Women's Health Knowledge and Skills Among Transitional Year Internship-Trained Military Medical Officers Serving as Independent Health Care Providers

TitleWomen's Health Knowledge and Skills Among Transitional Year Internship-Trained Military Medical Officers Serving as Independent Health Care Providers
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsHeitmann, Ryan J., Crystal B. Hammons, and Alison L. Batig
JournalMilitary Medicine
Start Page1808
Date Published07/2017

Women comprise 14.5% of active duty service members. Delivery of women's health services is a critical component to personal, medical, and mission readiness. Our objective was to evaluate the knowledge, skills, and practices pertaining to basic elements of women's/reproductive health issues among transitional internship-trained general medical officers in the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Materials and Methods: This is a cross-sectional survey study of transitional internship-trained graduates from 2012 to 2015 who transitioned to an operational assignment as an independent provider after internship graduation. The study involved an anonymous 21-question survey evaluating aspects of knowledge and practice related to basic reproductive health care services (contraceptive provision, cervical cancer, and chlamydia screening). Thirty-four of 62 (55%) eligible physicians completed the survey. The majority (85%) of respondents were male; 71% practiced at troop or unit-based clinic outside a hospital setting. Among the respondents, 97% cared for female service members within their patient population; one respondent (3%) reported no female service members in their patient population. Most respondents (82%) reported provision of contraceptive services to female patients of reproductive age. The copper intrauterine device (IUD) was least comfortably discussed. Less than half of the respondents were trained to place either the copper or levonorgestrel IUD or the etonogestrel contraceptive implant. Seventy-six percent of respondents performed cervical cancer screening and 79% performed chlamydia screening in their female patient population. Among the respondents, 15% did not offer cervical cancer and 12% did not offer chlamydia screening in their practice. Eighty-eight percent of the respondents correctly identified the recommended age at which to begin cervical cancer screening and 64% correctly identified the aged-based recommendation and interval to screen for chlamydia. Conclusion: Our survey conveyed that the majority of respondents were comfortable discussing self-administered methods (combined contraceptives); fewer were comfortable discussing or had training to place the more efficacious, longer-acting methods. Although screening services specific to female health are offered, the uniform provision of these basic services appears to be inconsistent among our surveyed population of first-line health care providers. Our study identifies potential areas for refinement in transitional year medical training that could translate to enhanced female medical and mission readiness. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

Short TitleMilitary Medicine
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