When the new Wickford Fertility Clinic opened in May 2018, it built on the success of a satellite clinic that was set up by a small Bourn Hall team including Grace Phiri as the senior nurse. As we are celebrating the contribution of nurses in the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife we asked Grace about how she came to play such a key role ...
“I jumped at the chance to help set up and run a new satellite clinic in Wickford,” Grace remembers. “When the opportunity arose in October 2012 to join Bourn Hall as a Fertility Nurse Specialist I was delighted.”
Grace qualified as a registered nurse in 1983 in Zambia and worked at the University Teaching Hospital and Mine Hospital for 15 years. In 1998, she developed an interest in acquiring counselling skills to help support patients.
“I decided to get some experience in HIV counselling, so I joined an outreach clinic and underwent three months training and six months work experience in this environment,” she continues.
It was in 1998 that Grace came to England and worked at Watford General Hospital before moving to Essex to work on the urology ward at Southend General Hospital – before making a move into fertility medicine.
“I joined the Nuffield private hospital in Brentwood as a fertility nurse and over ten years rose to be become Unit Sister, gaining an in-depth knowledge of all aspects of fertility nursing including ultrasound scanning skills – I knew then that I had found my passion in nursing.”
She joined Bourn Hall helping to set up a small satellite clinic in Wickford, carrying out consultations, monitoring appointments and pregnancy scans – with patients travelling to Bourn Hall’s Colchester clinic for egg collection and embryo transfer. The clinic became so popular that it was decided to open a new full service unit in 2018.
Grace continues: “I was thrilled to transfer to the new clinic which is all purpose built. I have developed further skills in theatre based competencies such as assisting with IV sedation and gaining qualifications in dispensing.”
Grace’s dedication and additional skills were recently recognised with a promotion to Advanced Fertility Nurse Specialist.
Grace comments that it was rewarding to be given this title. “I have always thoroughly enjoyed working with my colleagues at Bourn Hall and being part of a team that has established a brand new full service clinic at Wickford was a real bonus.
“I am so excited that we can bring the highest quality IVF and fertility treatment all under one roof closer to people in this part of Essex. We provide a personalised approach with the utmost care for our patients to help them achieve their dreams of parenthood.”
Grace’s warmth and reassurance is often remembered by patients and one little girl born after IVF treatment at Wickford was named after her.