Post-operative communication needs of hysterectomy patients in Australia


Health affects us all and often requires us to make decisions about the kind of care we wish to receive. But the medical arena is full of scientific jargon and ‘taboo’ topics, meaning many may struggle to get the information they need when they need it most. One example in Australia is of women undergoing hysterectomy.

Hysterectomy – a complex surgery involving the removal of the uterus – is one of the most common gynaecological procedures performed worldwide. Approximately 30,000 women undergo hysterectomies in Australia annually (AIHW, n.d.). Like any surgery, hysterectomy comes with risks of short- and long-term adverse outcomes, which can be significant and costly for patients, the health care system, and society. However, doctor-patient communication tends to cease after the immediate post-surgical period of care, ironically when many questions begin to arise for patients.

Studies spanning over 20 years show women are not adequately informed to cope post-surgery (Scriven & Tucker, 1997; Gercek et al., 2016). Recent studies suggest an ongoing and unmet need for education and effective communication to help empower women during the decision-making process, and in turn enable them to assist other women (Bossick, et al., 2018). Is there a role for science communication practices in the medical context? Among other things, this thesis aims to explore the potential for different science communication models of engagement to address the unmet needs of women in this neglected space.

More information:


Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). (n.d.). Procedures data cubes.

Bossick, A. S., Sangha, R., Olden, H., Alexander, G. L., & Wegienka, G. (2018). Identifying what matters to hysterectomy patients: Postsurgery perceptions, beliefs, and experiences. Journal of Patient-Centered Research and Reviews, 5(2), 167–175.

Gercek E., Dal, N. A., Dag, H., Senveli, S. (2016). The information requirements and self-perceptions of Turkish women undergoing hysterectomy. Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences, 32(1), 165–170.
Scriven, A., & Tucker, C. (1997). The quality and management of written information presented to women undergoing hysterectomy. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 6(2), 107–113.