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Cervical screening course on Niue

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

International News

A Family Planning Nurse Facilitator has recently returned from Niue where she facilitated a cervical screening course for 12 of the island’s female nurses and health care assistants.

Cervical screening services are limited in Niue and cervical cancer is the fourth leading female cancer in the small island nation. Samples that do get obtained are sent to Auckland for testing, and any patient requiring treatment is referred to New Zealand. For these reasons, the nurses were keen to gain knowledge under the New Zealand cervical screening guidelines.

“The nurses loved the opportunity for face to face training - they usually gain their professional development via online courses so it was a novelty for them to learn in a group environment,” nurse facilitator Stacey Ross says.

The prospect of implementing a recall system, and developing - and actioning - health promotion to empower women to access screening, is something that the nurses are keen to move forward with now that they have a better understanding around the importance of screening.

“What was interesting was exploring their barriers to screening and discussing ways to overcome these, “ Stacey Ross says.

“Topping their list was issues regarding confidentiality, embarrassment and lack of knowledge of cervical screening. Similarly, it was interesting to explore their challenges when it comes to assessing and treating sexually transmissible infections.”

With a total population of just over 1,600, nurses often know their patients personally and taking a thorough sexual health history can be really challenging and daunting – both for the client and for the nurse.

“They expressed a lot of appreciation for having the opportunity to work through these barriers and have up to date knowledge and education. We did a lot of work using scenarios to practice their assessment skills and grow their confidence,” says Ross.

“This experience was amazing; the nurses were full of enthusiasm and gratitude to have the opportunity to learn a new skill set that has the chance to change the face of cervical cancer and women’s health on their small island. It was an absolute privilege and pleasure to be the facilitator taking this invaluable training over to them.”

Learn more about Family Planning’s work internationally. 

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