Women's views of Registered Nurses as Papanicolaou smear providers: A pilot study
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Background: Registered nurse Papanicolaou (Pap) smear providers (RN PSPs) were introduced to improve women's accessibility to Pap smear services through the National Cervical Screening Program. This pilot study assessed women's attitudes towards RNs as providers. Method: One hundred women attending a Family Planning Queensland (FPQ) centre for a routine appointment with a doctor or registered nurse were recruited. Participants completed an anonymous questionnaire. Results: A response rate of 86% (n=100) was achieved. Only 15% of participants indicated they had seen a RN for a Pap test prior to this visit and 67% were unaware that registered nurses provided Pap smear services. Participants reported positive attitudes toward RN PSPs (M=44.53, SD=7.85, range 13-60). The majority of participants considered RN PSPs would be responsive to their needs (92%) and well-qualified to perform Pap smears (70%). The majority (79%) would not hesitate to see a RN PSP for a Pap smear. Some uncertainty existed about the competence of nurses to provide this service (25% of respondents were uncertain). Older women were more likely to report less positive attitudes toward RN PSP (r=-.267, p<.05). Women reporting previous awareness of the role of nurses as Pap smear providers were more likely to report positive attitudes (Chi-square=12.96, p<.0001) compared to women with no awareness of this role. Discussion and Conclusions: While women are positive about RN PSPs, there is a need for promotion and community education about the role of RNs in providing cervical screening services.