Faculty Advisor

Laura Reed, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC

Clinical Site

University Clinical Health/Family Medicine

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 4-17-2024


Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Family Practice Nursing | Health and Medical Administration | Health Services Administration | Health Services Research | Investigative Techniques | Medicine and Health Sciences | Neoplasms | Nursing | Nursing Administration | Obstetrics and Gynecology | Oncology | Public Health | Public Health and Community Nursing | Public Health Education and Promotion | Quality Improvement | Women's Health



Cervical cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer affecting women worldwide (Staley et al., 2021). With cervical cancer being a preventable disease, an effective method of reducing healthcare costs and mortality is primary prevention, such as screenings. Financial burdens and barriers to accessing medical care may result due to the lack of proper cervical cancer screenings. Detecting cervical cancer includes screening women 21 to 65 years old with a Papanicolaou (PAP) test every three years. Women aged 30 to 65 years old can extend the screening of cervical cancer by having a Human Papillomavirus (HPV) test along with a PAP test conducted every five years, according to the United States Preventative Service Task Force (USPSTF) (National Cancer Institute, 2022). The cessation of cervical cancer screening can occur for women aged 65 years or older who have had three sequential negative PAP tests or two sequential negative HPV results within ten years (U.S Preventive Services Task Force [USPSTF], 2008). Patient education emphasizing the benefits of cervical cancer screenings has been shown to improve compliance with screening recommendations.


A retrospective chart review at a metropolitan underserved primary clinic in the Midsouth was conducted consisting of 29 charts from women ages 18 and above with visit dates between January 1, 2023 and August 31, 2023. Descriptive statistics were generated and analyzed of the women’s age, race, visit date, insurance type, and their presence of an up-to-date pap smear per USPSTF guidelines.


Between January 4, 2023 and August 15, 2023, 29 women (N=29) met eligibility criteria. Women’s ages ranged from 24 to 66 (M=46.97, SD 10.39). Findings indicate that 16 women (55.2%) had up-to-date PAP smear testing per USPSTF guidelines. Women who received up-to-date PAP smear testing had a mean age of 45.1 compared to the mean age of 49.3 in women without up-to-date screening.

Implications for Nursing Practice

The results of this retrospective chart review provide valuable insight into how many women prioritize having an up-to-date PAP smear in a primary care clinic. While the data indicates that 55.2% of women had up-to-date PAP smear testing, the mean age of women without up-to-date screening was only 4 years older (49.3) than the mean age of those who did have up-to-date PAP smear testing (45.1). At the same time, only slightly more than half of women had up-to-date PAP smear testing, leaving a significant portion of women still requiring valuable education. While further study is required to better understand the prevalence of cervical cancer screening, it is evident that further education on proper cervical cancer screening is recommended.