Nurse Nicole, on advocacy, reproductive healthcare, fertility and more.

Nicole Deziel, RN, is a registered nurse working in both primary care telemedicine and reproductive endocrinology and infertility, and halfway through a combined Master of Science in Nursing and Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner program. Is she busy? Totally. Get to know more about her!

Tell us a little about yourself! Where are you from?

I grew up in upstate New York until I was in my early teens and then moved to Toronto, where I live today!

What do you currently do?

I am quite busy! I am currently a registered nurse working in both primary care telemedicine and reproductive endocrinology and infertility, and am halfway through a combined Master of Science in Nursing and Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner program. Also, am on the Medical Content team at Diem.

What are your favourite pastimes?

When I am not working, I really love moving in some way, whether it is hiking, running, or doing exercise classes. Other than that I really can appreciate a trashy reality tv show or a hallmark movie.

How does your work differ from that of Doctor, in your work?

I think that unless someone has directly experienced the care of a nurse, it is hard to understand exactly what we do. I am so lucky that as a registered nurse, I have always had jobs that have maximized my scope of practice and allowed me to be as autonomous as possible. For the most part, nurses are the primary access point people have with the healthcare system, aside from a visit to a healthcare provider. Nurses complete assessments, critically think, and deliver life-saving medications, but also develop therapeutic relationships with patients. These relationships and critical thinking skills save lives! At the fertility clinic, I am the primary point of contact with patients who come on a day to day basis for cycle monitoring, I complete assessments and collaborate with the doctor to create plans of care. In my telemedicine job, there is no doctor available, so it is essential that I maximize my scope of practice to provide the best care possible to patients and triage them appropriately. When I become a primary health care NP (Nurse Practitioner), I will have the added scope to diagnose and treat. I am really excited to expand the holistic care I already provide to patients.

How do I find the method of contraception that suits me the best?

This is a really great question, and something I am so passionate about. So many women think that their only option is one thing, the pill. The pill is excellent and effective, but for some women, it is not the best option. In general, it is important to really outline what is important to you and identify some game-changers. Are you the type of person that cannot for the life of you remember to take a pill every day? Do you have a risk of estrogen dependent breast cancer in your family? Do you have a history of mental health challenges? All of these things are important to consider. I think for very young women, there is this added complexity of trying to obtain birth control while still living at home, and sometimes feeling that they need to take the first thing that is offered to them to get in and out of the office. No way! Make sure you take the time to find what is right for you.

Ok so, let’s say I’m under 16, do my parents have to know if I want contraception? No they don’t. It is also illegal for your healthcare provider to inform your parents that you are accessing contraceptives, however you also can utilize other services in your area to obtain contraceptives if you are uncomfortable doing to the same office your family does. If your family states that they are open to supporting you with this, I encourage patients to, but they never need to.

If you had a soundtrack for your life, what would it be? To be totally transparent the soundtrack would be like a radio scanner picking up different frequencies constantly hahaha. Life is a big roller coaster right now with NP school and working in different capacities here at Diem, in telemedicine, and fertility as a registered nurse.

How are you able to integrate your passions with your work today? My goal is to be the best nurse (whether that is an R.N. or in an advanced practice capacity) that I can be. Examining health through a health justice lens and social justice lens is incredibly important to me. Accessing healthcare is a different experience for everyone, based on a variety of factors, many out of our control. We know that women have historically been faced with inequities when accessing healthcare, part of this is having safe spaces to discuss their lives, health, and relationships. I am excited that Diem is working to fill in a huge blank.

What’s a common misconception regarding fertility that we can debunk for the communities in Diem? I think that women often feel very alone when they are navigating the world of fertility or infertility. They are not alone. Also, fertility is for everyone. In heterosexual relationships, male fertility issues are nearly as equally responsible as female factors. Fertility also supports women who are looking to become pregnant with a donor, the LGBTQ+ community, and surrogacy. We need to tear down the stigma associated with fertility treatment.

Can we provide tools or phrases that allow us to advocate for ourselves in order to best get the direct treatment that we need? The greatest tool is reminding patients that they deserve to be in the driver's seat of their health. It isn't your care provider's world that you are entering into, it should be your care provider entering into your world. If it feels like the former, seek care from another provider if you can. Simple phrases that can help you advocate for yourself include "I am concerned about x, what further testing can we do to rule out my concerns?" "May I ask why you have picked x treatment?"

One piece of advice that you would give to your teenage self right now? Being a teenager is really hard, and a lot of times you are just FLYING by your developmental stages and then are suddenly expected to make huge decisions that will change your whole life, like going to college. I would just tell my little self that it was all going to be ok and all of the things that seem so hard right now, or the fact that I felt too loud, or too excited, or certain "wrongs" upset me, would all make me who I am today. The things that make us feel different or alone as a child are often such an asset in adulthood.

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