Nurse Types / Fertility Nurse
One of the reasons being a nurse is so exciting is that your career path can lead you to so many interesting specialties. Working as a fertility nurse is no exception. This area of nursing allows you to be involved in a special and meaningful time in many peoples’ lives: achieving pregnancy and the joy of planning for a new baby.
To help you learn more about fertility nursing and whether it’s a good fit for you, Incredible Health put together a guide to becoming a fertility nurse in 3 steps. We’ll explain:
- What is a fertility nurse?
- What do fertility nurses do?
- Where do fertility nurses work?
- What are specific types of fertility nurses?
- How do you become a fertility nurse in 3 steps?
- What are additional requirements of fertility nurses?
- What are the salary and career outlooks for fertility nurses?
What is a fertility nurse?
Fertility nurses specialize in the newest reproductive technologies available to assist people with fertility concerns. The field of reproductive medicine includes procedures such as:
- IVF (in-vitro fertilization)
- Egg donation
- Treating infertility
- Managing issues due to puberty or menopause
- Preserving fertility
Qualities of a successful fertility nurse
Because they are working in a specialty that often involves precise details and emotional topics, a successful fertility nurse must have these special qualities:
- Love of teaching
- Good communication skills
- Sympathy and compassion
- Knack for research
- High level of attention to detail
- Excellent organizational skills
- Willingness to learn new things
What do fertility nurses do?
Fertility nurses work with women experiencing infertility, couples struggling with conception issues, and women who are having problems related to menopause.
Sometimes also called reproductive nurses or IVF nurses, they help teach people how to manage reproductive health. They also work with the rest of the medical team on behalf of their patients.
A day in the life of a fertility nurse
On a typical shift, a fertility nurse will perform varied tasks that all include a high level of communication with patients. This includes assessment, education, and counseling. In addition to helping patients understand and fully participate in their treatment plan, a fertility nurse will:
- Interview patients for important details related to care
- Collect labs such as blood and urine for testing
- Assist with ultrasound procedures
- Assist doctors with examinations
- Keep a detailed record of patient care
- Call patients with lab results
- Assist with embryo transfers and intrauterine insemination (IUI)
- Teach medication administration to patients
- Show patients how to use ovulation kits
- Offer emotional support to patients
Common conditions treated by fertility nurses
There are several reproductive and fertility-related conditions that fertility nurses treat. They include:
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Infertility due to complications of cancer treatment
- Congenital uterine abnormalities
- Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI)
- Primary ovarian failure (POF)
Where do fertility nurses work?
As a fertility nurse, you can expect to work in various clinic-related settings. These can be private practices or part of a larger fertility center. They include:
- Fertility clinics
- Obstetric and gynecology (OB/GYN) clinics
- Research labs
- Egg donation centers
- Reproductive counseling clinics
What are specific types of fertility nurses?
There are a few different areas of special focus in fertility nursing. Along with general fertility care as described above, you may also choose to work in one of these specific roles:
- Fertility research nurse- helps collect data from labs and patient interviews that will be used to develop cutting-edge fertility treatments.
- Fertility nurse counselor- meets with patients to discuss treatment options, including pros and cons of treatment. They may also educate patients on how to participate in treatment at home.
- In-vitro fertility (IVF) nurse- these nurses work closely with patients and doctors in providing in-vitro fertilization services to help patients conceive.
- Fertility nurse practitioner- trained as advanced practice nurses, these nurses have a minimum of a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in nursing. They work under supervising physicians to help with fertility issues by performing examinations, procedures, and writing prescriptions.
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Closely related fields
There are a few other nursing specialties that are closely related to fertility nursing. You may even be working in one of these:
How do you become a fertility nurse in 3 steps?
You may be a seasoned nurse considering changing your nursing specialty to fertility nursing. Or you might be a new grad excited to pursue this specific niche. Either way, there are some steps you’ll need to take to become a fertility nurse.
Step 1 – Become a registered nurse
If you have experience, you’re lucky enough to have made it through a rigorous nursing program. If you’re new to nursing, you’ll have to go through this process to become a nurse before you can earn a license, gain experience, and apply for your first fertility nurse role.
Earn a BSN degree
To get your nursing license, higher education is a requirement. At a minimum, an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) education is necessary, but a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is preferred by most employers. To earn this degree, you can take a few paths:
- Earn a BSN as your initial degree
- Earn an ADN, and then enroll for your RN to BSN, which counts your ADN credits towards your BSN degree
- Enroll in an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program. If you have a degree in another field this allows you to use those college credits to graduate with a BSN more quickly
Pass the NCLEX exam
Once you’ve earned your degree, you have one last hurdle to pass to officially hold the title of registered nurse – the NCLEX exam.
This examination proves all your hard work in nursing school has given you the skills you need to practice nursing as a new grad nurse. With a passing score, you can receive your license from your state board of nursing.
Step 2 – Accumulate experience
Most nursing specialty roles require some experience to apply. Fertility nursing is no exception. By actively practicing nursing in a more general role like med-surg nursing you will polish some skills and gain some experience.
Helpful skills and experience
The skills you learn in nursing school are the perfect start to mastering your first role as a nurse. You’ll need to hone these skills to become a fertility nurse:
- Good interviewing skills
- Ability to be non-judgemental about sensitive topics
- Empathy for difficult health concerns
- Ability to teach complex information to patients
- Excellent attention to detail
- Clear communication skills
Changing specialty to a fertility nurse
After you have some practical experience under your belt, your resume will stand out when you apply for a fertility nurse position.
If you’re looking to move from a position such as med-surg, be sure to highlight skills like patient assessment and education and any involvement in emerging science that shows you are adaptable to learning new medical technology.
Step 3 – Obtain certifications
Another boost to your resume when you apply to a fertility nurse role is specialized certifications.
For fertility nurses, the Nurse’s Professional Group (NPG) through the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) offers a certificate course in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI).
Earning certifications like the REI certification shows that you have the specialized knowledge required for a fertility nurse role.
What are additional requirements of fertility nurses?
Healthcare is always advancing, and this is especially true in reproductive medicine. To stay up to date on these advances, a fertility nurse should expect to spend time each year on continuing education (CE) requirements. Incredible Health offers free continuing education courses to help meet your needs.
What are the salary and career outlooks for fertility nurses?
The current average annual salary for a fertility nurse is $98,656. The job outlook for registered nurses overall is excellent, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting a growth of 9% between 2020 and 2030. This can vary from state to state, so you’ll want to consider this factor when contemplating your career outlook for your state.
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Wondering what other nurses already in the fertility nurse role think about their job? It may be helpful to talk to experienced nurses and ask for feedback on this specialty. Think about some questions you might have about the role and be sure to ask when you have the opportunity during an interview!
Advancing your nursing career is important, and as a fertility nurse, this is true as well. Once you’re established as a fertility nurse, you can use a few strategies to continue an upward trajectory with your career goals.
Sometimes relocating to a top-paying city for nurses can help boost your salary. You can also advance your degree to a master’s level to become a nurse practitioner in fertility medicine. Further specializing in an area like fertility research can sometimes offer higher pay as well.
No matter which direction you choose to take, joining the exciting specialty of fertility nursing is sure to make your nursing career interesting and rewarding!
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