PAP question


I'm a FNP student in my final semester. I feel like I can do PAPs all day (though I wouldn't want to) and feel comfortable with them. Today had one and she had a little bit of that curd like discharge. Put speculum in and got what I thought was the little "pop" when cervix comes to view. Again some of the curd like discharge but not much. It looked to me like she had a little chunk right at the os so I couldn't actually see the opening. Well got the swab and for whatever reason later in the day it popped in my mind about what if I made a mistake and that somehow wasn't the cervix?? (I'm an over thinker). She was there for routine check with no history of issues.

What if somehow I missed the flipping thing?? Will I just look like an idiot or does it happen? And I think I finally read somewhere that as long as she doesn't have a history of issues it'd be fine to wait until the next year. So no need for her to return.

Again I overthink things all the time. But now I'm paranoid of looking like a moron. Good thing is the other PAP today I know I got soooo guess that's show them I at least know what I'm doing.


195 Posts

Don't worry, even the best clinician won't get the cervix every time. I wonder if you'll get to see that person's results to see if you got the transition zone. I was always excited to see how I did!

anh06005, MSN, APRN, NP

1 Article; 769 Posts

Specializes in Cardiac, Home Health, Primary Care. Has 6 years experience.

Thanks for a reply! Again something just has to pop in my head and I can't stop thinking about it. Guess we will see! I'm there the whole semester so should be able to get the results too!


208 Posts

When I was a RN working in the ER I used to chaperone ER residents in the room during pap smears sometimes they give me this look and ask me if that is the cervix that they are seeing. I always tell them "its the one that looks like a doughnut" so when in doubt look for the doughnut.


118 Posts

Specializes in Family Practice, Urgent Care. Has 6 years experience.

I have without a doubt swabbed the cervix and transformation zone and had a report come back saying "transformation zone not present". My docs always say no worries. If there is cell dysplasia it will come up.

I think practitioners know what the cervix is AND what it looks like haha