Words of wisdom from fertility nurse Brandi Oude Alink, part 1

The following is the first of a two-part post from guest blogger Brandi Oude Alink, WHNP (Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner). Brandi is a nurse practitioner at Women’s Healthcare Specialists in Kansas City, MO and has worked with patients suffering from infertility for over 10 years.

First, let me say that I’ve been where you are. I’ve been through the years of trying, financial worries, marital headaches, torturous miscarriages, shots, procedures, and lots and lots and lots of tears. So maybe my perspective is not the same as every fertility nurse’s perspective, but I’d venture to guess that our consensus is basically the same. I’d like to offer a few tips and some insight into the nurse/patient relationship. These may be especially helpful if you are just getting started with your medical treatment.

Patients often apologize for asking me questions; afraid their questions are silly or bothersome. Don’t apologize! That’s what I’m here for! My job is to support you and teach you and get you through every step of your treatment. I love it when you ask questions…it makes me feel smart and needed! All joking aside, I am fully prepared to come to work and answer questions all day long. Patients usually only make mistakes when they DON’T ask me questions.

Along the lines of questions being asked, I don’t mind if your husband calls me to report your period. I’m glad he’s involved in the process and is brave enough to say the word “period.” However, there are times it really makes sense for me to hear from you, first-hand. For example, if you’re in pain after a procedure, I need to hear your voice and hear the description of your pain. He can dial the phone, but then tell me about it in your own words. I know this is a team effort, but there are times when I need to hear it from the patient herself.

The treatment protocol can seem overwhelming and downright foreign. Take a breath and read your instructions. And then reread them. You don’t have to understand every word or memorize them, and I never mind if you want to review them with me. You have to be your own best advocate…and reading, asking questions and understanding medical instructions is part of that.