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Are Pelvic Exams Necessary Anymore?

Tucker, Paula DNP, FNP-BC, ENP-C; Evans, Dian Dowling PhD, FNP-BC, ENP-C, FAANP, FAAN

Section Editor(s): Evans, Dian Dowling PhD, FNP-BC, ENP-C, FAANP, FAAN; Column Editor

doi: 10.1097/TME.0000000000000269

This article, “Is the pelvic examination still crucial in patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) with vaginal bleeding or abdominal pain when an intrauterine pregnancy is identified on ultrasonography? A randomized controlled trial,” by J. A. Linden et al. (2017) seeks to determine whether excluding a pelvic examination among patients presenting to the ED with first-trimester vaginal bleeding or lower abdominal pain, and indication of intrauterine pregnancy recorded on ultrasound increases morbidity. The findings are discussed in the context of changing practice and patient preference. Emergency nurse practitioners should remain informed about changing practices to ensure that patients receive safe care. Although pelvic examination does provide additional information for specific clinical conditions, the current practice to always include it in the evaluation of a pregnant patient with vaginal bleeding or pelvic pain may no longer be relevant given the improved diagnostic capabilities available within the ED setting.

Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University Atlanta, Georgia.

Corresponding Author: Paula Tucker, DNP, FNP-BC, ENP-C, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, 1520 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30322 (

Disclosure: The authors report no conflicts of interest.

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