Fertility & Sterility study reveals impact of enhanced nurse education

As embryology laboratory and reproductive genetic testing continue to evolve, reproductive endocrinology nurses must be able to understand the impact of these tests and procedures to be comfortable and confident in the role of counselor and in obtaining informed consent from patients and their partners. Unfortunately, there are often gaps in education on embryology and genetic testing results, limiting their ability to effectively counsel over time. Fertility and Sterility recently published a study on the impact of an educational program on the knowledge base of nurses on those topics to determine both improvement in knowledge and confidence in their ability to counsel.

More than 68% of the nurses who participated in this study described counseling patients as representative of the majority of their time in the practice, making understanding all points of a fertility patient’s journey crucial to a positive overall experience and valuable use of time for everyone involved. All too often, a lack of time, expertise, and institutional support create limitations in the education of nurses. The study showed most novice nurses are taught by experienced nurses through “on-the-job” in-house training courses that are frequently interrupted and non-continuous.

To address the current gap in nursing education, an educational intervention was implemented to increase knowledge for the participating reproductive endocrinology nurses on embryology and genetic testing. The pre- and postintervention scores on the knowledge assessment showed significant difference in the nurses’ scores in aggregate, as illustrated by Figure 1 below. A theme of confidence counseling patients emerged in the free text statements, with 66% of nurses feeling more confident in discussing embryology and genetic testing with patients.


Figure 1 – Knowledge assessment:

The pre- and postintervention scores on the knowledge assessment showed significant differences in the nurses’ scores in aggregate.

The study ultimately concluded that nurses benefit from focused educational efforts, resulting in empowered nurses who are invested participants in the conversation about improving outcomes for couples. Creating an environment that encourages growth beyond university education will be helpful to the nurses who desire to be a more informed counselor and their patients who need to comprehend complex information in order to make important treatment decisions.

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