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Fertility Nurse of the Month: Tamara Ward, NP-C
Center of Reproductive Medicine, Webster, TX, April 2011
“I could not have a better job,” says Tamara Ward. As a Nurse Practitioner and the Clinical Director for the Center of Reproductive Medicine (CORM), a Houston, Texas fertility clinic, Ward laughs when asked what a “typical day” is like.
Here’s a snapshot of what a day might entail for this busy fertility clinic nurse. Ward oversees the fertility clinic and its new onsite surgery center, the CORM Surgery Center. She also performs medical procedures such as hysterosalpingograms, hysterosonograms and IVF cycle management ultrasounds; performs physical exams on participants in the fertility clinic’s research studies; screens all potential egg donors and manages their care once they’re in a donor egg cycle; and works with patients who have achieved pregnancy through their first trimester. And then there’s the management piece of her role, supervising a staff of nurses and medical assistants.
“The surgery center is something that we are very proud of,” Ward says. The CORM Surgery Center handles all of the fertility clinic’s IVF cases — retrievals and transfers, hysteroscopy, and D and Cs. A urology group also utilizes the surgery center, and CORM works closely with them to do testicular sperm extraction (TESE) and sperm biopsies. Currently Ward is working through the policies and procedures for the surgery center, preparing for accreditation.
“And we’re getting ready to do hysterosalpingograms (HSG) in the office which is very exciting for us, so our patients don’t have to go outside the office or to another facility,” Ward says. “Our goal is to keep as much as we can here, because this is where they’re comfortable.
“I’ve been through infertility, I can truly understand the emotional aspects of it,” Ward continues. "Not only is it emotionally trying, but you’re on hormones, and juggling work. I try to make a point to get to know [patients and egg donors] to where they feel comfortable coming in and comfortable with their care here, because it can be so stressful."
One of Ward’s biggest clinical responsibilities is working with pregnant patients through their first trimester. “They’re very nervous about their pregnancy, and many have gone through a lot to get to this point. They may have suffered multiple miscarriages and so they’re extremely nervous,” she says. “My goal is to educate them.”
In addition, Ward says, “I try to be proactive in helping them prevent diabetes and hypertension — testing people I feel are at risk for those particular problems.”
Ward sees a lot of overweight patients and a prevalence of patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). “I think over half of the patients we see need to lose weight, and that’s the hardest thing to do — to lose weight and find time to exercise. My next goal is to put together a program to teach people how to eat, how to exercise, and help PCOS patients with weight loss and nutrition. I see patients with high BMIs (body mass index) and overweight — and I think, ‘how am I going to help you not get diabetes?’”
Ward is excited to see what the next five years will look like for the fertility clinic practice and its continued growth and expansion. “I don’t have a lot of turnover here,” Ward says, “but when I do hire a new nurse, I tell them, ‘Ninety percent of your job is patient education, holding their hand, listening to what they have to say — spending that extra time with them that maybe the doctors don’t have.’” “She modestly adds, ‘I have some wonderful nurses who deserve [Fertility Nurse of the Month] more than me.’”
Fertility Authority is pleased to recognize Tamara Ward as Fertility Nurse of the Month.
Nominate Your 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 Nurse of the Month.