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Fertility Nurse of the Month: Connie Stark, RNC, BS, PCE
Center for Reproductive Health, Crest Hill, IL, February 2012
FertilityAuthority is pleased to honor Chicago-area fertility nurse Connie Stark, RNC, BS, PCE, as Fertility Nurse of the Month. For more than 15 of the 26 years she has been a fertility nurse, Connie has been an IVF coordinator.
“I love, love, love what I do,” Stark says. And that’s despite the fact that infertility nursing “fell in my lap.”
Prior to becoming a fertility nurse, Stark worked as an operating room (OR) nurse. Following an accident that resulted in nerve damage in her leg, she could no longer perform in the OR. She learned a lot about loss and grieving from this experience, and, ironically, she says the process is the same for her fertility patients.“I let them know they’re validated; it’s real," Stark says. "Once we identify it, we can move forward.”
Stark explains how patients come into the fertility clinic with a fertility plan — and it doesn't turn out to be what they thought it would be.“The problem for patients is, infertility wasn’t a choice,” she says. “No one taught us how to do this,” she adds.
Stark says her role as IVF coordinator includes helping patients navigate fertility treatment from beginning to end from a clinical perspective, as well as acting as a support system. She works to integrate services and support that patients might not get otherwise, and she's a true believer in mind/body health and that the head, the heart — and even the uterus — are all connected. As such, she advocates education programs, support groups, yoga retreats and counseling services. She’s also a big proponent of Chinese medicine and works with an acupuncturist certified in reproductive endocrinology.
All of these complementary therapies help resolve decision making and wellness, according to Stark.. “I can’t tell a patient to decrease stress," she says. "What I can do is help them maintain a better lifestyle.”
Stark learned about mind/body techniques through her own personal experience. “I made a decision to be well, move forward and make changes,” she says. “The body can live what the mind tells you to do. Don’t be afraid to say: I want to be pregnant.”
Nominate Your Fertility Nurse
In honor of these hard working nurses who hold our hands throughout our fertility treatment experiences, FertilityAuthority.com will feature a dedicated fertility clinic nurse each month. You can nominate your favorite fertility clinic nurse by clicking here. We will contact you if your nurse is chosen to be our Fertility Nurse of the Month.