Two evenings in the past two weeks I’ve learned how to do male and female genital exams. When I told my sister about it, her response was, “Naturopaths can do pap smears?”
Yes! Naturopathic physicians are primary care providers, so we learn how to do genital exams, including checking the prostate for men, and doing pelvic exams and pap smears for women. Naturopathic physicians can legally, in some licensed states, offer these services to their patients.
Up until this point, we have been practicing and learning all the standard physical exams on classmates. One of my concerns for several trimesters was if practicing these genital exams would be the same way. Rest assured, students are NOT on the receiving end of this procedure. What a relief! The university hires highly trained individuals who work with all the medical schools in the Chicago area. They aren’t healthcare professionals, but they receive yearly education on how to instruct us in proper positioning, technique, and language to put patients (and ourselves) at ease.
Using non-invasive terminology was heavily stressed. For example, instead of saying palpate, feel, or touch, it’s important to use terms that can’t be misconstrued, such as inspect, check, and examine (ICE is the acronym.) Also, when reporting the exam findings, instead of saying “everything looks great”, we were instructed to say everything looks healthy and normal.
I feel more confident and comfortable with these procedures now that I’ve practiced them. Since all the medical schools in the area receive training from the same group of individuals, I know we are on par with conventional medical students.