Journal of Professional Nursing

The Influence of the Cartwright Report on Gynaecological Examinations and Nurses' Communication

Catherine Cook, PhD, RN, Lecturer, School of Nursing, Massey University, Auckland, NZ
Margaret Brunton, PhD, RN, Associate Professor, School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing, Massey University, Auckland, NZ

Reference:  Cook, C., Brunton, M. (2014). The influence of the Cartwright Report on gynaecological examinations and nurses' communication. Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, 30(2), 28-38. 


The Cartwright Report of the Cervical Cancer Inquiry of 1987/8 made detailed recommendations about the primacy of communication with respect to informed consent, specifically for women undergoing gynaecological examinations.  This paper reports findings from a wider study into women's experiences of what makes examinations go well.  The data are specific to nurses and a subset of women participants.  Data are from semi-structured interviews with six nurses, and seven women who had attended a sexual health clinic and had a speculum examination.  These data are a portion of a larger study about women and gynaecological examinations, in which a total of 16 women patients and 16 clinicians (including 10 doctors) were interviewed.  Clinicians were recruited through self-selection in response to a request for participants who believed that for the most part, women were satisfied with the clinical care they received, and re-attended.  Subsequently, women who had been examined by these nurses and doctors were recruited.  The recently developed concept of 'shared mind' was employed to analyse the data, using an iterative content analysis to identify which clinical communication strategies were used, and the way in which women responded.  The findings demonstrate that nurses, through a shared mind process, can provide an environment to meet both the physical and emotional needs of women and enhance the likelihood of their re-attendance.  This paper highlights Cartwright's legacy as it is enacted by a group of nurses in New Zealand.

Cartwright Report; communication; sexual health; women's health; cervical screening; New Zealand

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