Oneikah Sergeant-Richards

Oneikah Sergeant-Richards

St. Vincent & the Grenadines

Title: Knowledge of breast cancer: A study of the Primary Health Care (PHC) nurses of the Caribbean Island of St Vincent and the Grenadines


Philip Onuoha has served in many capacities including Programme Director of Health Sciences Degree Programme, and Head of School of Allied Health and Nursing. He completed his PhD in 2003. His research areas are in but not limited to Continuing professional education of health staff and chronic disease management. He supervised and continues to supervise a number of graduate students in Nursing and Health Education and has published in many reputable peer-reviewed journals. He is currently the Acting Director, University of the West Indies School of Nursing, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago.


Background: Breast cancer is a leading cause of death both in the less and more developed countries. Early detection of breast cancer has been shown to significantly reduce mortality rates, yet many women fail to receive screening. Primary health care nurses are uniquely positioned to role model screening behaviours, educate clients on performance of breast self-examination and perform other screening activities. During the period 2007-2011 one hundred and ten (110) new cases of breast cancer were identified here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). Of this, females constituted 106 (96.3%), while a minute number of men (4 = 3.7%) were diagnosed within this time frame (HIU, 2012 & 2013). Purpose: To determine the knowledge, self-efficacy and breast cancer screening practices of Primary Health Care Nurses (PHCNs) in SVG. The effects of interpersonal and situational influences on PHCNs’ participation in breast screening activities were also examined. Methods: This study utilized a non-experimental, descriptive survey design. Quota proportionate sampling was used to select 62 PHC Nurses working in the 9 health districts of SVG. The instrument consisted of researchers’-developed questionnaire consisting primarily of objective-type items which assessed knowledge of breast cancer, self-efficacy and breast cancer screening practices. Microsoft Excel 2007 and IBM PASW (SPSS) Version 22 were used to determine and confirm the results of this study. Findings: With 62 of the targeted 70 nurses responding, PHC nurses had poor knowledge of breast cancer. There was no statistically significant relationship between levels of awareness of breast cancer and respondents’ age, experience or professional qualification. Implications for practice: Continuous education and training are required to increase nurses’ levels of awareness of breast cancer. Organizational support and policies are essential in ensuring consistency and standardization of breast cancer screening practices. Replication of this study will validate initial findings and provide greater insight into the phenomenon.