International Women's Day

Today is International Women’s day and at RHG we decided to mark it by talking to some female members of our team about what working in fertility means to them, what they find rewarding and advice they would give to other women about starting out in a similar role.

We start with our interim CEO, Jenny Dobbs.

Jenny DobbsInternational Women’s Day (March 8) sees many organizations celebrate and applaud the work and achievements of women.

As Interim CEO of IVFLIFE Reproductive Health Group Clinic I consider it my absolute privilege to work with a team of amazing women to provide fertility treatments for many other amazing women (&men).

Over the years that I have worked in infertility I have met so many strong women who are relentless in their quest to have a baby.

Today provides an opportunity to applaud and celebrate the achievements of women, across the globe, who are dedicated to helping other women to achieve their dream of having a baby.

Today I want to applaud the bravery of these women and to shout out to all my female colleagues working in infertility.

To our patients you have my total admiration. To my colleagues Thank you & keep up the good work.

Jenny Dobbs, Interim CEO

 

Karen SchnaufferWhat does working in a fertility clinic mean to you?
I always knew I wanted to be an Embryologist and I’ve never looked back. After nearly 30 years working in fertility I still love all aspects, the interaction with patients, the science and the importance of appreciating that it is the whole team that make us successful.

What aspect of your role is the most rewarding?
Helping couples achieve their dream is the best thing about being an Embryologist. For many we are their last hope of having a family and there is nothing better than hearing about a positive pregnancy test or the birth of a baby for our patients, it is the most wonderful news and it gives me a real sense of having done something that really matters.

What would you advise people looking to start out in a role like yours?
Be prepared for the most wonderful journey working with likeminded professionals. It’s definitely not just a job but a vocation which at times takes over your life. The field of assisted conception is like a family where there is always someone willing to help, support or advise if required.

What are you most looking forward to about the future?
The field of assisted conception is a relatively young science and is constantly changing with the implementation and use of new technologies. There are many promising techniques that over the next few years may change how we work forever, such as the introduction of automation in embryology and clinical practice , areas that are seeing huge development and possibilities, as are the ongoing improvements in embryo culture and selection of embryos. It’s a very exciting time!

Karen Schnauffer, Laboratory Director & HFEA Person Responsible

 

Suzanne LoughlinWhat does working in a fertility clinic mean to you?
I feel privileged to be part of a patient’s / couples fertility journey. Working in a fertility clinic allows you to meet women/ couples in their goal to achieve a family. Helping and supporting them in all aspects of their journey is key to being a Fertility nurse.

What aspects of your role is the most rewarding?
Getting to know our patients on an individual basis. Being there for emotional and clinical support is very rewarding. Understanding and reassuring our patient’s is a very important part of our role.

What would you advise people looking to start out in a role like yours?
To have a genuine interest in women’s health. A background in Gynaecology nursing, sexual health/ family planning is a good basis to start off. Being able to communicate well and have a caring nature.

What are you most looking forward to about the future?
Expanding our Fertility clinic to assist and help many more families in the future. Making the fertility journey an exciting and enjoyable experience for all our patients. To finally be able to meet our 2020/ 2021 babies after this pandemic. We always encourage our new families to come and visit us.

Suzanne Loughlin, Clinic Manager

 

What does working in a fertility clinic mean to you?
Working in a fertility clinic is special, I believe the support and care we offer the patients is what helps them through a tough and emotional journey. Meeting the baby’s and knowing the journey they have gone through to be here is so rewarding.

What aspect of your role is the most rewarding?
Being a point of contact for patients, I may work in Finance but I always encourage the patients to let me know if they need my support. To me having a connection with the patients makes them feel supported and you build a trust.

What would you advise people looking to start out in a role like yours?
You need to care, this not just a job. It’s an emotional rollercoaster for each patient and they are all different support and care is key. You need to treat patients like they are you own family. The job is very rewarding but also can be hard when the outcome is not so good.

What are you most looking forward to about the future?
Seeing the clinic grow and continuing the support and care we offer the patients. We are a big family and I want to ensure we can offer new patients a special journey.

Danielle Featherstone, Financial Affairs Executive

 

Kirstine DaviesWhat does working in a fertility clinic mean to you?
I feel privileged to be working in a fertility clinic, being involved in a patient’s fertility journey and helping them to achieve their dream of becoming a parent. I feel it is important to deliver a good patient experience including offering support and reassurance throughout their journey which can be physically, emotionally and financially challenging for a patient.

What aspect of your role is the most rewarding?
Helping to support patients through their journey is rewarding as I am aware that patients put their future and their dreams in the hands of the clinic. I also manage the pregnancy diary and am lucky enough to share their joy when a baby is born. I am delighted when patients say that they hold us in high regard when they have children and introduce us to their beautiful babies.

What would you advise people looking to start out in a role like yours?
If you are passionate about helping people, a job in the healthcare industry can be one of the most rewarding career choices. I would advise people looking to start out to gain experience working with the public in some similar role.

What are you most looking forward to about the future?
I see RHG Manchester IVF Life Group growing and developing and look forward to offering IVF’s best technologies, fertility services and care to patients.

Karen Dickens, Care Coordinator

 

Kirstine DaviesWhat does working in a fertility clinic mean to you?
Having been through IVF myself, I feel able to empathise and offer support to those who are embarking on a similar journey.

What aspect of your role is the most rewarding?
Being there for those who need me in a supportive capacity.

What would you advise people looking to start out in a role like yours?
I would start by asking yourself if you are a ‘people person’. If you are, this role is ideal for you.

What are you most looking forward to about the future?
Continuing to support both colleagues and patients alike.

Kirstine Davies, HR & Facilities Manager

 

Jamie ForsterWhat does work in a fertility clinic mean to you?
Working in clinic is very different than private practice because it allows me to be a more discernible part of the clinical team which helps me participate more closely in the patient’s wider fertility journey. It is wonderful to be able to offer a comforting smile to nervous patients waiting for the first appointment or offer that reassuring word on their way into various appointments, I believe this makes counselling support more accessible for all the patients. It also means I can support my colleagues as they ride the highs and lows of treatment along with their patients. Fertility treatment is an incredible experience for patients, and I love to be a part of the whole journey.

What aspect of your role is most rewarding?
The most rewarding aspect of my role is being able to sit with another human being and offer an element of comfort during, what might be, one of the most stressful and intense points of their entire life. To be trusted in this way is so humbling, and the courage I witness every single day motivates me and pushes me harder, to be the very best I can be, in both my personal and professional life. I view my role as counsellor as a huge honour and is a responsibility I take very seriously.

What would you advise people looking to start out in a role like yours?
Fertility counselling is a highly sensitive and specific niche that requires a good awareness of the countless ways infertility affects one’s life. A solid understanding of the nature of relationships, trauma and loss will certainly help when working with fertility patients. My advice would be to start learning those general counselling skills by enrolling on a reputable counselling course and then seek out a mentor with BICA to help guide you along the path into this specialist field. It does not happen overnight and requires a huge amount of sacrifice and willingness to fight for your place in this sector, but the result is the ultimate reward and is certainly some of the most satisfying and fulfilling work that I do.

What are you most looking forward to about the future?
The future for this field is so bright, technology seems to be advancing at fast rate, helping more people than ever before, fulfil their family dreams. Organisations such as the HFEA and clinics such as RHG continue to prioritise patient support and understand that the supporting the emotional needs of the patients is a fundamental aspect of treatment. My personal ambition is to continue working hard supporting individual clients as they move through their fertility journey, and hopefully my work within the field of fertility counselling will contribute to the development of the counselling provision in clinics across the sector and beyond.

Jamie Forster, RHG Fertility Counselling Partner