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Keywords:

  • certified nurse-midwives;
  • cervical cancer;
  • screening

The purpose of this study was to determine how closely certified nurse-midwives in the United States follow contemporary cervical cancer screening guidelines. A survey was sent to 264 randomly selected certified nurse-midwives. Survey questions included demographics and clinical scenarios addressing initiation, frequency, and cessation of screening. Responses were received from 60% of the sampled certified nurse-midwives who had valid mailing addresses; 127 were eligible for the analytic sample. Many nurse-midwives initiate cervical cancer screening earlier than guidelines recommend; 72% would initiate screening in an 18-year-old within 1 month of coitarche, while 36% would begin screening virginal girls at age 18, and many continue cervical cancer screening after guidelines recommend cessation. More than 60% of the respondents would continue screening a woman who had undergone total hysterectomy for symptomatic fibroids who had no history of dysplasia, and half would continue to screen a 70-year-old woman with a 30-year history of previous normal Pap tests. In addition, despite guidelines which recommend less frequent screening, more than one-quarter (28%) would continue annual screening in a 35-year-old woman with three or more normal tests. Certified nurse-midwives are performing cervical cancer screening more frequently than current guidelines recommend. Comparisons to the practice of other providers are offered. Education to limit unnecessary testing is needed.