Do Women Comply with Recommendations for Papanicolaou Smears Following Colposcopy? A Retrospective Study


  • Jennifer Tirrell Martin APN, MSN

    Corresponding authorSearch for more papers by this author
    • Jennifer Tirrell Martin, APN, MSN, is in clinical practice as a women's health nurse practitioner at Christiana Care Health System in Newark, Delaware.

Women's Health Building, Christiana Hospital, 4755 Ogletown-Stanton Road, Newark, DE 19718. E-mail:


The objective of this study was to determine compliance with follow-up serial Papanicolaou smears after the completion of colposcopic examination and treatment as required in women with abnormal Papanicolaou smears. Following a retrospective chart review, data were selected from 103 charts of women who had undergone colposcopy. Patient compliance with the treatment plan was tracked for 18 months. Compliance was defined as having at least two cervical cancer screenings performed in the year and a half following colposcopy. Thirty-two percent of the study population complied with the plan of care. Eighty-six percent of those patients who had at least one Papanicolaou smear in the 18 months following colposcopy had no progression of dysplasia. Less than one-third of the patients in this study population followed the recommendations given to them after their colposcopic examination and treatment. Health care providers will be aware of the low percentage of patient follow-up as well as the importance of educating patients about prevention of cervical cancer and reducing risk of cervical dysplasia.