International Women’s Day marks the celebration of women and focuses on creating an inclusive world where women are valued for their social, economic and cultural backgrounds. On this day, I invite you to take the opportunity to share your love and appreciation for women within your community.
As the regional Cervical Screening Initiatives Program coordinator for the Avalon region with Eastern Health, I can’t think of a better way to share our appreciation for women than to highlight what Eastern Health’s Cervical Screening Initiatives program is doing to improve health care for women, by women! The Cervical Screening Initiatives Program is a provincial program that is designed to improve participation in cervical screening and, in turn, decrease the rate of cervical cancer in Newfoundland and Labrador.
I began my career in health care as a pediatric nurse at the Janeway Children’s Health and Rehabilitation Centre almost 17 years ago! From there, I moved to community health nursing where I incorporated the passion I have for women’s health and my desire to educate others on the topic. This position then led me to my current role, one that I have been in for over five years.
As part of my role as a coordinator for the Cervical Screening Initiatives Program, I collaborate with community partners and organizations to share the importance of cancer screening with women across the region. I love meeting and interacting with women of all ages in their community settings to discuss specific tests and screenings that are vital for protecting women’s health. My goal is to ultimately provide women with the information they need to make informed decisions about their health care.
I also work closely with several other health-care professionals to ensure that the initiatives we offer provide women with the most valuable information on cervical screening, such as one of my close colleagues, Glenda Stagg, a nurse practitioner with Eastern Health. Glenda has been working as a nurse practitioner with Eastern Health since 2006, and she demonstrates her passion for women’s issues by providing inclusive services to vulnerable women, easy access to Pap testing, and promoting cervical screening initiatives.
I’ve known Glenda for about 10 years. I began working with her when I was a public health nurse. We worked together to support and encourage better access to health care for the youth. Still till this day, Glenda’s non-judgmental and approachable manner enables her to build a trusting relationship with people and it allows her to provide the best care possible. Since she started her career, Glenda has been dedicated to providing health care to vulnerable populations, and is especially passionate about the work she does with vulnerable women.
I believe that health promotion and prevention is the key to providing quality health care, and Glenda is committed to involving her clients in their care by affording them the ability to take control of their health. From breastfeeding support to encouraging women to get screened for cervical cancer, Glenda empowers women and provides the education women require to make informed decisions about their health.
Glenda has been an active member of the Cervical Screening Initiatives program for many years. She is also a member of the Education and Recruitment Committee that is designed to educate and engage women in regular Pap tests. Glenda believes that access to testing can be a barrier for some women, so she offers Pap testing at her clinic sites to provide more women access to Pap testing in their community.
This International Women’s Day, I choose to honour my female colleagues for the excellent service we provide to women across Newfoundland and Labrador. Who will you show your appreciation for this International Women’s Day? ■
Remember: Routine screening is key to prevent cervical cancer so call your health-care provider today to book an appointment for a Pap test! There are over 90 Pap clinics across Newfoundland and Labrador that are open to any woman wanting to book a Pap test.
Did you know?
- Women who are sexually active should begin Pap testing at the age of 21?
- Unless your doctor or nurse practitioner tells you otherwise, you should have a Pap test every three years?
- Women with abnormal Pap history should continue yearly Pap testing?
This story was written by Susan White, a regional coordinator for the Cervical Screening Initiatives Program in the Avalon region.