In December 2017, Australia introduced a more effective method for cervical screening meaning that for most patients, pap smears were not required every two years. While the latest medical and scientific evidence shows the new cervical screening test is more effective at detecting the human papillomavirus (HPV), the referral rate for colposcopy has increased because of the number of women with positive HPV results.
To meet the increase in demand for this service, the Gold Coast University Hospital (GCUH) Gynaecology Department proposed to train the first Australian nurse in diagnostic and therapeutic colposcopy. Nurses have been safely trained in colposcopy for more than 10 years in the UK, USA and New Zealand. The initiative was supported by Clinical Excellence Queensland—under the Specialist Outpatient Strategy—and The Australian Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology.
Nurse Practitioner Jan Gale was chosen to complete the training. Jan has a masters in nursing science and experience in women’s, sexual and reproductive health. She has helped North Queensland ladies with common female health concerns like pap smears, sexual health testing and treatment, and contraception. Jan went on to complete the colposcopy training in October 2019. This training was provided through the British Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology under the supervision of a gynaecological oncologist, British-trained nurse colposcopist and other clinicians at GCUH.
Kate Russo, Acting Team Leader for Screening and Prevention Services from Department of Health and Human Services Victoria, recently met with Jan, Dr Graeme Walker, Director of Gynaecology at GCHHS, and representatives from Queensland Health to discuss the potential to introduce the role in Victoria.
With GCUH having trained medical and nursing assessors for colposcopy, discussions are underway to determine the viability of a Gold Coast-based university supported graduate certificate level course in colposcopy.
Keep up to date with Clinical Excellence Queensland: