Sister Carol Liversidge
Hi my name is Carol Liversidge I'm the Practice Nursing Sister at Thornfield. I have been a smear taker for 27 years, my advice is firstly to attend because it can save your life, secondly we sympathise as we have smears ourselves and understand how you feel! When I had my first smear I was very apprehensive but when I realised how quick the procedure was I was surprised, I would describe it as slightly uncomfortable for a few seconds.
Top Tip: We would normally encourage you to bring a friend or partner in for support and we aim to return to this as soon as the Covid pandemic is over.
Sister Pat Milligan
My Name is Pat Milligan, I have been a smear taker for 28 years and it's always very reassuring when a patient says "Is that it!" People's opinions on social media can influence their decision to come for this very important screening test. If you have any questions please make an appointment to discuss, we also offer telephone consultations.
Top Tip: As a practice we are aware ladies have time constraints due to everyday living and within the last 2 years I have a smear clinic on Saturday mornings, which has proved very popular, if you have any difficulties getting an appointment we will strive to accommodate you.
Sister Rosie Challis-Mercer
Hello! My name is Rosie Challis-Mercer, I am currently on maternity leave until late 2020. I'm an experienced smear taker, having been taking smears for as long as I have been having my own! I remember all too well how nervous I felt before having my first smear, even knowing the process inside and out (no pun intended!). It really does only take minutes and could save your life. I love meeting all our patients, and there is always time for us to talk before beginning to put you at ease.
Top Tip: If you want to call the surgery before your apt date to speak to one of the Practice Nurses for some more information, please do so! If we are busy at that time, we will always do our best to get back to you.
Mrs Laura Buchanan
Advanced Nurse Practitioner
My Name is Laura Buchanan I have been taking smears since 2016. I know how to make patients feel comfortable and relaxed, I don't pressure the patients and take as much time as needed. I myself have had bad experiences when having my own smear done so I can sympathise with my patients. I am just happy when ladies attend for their smears, I would never not go for my own smear even though it's my least favourite type of appointment.
Top Tip: I am not bothered if you have shaved your legs or bikini line, I'm too interested in what your cervix looks like!
Mrs Julie McKenna
Advanced Nurse Practitioner
My name is Julie McKenna, I have been a Nurse for 27 years and I am currently an Advanced Nurse Practitioner at Thornfield Medical Group. I have been taking smears for 18 months after completed my training at New Croft House. In that time I've performed roughly 300 smears. I will always try to put you at ease when you come in.
If it's your first smear I will always show you and let you hold the speculum & brush so you know what it feels like if this helps ease apprehension.
Dr Roanna Gray
My Name is Dr Roanna Gray and I have been taking smears for 25 years and having my own for 30 years!
I tend to perform the more tricky smears - but these are few and far between as most are so straightforward. The examination part of the process literally lasts only a few seconds and your dignity and comfort is of maximum importance.
Dr Caroline Watson
My Name is Dr Carrie Watson. Never fear about your smear, I've been doing them for a very long time.
If you have any worries about coming in please talk to us about them as we'll try our best to address these issues and go that extra mile to make sure you can be accommodated.
I arrived at my GPs 10mins early for my appt feeling very anxious. It was my 1st smear and I had no idea what to expect. I was called in early and was put at ease straight away by my GP. She told me it's nothing new she hadn't seen before and had done this millions of times before and it would be over in minutes. It really was actually over within minutes and before my actual appt time.
I just thought a few minutes of what I thought was embarrassing at the time could save my life if anything was abnormal - totally worth it! No Pain, no need to be embarrassed and 100% worth it.
I always used to put off booking my smear test, but realised I should take my health more seriously. After my second smear test detected HPV which I didn't know I had - this cleared I was monitored more frequently so they could keep an eye on any changes.
The experience itself - yes at first I did feel a little nervous, however the Nurse quickly put me at ease, remember they do these every single day. They're not judging you; they don't care how you look -! Its' a vital medical screening that could save your life; it's not a vagina catwalk! .
I can remember being nervous before having my first smear, but the nurse was lovely and put me at ease. It wasn't uncomfortable and only took a few minutes. Definitely worth having as it could save your life!
I had a very positive first smear, was slightly anxious but the nurse made me feel really at ease. It was over within a few minutes. No pain or discomfort at all, I will definitely not be nervous for my next one!
My smear experience was very positive. I'd already had a child so I wasn't worried about people 'looking'. The nurse talked me through everything and confirmed my details. She reassured me that it wouldn't hurt, the actual test took no more than 3 minutes and there was no pain whatsoever, just an unusual feeling like someone brushing you from the inside with a cotton bud. During the procedure the nurse was making conversation to keep my mind busy.
The best advice I can give is that the more relaxed you are, the easier the speculum goes in, so having a lovely nurse who chats to you and makes you feel at ease was a big help.
I don't like having my smear but it is a quick and painless procedure. I would much rather have the inconvenience and slight embarrassment of a smear than miss a cancer. And the nurse really doesn't care whether you've shaved your legs!
I'm a terrible patient when it comes to having a smear, I used to go to my local One to One clinic for my smear as they could get me in quicker- but recently I attended my GP surgery, I was seen by a lovely Practice Nurse who took her time and made me feel very relaxed, she spoke to me throughout the procedure and made sure I was ok. I definitely preferred the experience of going to my GP over the One to One clinic.
I have a slightly tilted cervix so I was asked to lie with my hands under my bottom but the Nurse at my GP surgery was the first to explain why - which is obviously reassuring to know. In the past I have had 2 abnormal smear tests, one resulted in a punch biopsy so I think that's where my anxiety came from. Thankfully my smear results have returned to normal so it's back to every 3 years. I never look forward to a smear but I don't feel as terrified anymore thanks to that nurse.
I have had 3 smears taken now and have had no problems with any of them. I booked my appointments as soon as I got the letter in the post, however, it was a bit nerve wracking as I didn't quite know what to expect the first time.
Each time, the Practice Nurse was extremely comforting, caring and she took time to talk through the procedure with me. This allowed me to ask any questions about worries and she assured me that it wouldn't be painful, but more of a strange feeling.
The whole procedure only took a few minutes. The nurse ensured that I was comfortable throughout the procedure and gave me the option to pause or stop at any time if I wanted. The plastic speculum and gel was a bit cold, when she took the sample, it felt like a bit of scratching but it wasn't painful or uncomfortable - after that I got dressed again and left.
Several weeks later I got a letter saying the sample was HPV positive and so I went for colposcopy at the RVI. This was also a very smooth experience as it was very well organised. A nurse called Jill took me into an office type room and explained to me what she would be doing. She then showed some pictures of what a healthy cervix looked like and also what a cervix with minor, moderate and severe changes looked like. She explained that she might need to take some biopsies.
We went into another room where I was given a gown and asked to lie on the bed. She inserted another speculum with cold jelly. The nurse was able to look at my cervix with a microscope camera on a computer screen. This was helpful as when she was describing what she could see, she could point it out on the screen to me at the same time.
She explained that she wasn't worried about anything that she could see and so the procedure ended. She told that I would need my next smear in one year rather than the standard 3 years.
Follow the link below to watch Dr Roanna Gray and her daughter Jasmine discuss her personal smear experience: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=In4gf7erZmw
Some women are so worried about how 'normal' they are 'down there' that they won't come for a smear. Please don't let this put you off coming for a quick test which can literally save your life. Let us reassure you that women come in all shapes and sizes, and our smear takers have literally seen it all before! Please have a look at the great wall of vagina - this fabulous art work shows how unique we all are:
Used courtesy of https://jamiemccartney.com/portfolio/the-great-wall-of-vagina/