Annette has been with Simply Fertility since March 2016 and came from a background in fertility nursing, gaining her fertility ultrasound qualification in 2013. Prior to that, she worked in General Practice and so her professional ethos has been as much about patient care, as about the fertility specialism she loves.
Her days are busy and varied. She says, “I spend much of my week engaged in follicular tracking and scanning our ladies. Most mornings I will be scanning patients, because they have three scans during treatment and early pregnancy. I advise patients on their medication, devise treatment plans and teach them how to inject themselves where required.”
This, Annette says, is fairly typical for all the Simply Fertility nurses who get to know their patients well during the course of their fertility treatment. “I manage the Patient Treatment Appointments, including the initial appointment our patients have at the clinic. The nurses here are integral to the treatment and we hold our patients’ hands, and lead them through the process, every step of the way.”
“Patients are reassured because they feel we’re on hand for them if they need to call and ask a question or when there’s an aspect of the treatment that they are apprehensive about,” she says. “For example, we assist with a procedure called an endometrial scratch. It sounds unpleasant but it’s actually really important because it improves the success rate of embryos implanting after IVF or ICSI. Having a familiar face involved with the treatment puts our patients at the ease, which is what we’re all about.”
“I feel extremely privileged to take part in each patient’s journey, from the start to the end of their treatment, providing much-needed medical care, as well as that supportive environment that they need. This extends to making sure each patient has the space and time during their appointment to ask and understand everything that is happening. Sometimes this means an appointment may overrun and I ask each patient to bear with me because I give the same opportunities to everyone I see to be fully informed and comfortable with what is happening to them.”
“I love it when our patients return as parents, bringing their new babies to meet everyone at the clinic. It’s such a time of joy and rejoicing and it often provides a real context for our families, as they recognise the journey they’ve been on, and how far they’ve come.”
Annette’s latest endeavour is creating a brand new Patient Support Group for anyone considering, starting or going through fertility treatment in the area. Although it is based at the Simply Fertility clinic in Great Baddow, it is not limited to just patients of the clinic and is open to anyone in the community experiencing fertility questions and issues, including patients having treatment elsewhere.
Annette says: “There are lots of pre and post-natal support groups for expectant and new parents but very little for those who are experiencing fertility issues or having fertility treatment.
“We identified a real gap locally and recognised that many people can feel isolated and alone when they realise that becoming pregnant and having a baby is just not happening for them. The group is just starting and we aim to be informal and a place of welcome and support. We plan on inviting guest speakers and to be somewhere where people can come for information and advice as they evaluate their options, go through treatment, meet others in a similar situation and work out how to move forwards.”