Increasing uptake rates of cervical cancer screening amongst Hong Kong Chinese women: the role of the practitioner
Women’s attendance for regular cervical screening has been identified as a significant factor in the prevention of cervical cancer. Evidence suggests, however, that both extrinsic and intrinsic factors influence women’s attendance patterns for screening. Extrinsic factors, in particular the practitioner undertaking the screening procedure, have been shown to influence women’s return rates for further screening. In Hong Kong, where uptake rates amongst Chinese women remain comparatively low, a study was undertaken to examine Chinese women’s experiences and perceptions of cervical screening undertaken by either a female doctor or nurse. A multiple case study design using both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection was employed. This paper reports the findings from the qualitative data obtained from 52 women participating in 12 focus group interviews held in the two case studies. Thematic analysis of the data demonstrated the importance of the caring nature, communication skills, experience and expertise of the practitioner to women’s attendance pattern for screening. The experience and expertise of the practitioner, described by women as teaching, minimizing pain and discomfort and being considerate, were considered more influential to uptake rates than the professional discipline of the practitioner. Findings such as these indicate the importance of the influence of the practitioner in determining uptake rates for cervical screening amongst this population group.