Background: Cervical cancer mortality rates are among the highest in the United States for Northern Plains Native American women compared with white and other Native American women. The aims of Messengers for Health, a community-based participatory research project based on the Apsáalooke (Crow Indian) Reservation, are to decrease cervical cancer screening barriers, improve knowledge regarding screening and prevention, and increase the proportion of women receiving Pap tests. This paper presents results from a survey assessing women's perceptions of the level of comfort and care received by health care providers in their most recent Pap test appointment.
Methods: A survey assessing patient communication and satisfaction with their health care providers was conducted with a random sample of 101 Apsáalooke women. Qualitative and quantitative methods were utilized to analyze the survey data.
Results: Women reported both positive and negative experiences with their provider regarding their Pap test appointments. They noted positive experiences when trust was established and when the provider offered information, reassured or encouraged them, was personable, was familiar or consistent, maintained confidentiality, and was a woman. The women reported negative experiences when the examination was too short, when they did not have a consistent or female provider, and when they did not feel comfortable with the provider's nonverbal communication.
Conclusions: Continued work with both providers and patients is necessary to decrease communication barriers and increase satisfaction with Pap test appointments.