Australian Family Physician
Australian Family Physician


Volume 39, Issue 10, October 2010

Pap tests What do women expect?

Rebecca Stewart Jill E Thistlethwaite
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Women express various opinions regarding expectations and experiences of having Pap tests, particularly with regards to explanation of the procedure, its implications and results, and accompanied preventive health activities.
To explore patient expectations and experiences regarding Pap tests and associated screening activities.
Twenty-four women were interviewed. There was variation in expectations regarding consultations for a Pap test, and also of the information given as to what is meant by a ‘normal’ result. Many women expressed a preference for a female and regular health professional to undertake their smear.
Recognition of general and individual barriers to cervical screening by health professionals will enhance patient access to, and acceptance of, screening activities. Understanding patient expectations regarding Pap tests ensures practitioners deliver health services with sufficient information and without false reassurance.

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