Words of wisdom from fertility nurse Brandi Oude Alink, part 2

The following is the second 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. Click here to read the first post if you missed it!

Have you ever wondered what the hardest part of my job is? The hardest part of my job is not knowing the exact right thing to say at the exact right time. That’s it! Straight from the source. I walk a constant tightrope having to balance truth with realism, honesty with optimism. For every negative statistic I give you, I have a story of someone who beat the odds.

So how do I tell you that your lab results are terrible and your pregnancy rate is very low…but you might still get pregnant? How do I counsel you on whether or not to do another cycle? I don’t want you to waste your valuable resources–financial and emotional– but another cycle just might work. Some patients want the honest truth; others have such severe anxiety that any mention of something negative might trigger a nervous breakdown. I know you hang on every word I say and sometimes I feel like I can’t win. Please know that I’m trying my best!

The most difficult part of my job is not being able to take away your pain. It breaks my heart seeing you in tears and knowing the pain and fear that you feel. I want you to know how much I truly care about you, how deeply I feel your pain and that I will do anything I can to help. Please talk to me. Tell me what I can do. I’m here for you!

So what does a nurse like me like? Hugs. Pictures of your babies. Thank you notes are awesome. Even a thank you email works! It totally brightens up my day. Gifts are not necessary. (But who are we kidding? Everyone enjoys a good cookie!) And in a few cases, I love an apology, if one is warranted. Part of my job is to be tough when you’re taking your frustration out on me, and that’s OK. But at the end of the day, we have the same goal in mind: getting you pregnant.

Obviously my wish is for you to get pregnant. I hope you don’t have a miscarriage. In fact, I wish magical baby dust on all of you! As for me, I wish you would keep in touch with me going forward, by letting me know about your pregnancy and your birth. And I really wish patients who adopt would keep in touch with me and share their stories too. Even if you’re not continuing treatment with me, I really do want to know!