Certificate in Cervical Screening for Healthcare Professionals Course


Certificate in Cervical Screening for Healthcare Professionals Course

The Northern Ireland Standards for Nurse and Midwife Education Providers: Cervical Screening Sample Taking identifies the training required in order to fulfil the role of a sample taker.

Our certificate level course delivered in Belfast, provides the principles for both the theoretical content and practical assessment in order to carry out cervical cytology screening competently. 

On successful completion of the program delegates will be able to:

  • Recognise and evaluate their role in undertaking a cervical sample as part of the Northern Ireland cervical screening programme in accordance with national and locally agreed guidelines.
  • Apply knowledge of basic anatomy and physiology to recognise the features of a healthy cervix.
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the principles and criteria for screening and apply them to cervical screening.
  • Demonstrate awareness of human papilloma virus (HPV) in relation to cervical abnormalities, the implications of the vaccination programme and the role of HPV testing in the cervical screening pathway.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the Northern Ireland call recall process to support and enhance best practice.
  • Demonstrate person centred safe and effective clinical examination of the woman, offering a chaperone and working in accordance with local policy and guidelines such as Safeguarding Adults in the assessment of any client’s capacity to provide valid consent - (Department of Health (2015) Adult Safeguarding Prevention and Protection in Partnership).
  • Use a range of professional skills to initiate effective health education and health promotion based on the health needs of the woman. 

Delegates must demonstrate knowledge, skills and critical understanding in:

  • Taking correct cervical samples from women across the screening age range.
  • Preparing adequate Liquid Based Cytology samples and dispatching safely to designated laboratory for analysis.
  • Undertaking examination procedures and relevant specimen / sample collection required of role, while observing health and safety and infection control procedures.
  • Identify common vulval, vaginal and cervical conditions.
  • Identify and evaluate situations where specialist evaluation and advice may be required.
  • Interpret and convey clear and accurate results and findings to the woman and consult and refer as appropriate.
  • Seek clarification in understanding the findings where needed e.g. laboratory, relevant colleague.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the current management and treatment options for women with abnormal cervical screening results.
  • Using a learning log, critically analyse this written audit of own supervised and unsupervised cervical samples. 

The following criteria must be met in order for applicants to commence on this short course: 

Currently employed in general practice as a registered adult nurse:


Currently employed within secondary care in a colposcopy or CASH clinic:


Supported by employer and have access to completing 20 cervical samples.

Delegates are expected to name a supervisor for clinical practice that has trained in cervical cytology as part of their initial professional training or successfully completed a recognised training programme on cervical cytology screening. In addition, a supervisor should be a current cervical sampler (smear taker) and can demonstrate they have kept their knowledge and skills up to date. 

All delegates are required to complete a competent cervical screening service in clinical practice which is observed in a final assessment by their clinical supervisor.