April 23rd, 2013
This week marks RESOLVE’s National Infertility Awareness Week blog challenge. Each year RESOLVE: The National Infertility Awareness Association, challenges both those who struggle with infertility and those who advocate on their behalf to follow a common theme and contribute a blog posting in honor of spreading awareness about infertility. This year’s theme, “Join The Movement” presents the question of how each of us in the infertility community, both patients and caregivers alike, have in our own way contributed to making the voice of the fertility patient heard loud and clear.
Over the last 6 years working in this field, I have had the pleasure of interacting with countless patients from across the country, all at different stages of their fertility journey. Working at Freedom Fertility Pharmacy has given me the unique opportunity that many nurses are not afforded; that of having an impact on patients who I most likely will not meet in person. Throughout my education I learned the importance of caring for my patients in every manner, both physically and emotionally. I learned the procedures for administering injections, dressing wounds and starting IVs. More importantly though, I learned what might be the most crucial skill that any nurse can learn: listening.
The eccentric American physician Patch Adams once said, “You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you’ll win, no matter what the outcome.” This quote is particularly impactful when thinking in terms of those individuals struggling with the disease of infertility. As with all fields of medicine, infertility can be defined in countless numbers: affecting 1 in 8 couples, 154,412 IVF cycles completed nationwide in 2011 (Source: SART) and so on. However as my days have become dedicated with educating and advocating for those who are challenged by infertility, it has become clear to me as a nurse, as I am sure it has to patients, physicians, nurses, advocates and all others involved, that it is the individuals behind those numbers who truly make an impact. As we join our patients in fighting to treat this disease it becomes rapidly evident that as much as we hope to have a positive impact on their lives, they too often leave us a little wiser than we were before.