A nurse who is transitioning to a new career after her primary care doctor retired says she often feels like she is on the outside of the conversation, but she also sees the benefits that can come from having an existing relationship with a new team.
For Jennifer Fenton, this transition from a nurse practitioner to a medical doctor began a year ago when she moved into her first office and got to know her new colleagues.
She has since been working in both areas of medicine, but her main goal now is to get to know all the nurses and doctors she will be working with in the future.
“I’ve learned a lot about myself as a nurse,” she told Polygon.
“I’ve found a lot of really great relationships that have been built through this process of transition.
The people who were there with me at the beginning, they’re my friends and I’ve grown to love them.
And I’ve been able to get in touch with them.”
In addition to her work in primary care, Fenton is also a registered nurse at the nursing home that she and her husband are transitioning to.
As part of her new role, Fonton says she will also be taking a more hands-on role, and will be responsible for scheduling her patients’ appointments.
“We’re really looking forward to working in the community with our clients, with people with disabilities,” she said.
“There are some really great people and it will be really great to help people with physical disabilities and mental health issues and mental issues.
I’ve got a lot more training in this than I would have in a nurse’s position, and I feel really comfortable with that.”
The transition from nurse to doctor is also proving to be a big adjustment for Fenton.
She will be moving into her primary medical care office after moving from primary care to general practice and will no longer be able to practice in her primary area.
“It’s really challenging, and it’s a lot harder for me than it was in primary,” she explained.
“My primary care office was the only one in my area, and now I’m working with a primary doctor and a general practitioner.”
Fenton says she has also learned that there are some aspects of being a nurse that will be difficult to overcome.
“When I first got here I was very shy,” she admitted.
“You kind of feel like you’re not the one, and you’re the one that’s being judged, and people feel like it’s their fault for not being more accepting and accepting of you.”
Fonton said that being a new nurse was not a difficult transition.
“For me, it was the most difficult part of transitioning,” she noted.
“To me, I was just doing this job because I loved it, and so I just wanted to get the best medical care possible.
I just want to make sure that I get the most out of it and that I am the best nurse that I can be.”
While Fenton may be dealing with some of the challenges that are inherent in transitioning from a primary care nurse to a primary physician, she has managed to learn a lot from her peers who have transitioned into similar positions in the healthcare field.
“The nurses are amazing and the doctors are amazing,” Fenton said.
“[The nurses] are so open to new experiences, and the physicians are just as open to the fact that you can change a career if you want to.”
Fonerons experience as a new physician has also allowed her to learn more about herself as a person, and how she can use her experience as an existing medical professional to help her through the transition.
“If I’m going to transition, I want to transition in a way that is going to help me be the best person that I possibly can be,” she continued.
“And I’m not going to change just because I’m a nurse.
I don’t want to change because I have a nurse degree.”
As Fenton transitions into her new career, she will continue to work with her primary physician as a regular nurse practitioner.
“If I have to work from home or I have my primary physician appointment, then I will be able,” she added.
“That’s a great place to be for me.”
For more on how to help transgender people transition, read Polygon’s article about how to become a nurse in Canada.