‘Talking about fertility’ with Practice Nurse, Samantha Read

‘Talking about fertility’ with Practice Nurse, Samantha Read


My name is Sam Reid and I’m a
practice nurse and I specialise in sexual health and women’s health. So it’s
important to remember that women attend the general practice for any reason, so
they may just be attending for vaccination or another health condition
and it’s always important to remember that you can introduce the topic of
their fertility at any point. So they might, for example, might be
attending for their pap smear and they may only be coming in for that pap smear every two years. It’s a really good opportunity to perhaps say to the woman, have you thought about having children in the future? Do you have any
children already? And as part of that you can introduce the topic of weight
management. So when I see women in general practice I might be seeing them
for a pap smear, it gives me an opportunity to talk about their health
screen such as breast awareness and ask them about their fertility, so if
they’re concerned about their weight and their body mass index might be high, I’m
able to ask some questions like is your weight a concern for you? Have you
thought about ways that you’re able to look at your lifestyle to reduce your
weight? And I really find that women are often really grateful that you’ve
actually asked the question. Sometimes it’s really the conversation that they
needed to make really effective changes. As a practice nurse you’re able to
provide a really patient-centered approach and you’re also able to spend
more time with your patients and give them an opportunity to come back. Most
general practices will provide the visits to the nurses free of charge or
bulk billed under Medicare and that gives you a really strong opportunity to
give your patients the chance to come back and see you regularly. So you might
decide together upon a few small changes, it’s really important not to overwhelm
the patient initially with a huge change to their diet or lifestyle. So they may
decide to change the type of breakfast that they’re having or reduce the amount of sugar, increase their exercise you know two three times
a week instead of once a week. Just really small changes can have a really
big effect on their weight and their health, and so you’re able to offer them
the chance to come back and they really tend to appreciate that.
Also making sure that they understand that you’re not going to
belittle them or give them a hard time if they haven’t lost any weight. As a
nurse and the general practice it’s important to look at a patient as a
whole and consider their health literacy. They may be a patient who identifies as
Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and there are systems in place to support
the practice in identifying those patients, such as the closing the gap
program, which also gives the patients opportunity to access the dietitians
perhaps physiotherapy or it’s a exercise physiology at a lower cost.
They’re also able to work one-to-one with the access worker or an outreach
worker to look at ways that they’re able to maintain a healthy weight and
increase their chances of fertility. So it’s important to consider the cultural
factors. There may also be other health issues such as polycystic ovarian
syndrome and we know that that’s closely linked with obesity and other factors
such as contraception. It may be that they’ve been on the contraceptive
injection for years and actually haven’t had that health education about the fact
that that can delay the return to their fertility, so the nurses can play a
really vital role in empowering women about their health. you


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