Knowledge, Attitude and Practice of the Pap Smear as aScreening Procedure Among Nurses in a Tertiary Hospital inNorth Eastern India


Background: Cancer of the uterine cervix is one of the most common cancers among women worldwide.Industrialized countries have dramatically reduced the incidence of mortality from cervical carcinoma in the last50 years through aggressive screening programs utilizing pelvic examinations and Papanicolaou (Pap) smearsbut it still remains a major problem in the developing world.
Objectives: This study was performed to determineknowledge, attitude and practice of Pap smear as a screening procedure among nurses in a tertiary hospitalin north eastern India. Material and
Methods: This cross sectional study was carried out with a questionnairesurvey covering the socio demographic factors, knowledge, attitude and practices about Pap smear screeningamong 224 nurses in Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal, Manipur, India during December 2011.
Results: Two hundred and twenty one participants (98.6%) had heard about cervical carcinoma but 18.3%lacked adequate knowledge regarding risk factors. Knowledge about the Pap smear was adequate in 88.8% ofthe respondents. Out of these, only 11.6% had Pap smear at least once previously. The most common reasons fornon-participation in screening were lack of any symptoms (58.4%), lack of counselling (42.8%), physician doesnot request (29.9%) and fear of vaginal examination (20.5%).
Conclusion: Although knowledge of Pap smear asa screening procedure for cervical cancer is high, practice is still low. The nurses who should be responsible foropportunistic screening of women they care for are not keen on getting screened themselves. If we can improvethe practice of Pap smear screening in such experts, they should be able to readily provide appropriate andaccurate information and motivate the general population to join screening programs.