Toolkit for engaging Under-screened and Never-screened women in the National Cervical Screening Program

General tips for discussing cervical screening

Page last updated: 17 November 2019 (this page is generated automatically and reflects updates to other content within the website)

When discussing cervical screening with your patients, particularly under-screened or never-screened women, it’s important to be mindful of these considerations:

  • Building trust and rapport is vital. Creating a sense of safety and security will go a long way towards allaying a woman’s concerns or fears. . E.g. Quiet voice, respectful tone
  • Demonstrate respect and inclusivity through the language you use when talking to women and by creating an inclusive atmosphere of your health service e.g. waiting room displays and consumer resources in various languages.
  • Ensure women understand that their Cervical Screening Test results will remain confidential.
  • Reassure women that the procedure will be undertaken carefully and respectfully, and that they will be able to undress in private and given a sheet to cover their lower body.
  • Use visual aids where appropriate, particularly with women with low literacy levels and women who may be embarrassed discussing sexual activity or their genitalia.
  • Give women time to feel comfortable with new information, to ask questions and make informed decisions.
  • Don’t make assumptions about women’s cultural background, sexual history, sexual preferences, literacy levels or knowledge of their bodies.
  • Use face-to-face or telephone interpreters if language is a barrier.