The NHS Cervical Screening Programme guidelines for new sample takers sets out the minimum content of training required. The certificate level course consists of 2 days of theory which is delivered at our training centre in Belfast. This course equips the applicant with the requisite knowledge and skills to carry out cervical cytology screening competently.
The course content includes:
Anatomy and physiology of female reproductive system;
Introduction to cervical screening - virology & cytology;
The NHS Cervical Screening Programme (NHSCSP);
Human Papilloma Virus: role of the cervical screening advisers;
Practical aspects of taking cervical specimens for screening;
Building a therapeutic relationship;
Sexual health history taking;
Liquid based cytology;
Informed consent; local and national guidelines;
Anatomical and pathophysiological abnormalities and their management: management of abnormal smears.
Upon completion of this course delegates will be able to;
- Recognise and evaluate own role in undertaking a cervical cytology sample as part of the national screening programme in accordance with national and locally agreed guidelines.
- Apply knowledge of basic anatomy and physiology to recognise the features of a healthy cervix.
- Demonstrate a critical understanding of the principles and criteria for screening and apply them to cervical screening.
- Demonstrate awareness of human papilloma virus (HPV) in relation to cervical abnormalities, the implications of the vaccination programme and HPV testing and the ways in which women may be managed in the future.
- Draw on skills to ensure safe and effective clinical examination of the woman, offering a chaperone and working in accordance with local policy and guidelines such as Protection of Vulnerable Individuals in the assessment of any client’s capacity to provide valid consent.
- Use a range of principle professional skills to initiate effective health education based on the health beliefs of the woman.
Apply knowledge, skills and critical understanding in demonstrating:
- Taking correct cervical samples from women across the screening age range.
- Preparing adequate Liquid Based Cytology samples and dispatching safely to designated laboratory for analysis.
- Skills required to undertake examination procedures and relevant specimen/sample collection required of role, while observing health and safety and infection control procedures.
- Identify common vaginal, vulval and cervical conditions.
- Identify and evaluate situations where specialist evaluation and advice may be required.
- Interpret and convey clear and accurate results and findings to the woman and consult and refer as appropriate. Seek clarification in understanding the findings where needed e.g. laboratory, relevant colleague.
- Demonstrate an understanding of the current management and treatment options for women with abnormal cervical sample results.
- Specimen results; sexually transmitted infections; colposcopy; audit.
The following criteria must be met in order for applicants to commence on this short course:
- Currently employed in general practice as a registered adult nurse.
- Currently employed within secondary care in a colposcopy or CASH clinic.
- Supported by employer and have access to completing 20 cervical samples.
Applicants are expected to name a supervisor for clinical practice that has trained in cervical cytology as part of their initial professional training or successfully completed a recognised training programme on cervical cytology screening. In addition, a supervisor should be a current cervical sampler (smear taker) and can demonstrate they have kept their knowledge and skills up to date.