Major mission for Otorohanga Medical nurses

10 Apr 2018
Major mission for Otorohanga Medical nurses

Otorohanga Medical Centre nurses are on a mission to find out why local women are declining to have regular cervical smear tests.

They became concerned after it was revealed more than 350 woman in the Otorohanga Medical Centre's database were labelled as 'not achieved' meaning they are due for the cervical cancer screening test, but had not come in for one.

The nurses are appealing to women to come forward and let them know how they can help change the statistics.

"Some feedback we have received is that a lot of women don't feel comfortable in the clinical setting and would prefer the service to be at home where they are comfortable, so that's something we are looking at," says practice nurse Suz Cornelissen.

The clinical also provides a mobile outreach service where personal home visits are made, however, it is Hamilton-based and the sole health worker covers an extensive area.


Clinical nurse manager Pauline Austin says staff are looking at many different ways to encourage women to come and have smears.

"We have targets but we're more concerned about catching people early to see if they have any kind of problem that needs to get treated," she says.

"It's the same as having a mammogram. It's about looking after yourself and making time to do that. We are constantly monitoring and send out reminders but we are wanting women to come and talk to us, tell us what we can do to help provide them with the service, and what will make them feel comfortable."

Expo promotion

The nurses promoted cervical screening at a Wellbeing Expo in Otorohanga on March 21.

"At our stall we focused on informing women about smears and encouraging them to come down to the clinic to have it done," says Ms Cornelissen.

"We were successful in getting six women to come to the clinic, which we thought was a really good response."

She says feedback from the expo was that working women aren't available during the hours of 8am-5pm.

Weekend clinic

"We do have a clinic on a Wednesday night till 7pm and we have just organized a one-off clinic to be held on Saturday, April 14 and from that we will see what the response is."

She hopes women take advantage of the clinics.

"Even if you're not wanting to have a smear on that day, or are not due, come and talk to us an give us your reasons why or why not, and what your ideas are on how we can provide a better service," says Ms Cornelissen.

Ms Austin says the aim is to make women feel more comfortable and reach 100 per cent achievement.

Te Kuiti

Te Kuiti Medical Centre practice nurse Linda Lovini says they don't seem to be struggling as much as Otorohanga, but it is always a problem trying to get women in for a smear.

"It's a continual battle, especially with our high needs women who are Maori and Pacific Islanders.

"You'll get some who are too embarrassed or some who just don't want them," she says.

"I don't know what the answer is, but what I would say is have your warrant of fitness - it's so important."

Reproduced with the kind permission of Waitomo News. Original source.