A reproductive nurse, also known as a fertility nurse, is an RN who cares for and consults with individuals, couples, and families in areas that concern reproductive health and fertility. These nurses often work with women who are experiencing complications regarding fertility, couples having issues conceiving, and women who are going through menopause. Reproductive/fertility nurses can be found working in clinics, fertility centers, and hospitals where they often play the role of both a clinician and a counselor. Some even work as research scientists in fields like stem cell research. One of the primary roles of the reproductive/fertility nurse is to educate patients along with their loved ones in the many areas concerning fertility such as matching egg donors with families, fertility-enhancing treatments, and other issues related to conceiving.
Common, day-to-day tasks of the reproductive/fertility nurse include, but aren't limited to, the following:
Reproductive nurses often find employment at the following:
One of the main issues you should take into deep consideration before becoming a reproductive/fertility nurse is your own ability to handle stressful situations in a sensitive and capable manner. It would also be smart for you to consider your capacity to handle the emotional weight of dealing with patients who are undergoing sensitive life issues on a daily basis. Lastly, you may want to contemplate the possibility of your own ethical views regarding fertility treatments. If you believe that you're up to the job, a mixture of education and hands-on experience will be required.
Before becoming licensed as an RN and then becoming certified in the specialty, prospective reproductive/fertility nurses must first enroll in either a two-year ADN or four-year BSN degree program. After earning one of these degrees, the next step is to achieve a passing score on the NCLEX-RN licensing exam so that you can become a fully licensed RN. Generally, RNs who have earned BSN degrees will have employment priority over those nurses with associate's degrees. The final educational requirements are to take a number of hours of continuing education and to gain some clinical experience in a reproductive/fertility healthcare setting.
Reproductive/fertility nurses must possess an unencumbered RN license and have some experience in the field to obtain specialty certification. They should also have gone through some continuing education in reproductive medicine prior to becoming certified. An ADN degree is needed at a minimum, but many employers will prefer a BSN or higher.
A reproductive/fertility nursing certification is available via the National Certification Corporation and can be earned in areas such as obstetrics, gynecology, or neonatal. Another certification option is to go through the Nurses' Professional Group (NPG): A Professional Group of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. The NPG offers a 160-contact hour continuing education course in reproductive endocrinology and infertility (REI) via the ASRM Nurse Certificate Course in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility.
Because the population in the United States continues to grow, many couples will continue to experience issues and problems related to reproductive health. This, paired with the continuing advancements in reproductive science, should assist in the continued expansion of the fertility/reproductive nursing field.
As per PayScale, reproductive/fertility nurses earn an average salary of around $66,000 annually. These figures will vary depending on a few factors, like the city and state of employment, years of clinical experience, education levels and certifications, and the employing organization. Similar factors will determine the specific benefits that reproductive/fertility nurses receive from their employers. However, most who are employed full-time will receive medical, dental, vision, prescription, and life insurance coverage options. It's also not out of the norm for reproductive/fertility nurses to receive a few weeks of paid time off each year.