Objective: to describe women's expectations of doctors and nurses during gynaecological examination, to identify if women have a preference for the doctor's gender, to investigate women's feelings during examination, and to determine why women consult the gynaecological outpatient clinic.
Design: a descriptive and cross-sectional study using a questionnaire administered face to face.
Setting: this study was performed with women recruited from those making an appointment for gynaecological examination at the gynaecological outpatient clinic at Manisa Maternity and Child Hospital between September 2004 and February 2005.
Participants: four hundred and thirty-three women who applied to the gynaecological outpatient clinic at Manisa Maternity and Child Hospital.
Measurements: the questionnaire included questions about the women's socio-demographic and reproductive characteristics, feelings with regard to pelvic examination, expectations of doctors and nurses during gynaecological examination, preferences regarding the gender of the physician, and the reason for the gynaecological examination.
Findings: more than one-half of women felt anxious or worried about their health situation during the pelvic examination (54.8%), and 41.8% of women said that they were embarrassed about having to undress. 45.5% of women reported that they would prefer a female doctor, only 4.2% of women would prefer a male doctor in their obstetric and gynaecological care, and the remaining women (49.9%) expressed no preference. Most women (62.1%) expected the doctor to explain their health situation after examination. 71.8% of women said that the nurse should have an understanding and gentle manner, and 28.2% of women stated that the nurse should offer information to the patient about the pelvic examination.
Key conclusions: it was very important for the women to participate through receiving information during the gynaecological examination. When treated with respect, the women were able to have a positive relationship with the staff. This encourages the women to attend clinics for their own health needs. Gynaecological examination is an essential part of gynaecological care and the most common procedure in gynaecological practice. Many women in the world will have a gynaecological examination several times during their lives, from youth to old age. This study could contribute to improve health programmes to make the gynaecological examination situation more positive for women.