Knowledge, attitudes and awareness of the human papillomavirus amongst primary care practice nurses: an evaluation of current training in England

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BackgroundThe incorporation of Human papillomavirus (HPV) testing into the English cervical screening programme has been met with fear and anxiety. Healthcare professionals need to be adequately informed about HPV to help alleviate patient concerns.The aim of this study was to evaluate the HPV training provided to practice nurses (PNs) and determine their level of HPV knowledge.MethodA web-based survey was distributed to 147 General Practice surgeries in the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland regions, between May and July 2015. The survey explored four broad areas; demographics/level of experience, HPV knowledge, attitudes towards the HPV vaccine and self-perceived adequacy of HPV knowledge.ResultsA total of 128 surveys were completed, with 94 complete responses. Overall awareness of basic HPV facts was adequate; however, detailed, and in some cases basic, knowledge was lacking. 9.6% failed to identify that HPV can cause cervical cancer and 62.8% believed that HPV requires treatment. Not all PNs felt adequately informed about HPV and a need to improve the provision of training was identified.ConclusionPNs play a key role in increasing public awareness of HPV and implementing cervical cancer screening. The provision of education to PNs needs to be a priority and current methods of training need to be re-evaluated.

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