When compassion meets nursing

Brenda Powers, RN, IVF Coordinator at UT Health San Antonio was recently selected as one of only 10 nurses being awarded by The San Antonio Express-News during Nurses Week. She took some time out of her busy schedule to discuss her joy of nursing, why she enjoys working at UT Health San Antonio, and a significant highlight in her career.

Q: Congratulations on being awarded by the San Antonio Express-News. What did this mean to you when you found out?

I was honored and honestly a little surprised. I had no idea what they were calling me about. I was definitely also excited when I found out.

Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got into the nursing field –

My brother was sick a lot when I was a child, which meant we spent a lot of time in waiting rooms. When I would see the nurses I always thought they were so cool. They had on their white hats, white dresses, and white shoes. I remember them giving us M&M’s and thinking, ‘gosh, I want to be part of this type of hustle and bustle.’ I will say, I only wore a white cap for one year. Thank God we stopped wearing caps after that.

Q: Why did you choose to become a fertility nurse specifically?

By the time women come here they’ve already tried themselves, probably gone to their OBGyn doctor and they’re really kind of desperate when they get here. And so, I have tried to be very kind, supportive and emotional because I know that they wanted their baby…yesterday! I am a very emotional person and I feel their emotion. I once read that being infertile is like having cancer. That’s how they grieve. You know, because you can’t get away from babies – they are everywhere. When you are trying and not succeeding at having a baby people will usually say, ‘why don’t you just take a vacation? Why don’t you just relax?’ and that is not the case for everybody. It does take a little bit more than a vacation. That’s what we are here for and I love it.

Q: What is the greatest reward in being a fertility nurse?

Helping someone have a baby. There is no greater joy in the world than to see that positive pregnancy test and then to see that baby. I’m going to start to cry. Sometimes our patients will bring their babies back in. It is just amazing to be a part of that whole miracle that was performed.

Q: Can you give me a highlight of your career? A moment that really stands out in your mind –

We take care of cancer patients who are preserving their eggs before they do chemotherapy. We had one young lady who did this, she was a teenager, so sweet, so strong, just amazing. To see her go through cancer and be so upbeat. To be so young and have to go through the procedures that we do here with IVF and shots, ultrasounds and she was just amazing. She was my hero. I went to go visit her at the hospital when she was doing chemo and she was just as upbeat as ever. She’s doing great now and has her eggs are frozen and ready for her when she’s ready to be a mom.

Q: Why did you choose to work at UT Health San Antonio?

I have worked here for 15 years. Hired and re-hired three times since I took some time off to raise my kids. Honestly, I think that we are the best.

We are kind, compassionate, and good at what we do. Most importantly, we really care about our patients. It’s not about the money or how many patients we have, it’s really about helping them achieve their goals.

Gosh, having a baby, THAT is their goal. We don’t always get it but we sure try really hard.

In her spare time, which she does not have much of, Brenda loves to read (Josh Steinbeck is a favorite) and spend quality time with her husband. It was clear why many of her patients feel comfortable and taken care of by her. There is a warmth about Brenda that leaves you feeling calm and comfortable. That is exactly what many of her patients need when they are feeling anxious and emotional about the type of care they are seeking. Thank you to nurses like Brenda who go above and beyond. We appreciate you.

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