Nurse Practitioner, Founder, Somerset Menopause Clinic and British Menopause Society registered specialist
Specialist nurse practitioners can often help women through menopause and alleviate all their menopausal queries.
For nurse practitioner Teresa Davison, a British Menopause Society registered specialist and founder of Somerset Menopause Clinic, nurses provide the perfect gateway for menopause care. In general practice, a nurse can see women for a variety of reasons, such as contraception, sexual health worries and cervical screening. All of these are touch points for discussion about the menopause.
Normalising the menopause
She says, “Lately, we’ve seen that discussion around menopause in the media has been much more active and this has opened the conversation, allowing women to talk about their experiences more.”
“While normalisation has been a long time coming, issues can often stem from patients not understanding what is happening to them. We often hear that 10-minute slots at a GP surgery aren’t always long enough to talk about personal issues, but in the appointments mentioned above, nurses may have more time and the perfect opportunity to signpost women to more information.”
Talking about menopause is sometimes one of the biggest ways we can support and help patients.
Training is the big issue that Davison feels nurses should embrace. Due to funding cuts, there is not always the possibility of specialist menopause clinics but having a member of staff trained in menopause – especially a nurse, would be an added benefit for any primary care facility. She says: “Nurses should seek training, and perhaps run group education sessions where women can come together.
“As women, we have two or three hormonal journeys through life – the onset of periods, some will have pregnancy and all women will go through the menopause. We offer empathy and congratulations for the first two, but the last one is almost brushed under the carpet.”
Menopause in the workplace
Davison believes that another uphill battle for women is fighting menopause in the workplace, where not only is it embarrassing but support measures are not always routinely available. “Women make up a great percentage of the workforce and at this stage of life, possibly with symptoms such as brain fog, a lack of concentration and trouble sleeping, it’s no surprise more women are seeking help for anxiety and low mood,” she says.
While recent press on the menopause has helped, it doesn’t always mean that women feel educated and empowered, which is why Davison is keen that nurses signpost women to correct and authoritative information.
She adds, “Nurses are dedicated to helping people with all sorts of health journeys. Talking about menopause is sometimes one of the biggest ways we can support and help patients. By letting them know that help is available, patients learn that they shouldn’t be scared and that there is someone to talk to with lots of options available.”