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Fertility Nurse of the Month: Jennifer Giordano, RN
Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science (IRMS) at Saint Barnabas, Livingston, NJ, December 2011
FertilityAuthority is pleased to honor Jennifer Giordano, R.N., as Fertility Nurse of the Month. Giordano is an experienced IVF nurse at the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science (IRMS) at Saint Barnabas, a fertility clinic with three locations in New Jersey. At IRMS, one of her primary roles is educating patients and couples about infertility and fertility treatment throughout the entire process.
“This is a complicated process full of anxiety and unknowns for the patients," Giordano says. "I want to make things easier to understand. I aim to help them be better informed and describe what lies ahead."
The Path to Fertility Nursing
Giordano, who grew up in New Jersey, is a graduate of Rutgers University with a BS in Public Health. She then went on to the Muhlenberg School of Nursing, where she graduated in 1997.
Giordano worked as a medical assistant in a psychiatric hospital and then began her career in behavioral health nursing after obtaining her degree. "I did psychiatric nursing for about one year, then moved to postpartum, nursery, and labor and delivery," she explains.
She also worked as a traveling RN. "This gave me the opportunity to travel around the United States," she says. "Some of the places I worked at were Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, California, and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia."
After working in maternal/fetal medicine for a few years, she made a move into the fertility arena. "I always had an interest in women's health care," she says. "I started in the newborn nursery, took care of postpartum and antepartum patients, did step down NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) for a time, and then labor and delivery. The move to fertility felt natural after doing so much to take care of new families — I wanted to now focus on helping create and make those families."
Fertility Treatment Education
IRMS offers patients with infertility a wide range of advanced fertility treatments, including intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), blastocyst transfer, preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), egg or embryo freezing, or egg donation. Giordano's day starts early at 6:30 a.m. "Throughout the day, the physicians have schedules, and as the nurse I see the patients afterwards," Giordano says. "I follow up on testing the patients have done, and do orientation classes and medication training for all types of fertility treatment cycles."
Educating patients, a large part of Giordano's job, is an ongoing process. "It's not a process that happens just once, but from the initial consult until the day of discharge to an obstetrician," she explains.
Her teaching focuses on not only the individual, but the couple going through infertility. "We have to remember to include all aspects in our teaching plan," she says. "Some of the education involves assisting in organizing their cycles, giving them emotional support through the process and afterwards, and just answering any little question that comes up."
She finds that her background in behavioral health, as well as maternal/fetal medicine, is helpful in her role as patient educator in the fertility world. "Patients who come through a fertility center have their own medical histories, and having a background in a variety of areas assists my teaching methods."
Her experiences as a travel nurse have also been helpful. "Travel nursing was a great experience not only to meet new people and see how things are done elsewhere, but as short-term assignments, it enabled me to learn quickly and really become comfortable meeting and talking to new people," she says. "I believe that is one of the vital steps that provided me with the tools to become a good educator."
Helping Patients Physically and Emotionally
Fertility nursing is not without its challenges, according to Giordano. "Just balancing the day can be a challenge," she says, "but it always gets done! As a nurse in general, we tend to be all things to all patients. Working in fertility, we are teachers, therapists, receptionists and sometimes friends."
Still, it is a career that is very rewarding. "Of course being able to tell someone they are pregnant or discharging them to their obstetrician can bring great joy," she says. "Or when they follow up a year later with a picture and announcement of the new addition to their family, [it] always makes me smile.
"But no matter the outcome," she continues, "knowing I did all I could to help someone physically and emotionally through the fertility process makes me feel like I've accomplished something."
Giordano's ability to gently guide patients through and educate them about the fertility process is apparent in her work as an IVF nurse at IRMS. FertilityAuthority congratulates Jennifer Giordano on being recognized as Fertility Nurse of the Month.
Nominate Your Fertility Nurse
In honor of these hard working nurses who hold our hands throughout our treatment experiences, FertilityAuthority.com will feature a dedicated infertility clinic nurse each month. You can nominate your favorite clinic nurse by clicking here. We will contact you if your nurse is chosen to be our Fertility Nurse of the Month.