34 participants were interviewed for the study, focussing on their experiences and understandings of cervical screening.
“Though there is an important role for primary health care professionals in easing discomfort and facilitating positive experiences, women often report feeling disappointed with how the procedure is conducted. Women suggest that practitioners’ attempts to normalize the interaction and maintain a degree of detachment could have the perverse effect of making them feel more uncomfortable and that more personalization would be welcome.”
The Vagina Monologues tackle the subject of the smear test to an audience consisting of horrified teenage girls next to older women nodding along in agreement, chuckling, at the duck lips description. All sitting with their legs firmly crossed. I am pretty sure this is a case of the old ‘if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry’ situations. The image of a cold, gaping metal duck mouth heading for my princess, ‘QUACK, QUACK’ does not make me chuckle warmly to myself.
It’s got to be done. Sorry to the under 25s and those who thought having the HPV vaccine meant you escaped, it is a necessary evil. Instead of (ha, ha) ducking the appointments, what do you think could be done, short of the manufacture of pink speculums, to make the whole shebang a more woman friendly experience?
My suggestion would be a clear protocol. I am always more comfortable when I know what the etiquette is for any situation I find myself in.
Are you expected now to vajazzle for the appointment? Or would this startle the nurse? Eye contact and friendly conversation or silence and furtive glances? Perhaps you’d elect for your nurse to sing a tune. Hey, if you can elect to have a caesarean now I think you can elect to hear your favourite Rihanna single hummed as the speculum looms.
Answers on a postcard to the NHS please. Or in the comments section below.