Gill Williams is celebrating her first year as a Healthcare Assistant at Bourn Hall Wickford. For successful fertility treatment emotional wellbeing is very important, so when Gill was encouraged to extend her skills with further training, she chose a counselling course.
I started at Bourn Hall in January 2021, just a couple days before another lockdown but thankfully the clinic stayed open.
I live in Wickford and had seen the clinic being built. I also have a friend who has been through IVF herself, so I knew it would be an interesting and rewarding job.
Previously I’d been a healthcare assistant at Basildon Hospital, working in A&E and doing a lot of night shifts, so when I saw this job, I thought it would be ideal.
As a healthcare assistant, I take a bit of the strain off the nurses, helping out with admin, emails and enquiries. I also help in theatre and stay with the patients as they recover after egg collection.
Getting to know the patients
Myself and the other HCA, Louise, have just taken over doing the blood clinics twice a week and I enjoy this as I have a lot of people contact. I see the patients right from the beginning for their AMH and thyroid tests, then later when they need other blood tests for virology etc. We see them again for their egg collection procedure and their embryo transfer.
I’m still learning and gaining a lot of new knowledge, which I enjoy. I’m getting more involved with scanning and there is lots of variety because everyone is different.
Seeing the patients through their whole journey was one of the things that got me interested in counselling.
I get to see the patients a fair bit when they’re coming in for blood tests. I’ve had a few instances where I’ve chatted to them, and then they start to open up. Sometimes they’ll get upset as the stress and the strain can be a bit overwhelming, particularly if they know it’s their last chance, or they are worried about the financial side of things.
The course is to give me the confidence to help somebody who is upset or feeling stressed.
Emotional wellbeing is so important
People are often unsure how to open up – it might take a while for them to get onto the topic they want to talk about; they sometimes start by testing the water with another question to work out if this is the right forum to be opening up – so actively listening to someone is really important.
Counselling is something that really interests me and will also help me to support patients and therefore benefit Bourn Hall in the process. Of course, I always mention to people the qualified independent fertility counsellors we have – Vicky, Jackie and Julie – and the fertility support group.
It’s great to be able to see people on the whole journey from start to finish, which is rare in medicine. You really get to know the patients and feel that we are all part of team, working together to help them achieve their dream.