Katharine's experience as an Early Pregnancy Specialist Nurse

08 Oct 2021 | By Kerri

I’ll start by saying I love my role as Early Pregnancy Specialist Nurse, despite often having to break bad news to those who desperately don’t want to hear it. I think it is so important to explain things in a way people (and their partner/support person) can properly understand, so that there is no confusion and so that they can make informed choices about next steps and this is something I try my hardest to do. It can sometimes be emotionally draining when delivering bad news, especially when the next patients are out in the waiting room and it’s almost as if you have to wipe the slate clean and start fresh again as they deserve the same level of care. Sometimes I’ll ask if people want some time together afterwards and I may leave the room if they say yes; this gives me a few minutes to myself too. However, I am conscious that I do not want to make people feel alone at such a crucial time. 

The hospitals I have worked in during the pandemic have generally kept EPU services going, especially given that ectopic pregnancy is a time critical condition, but access to procedures/surgery for pregnancy loss has been reduced and I have found it difficult to explain to patients that they have to wait longer for management of their pregnancy loss as I empathise and understand people want ‘to move forward. I would describe a feeling of personally feeling ‘helpless’ in this situation and often I chat this through with my colleagues and find this is useful.

I am comforted by feedback and comments from patients stating that they are ‘very thankful’ or that ‘everything was explained properly and easy to understand’. I have jobs where I have had a long train journey home where I would often read, or most recently I run home and listen to music or call a friend/family member. I think some healthcare professionals would benefit from debriefs/counselling just as much as we offer it to patients sometimes and I think we do have better access to this post-pandemic but often it’s not highlighted enough. 

If you would like to share your experience please email kerri@ectopic.org.uk

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