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Assessment of the breast cancer screening practices of primary health care nurses (PHCNs) in St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Abstract

Dr. Philip Chimee Onuoha and Mrs. Oneikah Sergeant Richards

Breast cancer is a leading cause of death both in the less and more developed countries. Early detection of breast cancer has been shown to significantly reduce mortality rates, yet many women fail to receive screening. Primary health care nurses are uniquely positioned to role model screening behaviours, educate clients on performance of breast self-examination and perform other screening activities. This study sought to assess the breast cancer screening practices of Primary Health Care Nurses (PHCNs) for female clients 40 years and older in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). Primary Health Care facilities throughout the nine (9) Health Districts in St. Vincent and the Grenadines were utilized. This study utilized a non-experimental, descriptive survey design. Quota proportionate sampling of 62 of 70 Primary Health Care Nurses (PHCN) in SVG completed a researcher-developed questionnaire consisting primarily of objective type items which assessed knowledge of breast cancer, self-efficacy and breast cancer screening practices. Data was analysed using Microsoft Excel 2007 and IBM PASW (SPSS) Version 22. Nurses are engaged in screening activities but rates of performance are low and practices are inconsistent and widely varied. Several interpersonal and situational barriers exist which impact nurses’ screening behaviours. Organizational support and policies are essential in ensuring consistency and standardization of breast cancer screening practices.

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