Paulette Alstrom-Peters is the IVF Nurse Coordinator at the Barbados Fertility Centre office in Trinidad and has been a nurse for over 30 years. As Paulette tells it, she entered the profession because she wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. “I wanted a career where every day I had a challenge and I learned something new. I wanted a profession that educated, advocated and helped others strive for a better healthy life, where I could help heal minds, bodies and spirits.”
In this month’s Nurses Corner, we asked Paulette to give patients a behind-the-scenes glimpse into what’s it is like being a nurse at BFCT, where she has worked for over seven years.
Q. What is your typical day like at Barbados Fertility Centre Trinidad?
A. Each day I make sure each and every patient is given information they need to have a smooth and pleasant experience as they go through the emotional roller coaster of their fertility treatments. Whether it’s an IUI cycle, IVF or egg donor recipient cycle. My role also includes reviewing lab results prior to final review by our doctor, working on IVF patient schedules, injection training, helping each patient understand what is requested of them. At times, I feel my role involves being the patients’ cheerleader, their therapist and at times their main “go to” person for whatever they need, as they go through the maze of their fertility treatment.
Q. What led you toward reproductive medicine? What gave you the idea that it might be something you’d be interested in?
A. I’ve always had an interest in women’s health and reproductive medicine from my early days of training. So when I moved to Trinidad (Paulette is originally from the UK) and saw a job vacancy with BFCT, I welcomed the opportunity to help couples suffering from infertility and positively change their lives. I wanted to be part of a special time in their lives.
Q. What surprised you the most about the couples you met? Did you see anything that you didn’t expect?
A. I expected to see the anxiety when they thought about if they would ever become parents, the hurt, pain and the yearning were anticipated. What I did not expect was how vulnerable all the couples and individuals were and I came to understand the meaning of resilience especially if there was a repeat cycle involved.
Q. What would you hope that every infertility patient would take away from their treatment cycle, successful or not?
I would want them to know they are not alone nor are they a failure and that we are here to help them emotionally and give comfort and support.
Q. Can you share a few things that happen at work on an almost daily basis that make you smile? That make you feel hopeful?
I feel the most hopeful when couples bring in their babies to see us and I receive emails and pictures of babies from the new parents. Knowing that you were part of helping a couple achieve their dream of becoming parents feels extremely good.
Q. Given your role, is there something you’d say to your friends and family or even strangers who might be struggling to get pregnant?
A. I’d say don’t give up on your dream of starting a family and I’d remind them that they need to seek professional help if they have been trying to conceive after one year of unprotected intercourse. I think I also say to them that it was important for them to know their AHM-Anti Mullerian Hormone egg reserve and not to lose precious time
Q. What is the best part of working with BFCT?
The best part is working for a Company that strives to be the best and make a difference in couples lives. Being able to develop a close rapport with patients which sometimes develops into a lasting friendship is also very rewarding