Cervical Cancer Screening: Knowledge, Attitude and Practices among Nursing Staff in a Tertiary Level Teaching Institution of Rural India


Background: Assessment of the nursing staff knowledge, attitude and practices about cervical cancer screeningin a tertiary care teaching institute of rural India. Materials and
Methods: A cross sectional, descriptive, interviewbasedsurvey was conducted with a pretested questionnaire among 262 staff nurses of a tertiary care teachingand research institute.
Results: In this study 77% respondents knew that Pap smear is used for detection ofcervical cancer, but less than half knew that Pap smear can detect even precancerous lesions of cervix. Only23.4% knew human papilloma virus infection as a risk factor. Only 26.7% of the respondents were judged ashaving adequate knowledge based on scores allotted for questions evaluating knowledge about cervical cancerand screening. Only 17 (7%) of the staff nurses had themselves been screened by Pap smear, while 85% had nevertaken a Pap smear of a patient. Adequate knowledge of cervical cancer and screening, higher parity and age>30 years were significantly associated with self screening for cervical cancer. Most nurses held a view that Paptest is a doctor procedure, and nearly 90% of nurses had never referred a patient for Pap testing.
Conclusions:The majority of nursing staff in rural India may have inadequate knowledge about cervical cancer screening,and their attitude and practices towards cervical cancer screening could not be termed positive.