reading Gram Stained Smears From Cultures
    • References
        • References

    Additional Information

    Level of Instruction: Basic

    Intended Audience: Clinical laboratory science students, and medical technologists and technicians seeking review, cross training, or continuing education opportunities. It is also appropriate for medical students and pathology residents.

    Course Description: This illustrated course cover the basics of reading gram stained smears from cultures, including interpretation of controls, reading, interpreting and reported Gram stained culture smears. It is illustrated with numerous images of actual culture Gram stains, and contains numerous interactive quiz questions.

    Author Credentials: This course was developed by Betty Smith MT (ASCP), Mary Ann Fiene, MSMT(ASCP) and Rukhsana Evans, MSMT(ASCP) and was updated by Education Materials for Health Professionals, Inc.

    Reviewer information: Judi Bennett, BSM, MT is a Program Director for MediaLab, Inc., located in Lawrenceville, Georgia.  During her 25 year career as a medical technologist, she was a member of the management team and has also served as a Point-of-Care coordinator, microbiology supervisor, and generalist. Judi has been a speaker at various LIS, AMT, and CLMA conferences and has been published in CLMA magazine.

    Reviewer Information: Alexandru Casapu, MBA, MLS(ASCP)CM, PBTCM has over 20 years of experience as a medical laboratory scientist, section supervisor, and laboratory manager. He is the former Director of Clinical Laboratory Technology Program at Georgia Piedmont Technical College. He is currently a Program Director at MediaLab, Inc. Alexandru holds BS degrees in Biology and Medical Technology from Clark Atlanta University and a MBA from the University of Georgia.

    About the Course: This course is part of a series of courses adapted for the web by MediaLab Inc. under license from Educational Materials for Health Professionals Inc. Dayton OH, 45420. Copyright EMHP. It has been reviewed and revised by MediaLab Inc. in April 2020.

    How to Subscribe
    MLS & MLT Comprehensive CE Package (by LabCE)
    Package of 104 online courses$95
    Add to cart
    Single online course$20
    Add to cart
    • Order for instant access through any computer, any browser.
    • No shipping, faxing, or waiting for certificates.
    • Print or save your certificate of completion as soon as you've completed the course.
    • You'll have 90 days to complete your purchased courses.
    Course provided by LabCE.
    Staph aureus

    <i>Staphylococcus aureus</i> isolated from culture

    <i>Lactobacillus</i> species isolated from culture

    Gram pos cocci

    GPC for question

    Gram Negative Bacilli

    Oval shaped cocci

    Gram Positive Cocci in Clusters

    ASCLS CE's design and platform are provided by MediaLab, Inc.