“The best thing of working at HSFC is getting to know all our patients very well”
Fertility clinics had to temporarily not start any new treatments owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, but not everything stopped. Patients who had already started their treatment had to complete it and for this reason, a small number of people worked throughout the lockdown. Our lead nurse, Rachael, was one of them, and this blog is about her and her dedication to provide the best care during these difficult times.
“The lockdown was challenging for everyone, me included. I was able to escaped the house once a week and came to the clinic, along with Dr. Venkat, Tanya (Senior Nurse), Carina (Patient Coordinator), Suvir (General Manager) and me. We still worked because we had patients that were finishing up treatments or they were recently pregnant and couldn’t leave them. We moved to an online-based system. Tanya and I were dealing with patients remotely, an eye-opening experience to see how we could move such a physical profession to online. We went in once a week or so to dispense medication or to see patients who were finishing up treatment or those needing support through their early pregnancy. If you visit our clinic you notice our beautiful fish tank, so feeding the fish which is equally as important.” Rachael says that the lockdown gave her the opportunity to reconnect with people that she could not find the time before. “I worked out the time difference between the UK and Australia and called a lot more people than I usually do. My partner is Canadian and we got to call that side of the family too.”
Who is Rachael Close?
Rachael is from the Gold Coast, Australia. She did her training and initial work as a nurse there. “My mum is a nurse and a midwife in Australia and I was lucky enough to be part of a fertility clinic that my mum helped to set-up. I was the receptionist, then the phlebotomist, and, when I graduated, I was a nurse.” Rachael feels she was fortunate to always be around this industry and have a passion for it.
Coming to the UK
When she came to the UK, Rachael began her career at an NHS hospital, where she met and worked with her current colleagues, Margherita and Adrian, who she describes as “wonderful colleagues, passionate nurses”.
After her experience with NHS, Rachael started her role as a Lead Nurse at HSFC, a role she’s been in for over 2 years.
HSFC being a boutique clinic, appealed to Rachael as she looked to make a change from NHS to a private fertility clinic. “What initially drew me to HSFC is that it is a boutique family-run clinic. This means that, throughout their journey, our patients will meet everybody at the clinic. We really get to know the patients, and I think that is really quite special. We are not only helping them in a medical way but we also get to know them, their family, the background and things they like to do.” Rachael says that she is a people’s person and loves to engage with her patients. Apart from discussing their medical needs and treatment options, she enjoys getting to know them on a personal level and build lasting connections “and we have 5 minutes when we talk about something that is not IVF related, so while I am taking their blood we go off to a holiday in Greece or their mum’s birthday, and this is one of the best things about working for the HSFC.”
Favourite part of the job
Rachael admits that the favourite part of her job might sound clichéd, but it’s helping people, and “seeing people from the first, initial consultation, and following them through what can be a really challenging process.” When patients come back with the babies HSFC helped create, Rachael says that it is “such an amazing feeling to know that you were there and you helped with that.”
Fertility treatments can be hard, and when things don’t go as planned, patients know they can always rely on Rachael. “Even when things don’t go particularly well and things are difficult, I am glad I am there to hopefully ease that burden and that pain if you will, and be a comfort for someone that’s going through a really difficult time.”
The team: “I am proud and I love my nursing team who helps people fulfil their dream of becoming parents”
Rachael says that HSFC is really like a family. “I love the team, the whole clinic in itself but specifically the nursing team. Lucy, Marion, Tanya, Margherita, Adrian and Poonam, lovely, lovely, caring people, it’s such a joy to work with them. They became close friends of mine.” Rachael says that “the HSFC team is truly very special, we are all very close. Everyone is incredibly determined, they really want the best for everyone who walks through the door. I am hugely proud of the whole team and I hope we can get to see patients back through the doors in our clinic soon.”
Rachael confesses she is constantly learning from Dr. Venkat. “One of the best things of working at HSFC is working under the tutelage of Dr Venkat. Her wealth of experience is remarkable. She is only ever too happy to share her knowledge with the nursing team. I always feel I am constantly learning new things. She brings interesting cases to us and would explain these cases to us, something very important – education in nursing . We are really lucky in that respect. Watching her and her passion for her patients is a truly wonderful thing to see.”
Bike riding with the boss
“It’s not all clinical work at HSFC,” says Rachael. Rachael and Suvir, HSFC General Manager, went on a charity bike ride from London to Paris. “This was really quite something,” laughs Rachael. “I wouldn’t have signed up for this if I wasn’t at HSFC. Suvir is an avid bike rider and he got me to do this challenge. It was truly wonderful. I went from being a casual Sunday cyclist to riding 100 km a day for 3 days which was pretty special. I don’t think it’s a career for me but it was a great experience. It was also really nice to meet different people and also people from the medical profession so we got to network as well.”
Rachael’s colleagues, about Rachael
Lucy, Healthcare Assistant: “I have worked with Rachael since she first joined the team. She is a wonderful human and a great colleague and friend. Working alongside Rachael is a pleasure. She is hardworking, caring, supportive and has a great approach with our patients. Our team would not be complete without Rachael as our Lead Nurse.”
Margherita, Nurse: “I’m one of the nurses. I’ve worked with Rachael for 2 years and half and I believe she is an outstanding nurse. I think she is a key component of the clinic that does not hesitate to go the extra mile for the benefit of the clinic as well as the patients. She has a distinctive set of skills and knowledge that represent an incredible value added professionally and personally for whoever surrounds her. I extremely appreciate her for the equal respect shown independently from role covered within the clinic. I do not consider her just a colleague, she also became a friend.”
Poonam, Pharmacist HSFC: “I’ve worked with Rachael for a year and a half now. She is really hard working and dedicated and she has so much knowledge and experience. The patients love her. She has a way of making patients feel at ease and comfortable and they feel like they are talking to a friend. She is like this with her team as well and she really cares about them. Also, sometimes patients and staff bring in chocolates and sweets and Rachael helps me keep motivated to minimise my intake of the less healthy ones.”
Suvir, General Manager: “Rachael joined as a fertility nurse in 2018. She had her fertility training at Queensland Fertility Group in Australia. I recall the wonderful energy she brought with her when she joined. She quickly settled in at HSFC and demonstrated her excellent people skills in her management of patients and ability to work with others. I enjoy working with her and appreciate her candour. Even though she is relatively young in her fertility career, we could see her potential and so decided to promote her to Lead Nurse in 2019. She has gone on to bring the nursing team together and make it her own. I am proud to see her develop as a part of the HSFC family and hope her tenure with us will be long and prosperous. Here’s to more bike rides too!”
When asked about their fertility journey with HSFC, the patients always mention Rachael. “She is lovely. I find her very personable, I could talk to her about my life and she really cares and listens, and the same about her life, it’s very relaxed and easy to talk to her, I feel she is more like a friend that you really need when going through a treatment,” says Lisa, a former HSFC patient.
The patients, when talking about Rachael, usually say that “she is amazing!” We couldn’t agree more! Our amazing, wonderful, caring, professional and kind Rachael, a beloved member of our HSFC family.
Listen to Rachael’s podcast here:
If you would like to start your fertility journey with us and become part of HSFC family, please give us a call on 020 7436 6838 or email us at [email protected] We will be very happy to hear from you.