One of the family: Claire Sparrow, Lead Patient Support Coordinator

Every fertility journey is unique, as Claire Sparrow knows only too well. In her twelve years working in the patient services team at Bourn Hall she has helped people navigate through treatments and finance and has even had a Bourn Hall baby of her own.

“I feel that my experience of being on both sides of the clinic gives me a unique perspective and understanding when I am talking to patients – I have walked in their shoes,” says Claire.

Claire has recently been promoted and is excited about her new role, which includes being part of a team heading up a pilot to further improve the patient experience.

Co-designing a patient support coordinator role with patients

Bourn Hall was the world’s first IVF clinic and the first to develop an outpatient service, so women would not need to stay overnight in the clinic for treatment. The clinic continues to innovate, as Claire explains:

“We are introducing a new pathway for our patients, to include a care support coordinator role where each patient is allocated a point of contact for the whole journey, in addition to the nursing team. At the moment we are working on a pilot with just a few patients to gain their feedback to co-design the service.”

Claire Sparrow
Claire Sparrow

Fancy joining the Bourn Hall team? Take a look at our current vacancies on the careers page.

With you on the journey

As the Lead Patient Support Coordinator, Claire manages a team of five that are responsible for the care of patients following their initial consultation, sending out correspondence from consultants, arranging further consultations, assisting patients during treatment, and providing information regarding returning for further cycles of treatment.

Fertility treatment has a number of stages with results at each stage that need consideration and decisions by the patient. Sometimes couples need a bit of thinking time before moving to the next stage, and the care support coordinator’s role includes checking in with those people to see if they need support, perhaps a consultation to consider their options, or counselling to help decision making or to improve emotional wellbeing, or advice about funding and finance options.

Claire explains that some people take a break between their treatment; perhaps if they lose a pregnancy, they may want to have a breathing space before deciding on the next steps. She understands how this feels, having had IVF treatment herself.

Claire and Megan
Claire and Megan

Bourn Hall baby of her own

“It was a complete coincidence,” she says. “I got married after starting at Bourn Hall and we found that we had fertility issues. It took us three cycle attempts at Bourn Hall before we had our eldest daughter Megan.”

Claire and her husband had further treatment with a frozen embryo. “Although our sibling FET treatment resulted in a pregnancy, I sadly lost it so I have very much experienced the emotional rollercoaster of infertility and IVF,” she says.

The couple discovered shortly afterwards that Claire had conceived naturally and now have a younger daughter, Ivy.

“IVF has given me an opportunity to have something that potentially may have never happened,” she says. “I now have two beautiful girls, and Bourn Hall will always hold a special place in my heart for helping us achieve this.”

Flexible working

Throughout her career Claire has always had public facing roles, including a year as an air stewardess.

“Patient communication is at the heart of what we do. Prior to the pandemic we would love it when patients visited to show us their babies so that we would see the ‘end result’.

“Obviously the pandemic altered the way we worked. I’m really excited that we are going to be introducing a number of new and innovative initiatives to further enhance the patients’ treatment journey.

“Seeing the patients go through their journey and knowing I have helped make a difference along the way is so rewarding.

“Bourn Hall has enabled me to work flexibly around the children and to progress my career at the same time. I have just started a management training course alongside some other colleagues, which will better equip me with the tools I need to manage my team and support them in their new roles.

“I love it here. The clinic is a lovely environment to work and the staff are a real team.”

More information

If you would be interested in joining Bourn Hall’s patient services team visit the careers page.

To read more stories about the Bourn Hall team and their roles.

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