A case study of the effectiveness of nurse-led screening programmes for cervical cancer among Hong Kong Chinese women
Cervical cancer remains a cause of morbidity and mortality among women despite the efficacy of Pap smear screening. Uptake rates for Papanicolaou (Pap) smears among Hong Kong Chinese women remain low and evidence suggests that both intrinsic and extrinsic factors influence women's attendance for Pap smear screening, particularly the practitioner taking the smear. This study examined the experiences and perceptions of Hong Kong Chinese women of having a Pap smear taken by a female doctor or a female nurse using a case study design. A convenience sample of 50 women was selected from the two case study settings. Data collection involved a confidential structured interview, followed by focus group interviews with a sample of women participating in the structured interview. The findings relating to the technical quality and outcome of care provide the focus for this paper. Although women were highly satisfied with the care provided by both practitioners, women were more satisfied with the information given about the procedure by the nurse (P = 0·0130) and had more confidence in the nurse (P = 0·024). One of the five criteria used to assess the quality of smears demonstrated the doctor achieved a statistically significant higher number of smears containing the required percentage of endocervical cells (P = 0·0180). Nevertheless, none of the smears taken by the nurse required repeating due to an inadequate specimen. These findings suggest, despite the need for audit of Pap smears, that appropriately qualified nurses can make an important contribution to the uptake of Pap smears among this population.