Lisa O, Nurse Practitioner at Planned Parenthood, recently told us:
When I got into Planned Parenthood’s Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner program, I dropped everything in my life to move to Minneapolis—I felt like it was my calling. When I worked as a nurse on a medical-surgical floor, I had to help people dealing with a wide range of health issues, but I didn’t feel like I was specialized in anything. I felt like I had something to offer to women—even though I was really young, I felt like I could be a role model to the young women that I saw in the clinic. I loved the Nurse Practitioner program, and I’ve worked for Planned Parenthood ever since.
The work we do is pretty profound, and it’s really a privilege. It still amazes me that I get to meet people and have a short interaction with them in which they’ll tell me some of the most intimate things about their lives. They trust me with that information, and I have an opportunity to help them at a point that might change the course of their entire lives. I love having the opportunity to meet a patient who’s struggling with some type of health issue and tell them that we can help them.
Sometimes, I don’t think people realize Planned Parenthood’s level of expertise in contraception. I’ll get patients from primary care with horrible migraines, and they come to me on a birth control method that could increase their risk for stroke. And it was prescribed by their doctor! We also have a lot of practice inserting IUDs and implants. There are some providers who might perform those procedures only every other month or even less often, but we’re doing several every week, so we become experts in inserting them.
I think, ultimately, that patients come to Planned Parenthood because we’re good at making them feel comfortable. We’re trained to discuss potentially sensitive topics, like STDs or contraception, in a nonjudgmental way, so people feel good talking to me even if they’re meeting me for the first time. Planned Parenthood providers are going to help you wherever you are, with compassion and without judgment—honestly, I don’t think there’s anything a patient could say now that could shock me.
Little things happen every day that make me glad I work for Planned Parenthood. Sometimes I’ll go to walk out of the room and a patient will say, “Thank you so much for being here. I don’t know why you want to work in this profession, but I’m so glad you’re here.” Or just listening to a woman who’s in a bad situation at home and being able to give her the resources to get help—it makes me feel like I’m doing the right thing with my life.