In fertility treatments, the care relationships with patients are strong. Nurses are a notable part of the care team, being highly involved both in planning the treatments and supporting the patient throughout the journey. Pia Rönkkö has been a nurse at Väestöliitto Fertility Clinic Helsinki for over seven years. She is also one of the Kaiku Health super users. Read more about her daily drivers and challenges below, and learn how measuring the quality of life makes her work more effective.
Tell us a bit more about your role at the clinic. What are your tasks?
“I am in charge for finding the fitting egg donors for the women who can’t get pregnant with their own germ cells. In practice, after the donor has been identified we propose the next receiver from the waiting list whose menstrual cycle and looks match with the donor. Then we prepare the medical treatment plan together with the doctor. Then I make appointments, assist at operations, follow the patients’ health and wellbeing after the operation. My work also includes guiding the patients about the medication and some practical issues during the treatments.”
How would you describe the care relationship in fertility treatments?
“Our patients need mental support and empathy, as going through the fertility treatments is emotionally hard. I used to work at a delivery ward as a midwife. There the women come and go and I probably never see them again. At the fertility clinic the patients stay with us for a long time, which results in strong care relationships. I know my patients by heart.”
“At Väestöliitto, we also have patients who don’t speak neither Finnish or English. Sometimes they use an interpreter, but usually only for the first visits. When the treatments begin, sometimes the nurse and the couple need to use writing and drawing for the mutual understanding.”
“One of the best things in my work is that I can help the patients to feel better and to understand how the treatments proceed: why something is done at a certain point. I feel like I have succeeded when I manage to establish a trusting connection with a new hesitant couple, and they start talking openly to me.”
“At our clinic, eight out of ten patients have a child after treatments. The hardest part is clearly when the long-awaited results can’t be reached with treatments and no explanation for this can be given. There are situations when I encourage the couple to continue, but also situations when I have to recommend them to stop trying. Finding the right words for these couples is very challenging.”
How Kaiku Health has changed the workflow at Väestöliitto?
“Kaiku Health is a really good tool for communicating with the egg receivers. As they are waiting for the donor, they inform us the first day of their menstruation monthly. Previously I had to call all of them personally, but nowadays I just check the dates directly from the Kaiku Health -web application. This way I am also always aware of how the receivers are doing, whether their period cycles have been normal or not, what are their plans for the next months, if they are in Finland and if they would be willing to start the treatments in case we find the donor.”
“Patients can also send the necessary documents to us before the first appointment, so that we know more about their treatment history early on. This is particularly useful with patients living outside Finland.”
“The greatest advantage of Kaiku Health however is the consistent follow-up of patients’ quality of life. Patients are asked to fill up the electronic questionnaire called FertiQol regularly. This way we notice quickly if they need more psychological support and help them ourselves or direct them to talk with our psychologists.”