Cervical Screening for Health Care Professionals (SNM3246)

Who is it for?

This unit is suitable for nurses working in primary and secondary health care settings where cervical samples are taken as part of the NHS Cervical Screening Programme. Practitioners must have access to an appropriate group to enable them to develop their clinical skills in sample taking whilst working under the supervision of a mentor assigned by the Cervical Screening Mentor Service Provider. Practice areas must be willing to facilitate the student's access to the appropriate client group as required. 

This course is only open to nurses working within South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw.

Overview of content:

  • Overview and principles of NHS cervical screening programme
  • Aetiology of cervical cancer
  • HPV and vaccination
  • Infection control
  • Communication skills
  • Abnormal cervical cytology
  • How to take a smear
  • Legal, ethical and professional issues
  • Care pathway visits to Colposcopy, Cytology Laboratories and Call and Recall office

What is it about?

The unit reflects the guidelines for good practice given by the NHS Cervical Screening Programme, the Quality Assurance Reference Centre and the Royal College of Nursing. It asks the student to consider the psycho-social, psychological and cultural factors which affect the uptake of the screening programme along with the professional, ethical and legal requirements to attend regular updates, and to audit their own results to ensure follow up of clients who have abnormal results.

How does it enhance practice?

This course equips the nurse with the requisite knowledge and skills to carry out cervical cytology screening competently. The provision of cervical screening services nationally and locally with reference to recent developments, varing client groups and associated research are discussed.  Unit activities are designed to enable reflection on students’ own role and to identify ways to improve their practice.

Mode of Assessment:

Theory will be assessed by completion of a 2000 word reflective essay

Competence in smear taking is assessed in practice over the 6 months following the taught days and completion of evidence within a practice portfolio


20 credits at level 6

Pre course requirements

You must be working in the relevant area of practice and have a guaranteed regular access to clients requiring cervical screening in order to achieve both the outcomes of the course and fulfil the QARC regulations for continued practice. The provision of a mentor must be guaranteed by the local mentor providers RDaSH who are responsible for arranging the allocation of the mentors. Before you can be offered a place you must complete and return the Environment Pre-Assessment forms which will be sent to you on acceptance.

Course Structure:

The course will run over 6 months starting with 3 study days followed by supervised practice with a named mentor.

Upcoming Course

Start Date: 9 October 2018 - FULL DATES FOR 2019 TO BE CONFIRMED

Attendance Dates: 09.10.18, 23.10.18, 25.10.18

Application and Funding

To apply for this course you need to complete an online application form and you can do this by selecting the "apply" link at the top right of this page. A fees and funding form will automatically be sent on submission of your application form. Details of funding options can be found on our Funding Page.

We cannot reserve places in advance nor guarantee that you will be offered a place until 6 weeks before the start date of the module.

Delivery Site

If successful in your application for the course you will receive a confirmation email with the exact details of the location of teaching, closer to the start date.

The School of Nursing and Midwifery is based at Barber House, Glossop Road, Sheffield; opposite the Royal Hallamshire Hospital however teaching may take place across the University site. Please see a map below of the Central Campus. If you have any enquiries about the location of the teaching please contact the General Enquiry Line on 0114 222 2030.


Programme Leader/Contact Name:

Debbie Limb

Tel: 0114 222 2050 Email: d.c.limb@sheffield.ac.uk