As a nurse practitioner, Monica received advanced nursing education in addition to being a registered nurse. She is a fully licensed registered nurse and Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioner in the state of Connecticut and is certified by the board of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. Monica’s nursing work experience spans nearly two decades in the field of fertility treatment. Monica’s passion lies in taking care of the whole patient. Monica works with patients and stresses the importance of integrating comprehensive care – including yoga, acupuncture, massage therapy and nutrition – with fertility treatment.
In honor of National Nurses Week, I want to reflect on what it means (to me) to be an infertility nurse. I started my nursing career in the hospital setting, working in an ICU, over 25 years ago. After obtaining my nurse practitioner (NP) degree, I didn’t actively seek a job in infertility. Frankly, I didn’t really know much about it. An infertility center in NY was the only place that was willing to hire me as an NP, as it was a relatively new profession at the time.
Although I took the job out of necessity, I realized that even though I didn’t choose this field, this field found me. You likely have an idea of what nurses do, as you've probably been taken care of by one of us at some point in your life. What you see, though, is what we allow you to see: our tough and protective exterior. I want to take this opportunity to give you some insight into our interior, our motivation, and deepest thoughts.
We Care About You, Our Patients
During this pandemic, you have probably been inundated with images of nurses in masks; some standing in front of entrances or cars to protect their colleagues who are risking their lives and livelihoods. This level of emotion is real but doesn’t compare to the passion that we derive from taking care of our patients.
We realize that we see you at your most vulnerable and we continue to be grateful to you for allowing us access to your journey. Every day that you come into the office, we are praying and sending good vibes your way. Every time you receive good news, we are celebrating with you, and every time you receive bad news, we are grieving with you. We are energized by your resilience and perseverance and humbled by your grace.
I have always seen myself as a healer, which has led me to be a nurse in the first place. While I concede that your nurse has only had a limited impact on the actual outcome of your cycle, we are interested in how we can help you during the process. Even though infertility can suck, your care shouldn’t.
All of us at RMA of CT feel this way, so I want to introduce you to our amazing team of nurses who all feel as I do. Thank you, from all of us, for continuing to inspire us to be the best at what we do.
Meet our RMA of CT Nurses
Christina Dias: Christina is the Director of Nursing here at RMA of Connecticut. She started here in 2004. Christina graduated from Sacred Heart University with her BSN and has five years of experience in the ER setting in addition to her 15 years in fertility at RMA of Connecticut.
Brigitte Alicea: Brigitte is the Assistant Director of Nursing and Manager of Surgical Services here at RMA of Connecticut. Brigitte’s nursing experience includes 5 years of critical care and 10 years in the field of fertility treatment. Brigitte’s passion is to provide high quality care to her patients going through infertility treatment, while focusing on providing emotional support along the way. Brigitte provides a caring and safe environment in the surgical center in order for patients to have a positive experience on their procedure day.
Nora Bolger: Nora is nurse manager of the Third-Party Reproduction program and helps patients within Gay Parents To Be, build their families. She began her specialty in reproductive endocrinology at RMA of NY in 2004. Her hospital experience was obtained at NYU Medical Center and Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn where she worked in the newborn nursery and provided postpartum care and lactation teaching. Nora’s areas of clinical interest are women’s health, integrative and Chinese medicine. She received her BA and a master’s degree in health advocacy from Sarah Lawrence College. She received her BSN from the College of New Rochelle, where she was a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the nursing honor society.
Monica Moore: As a nurse practitioner, Monica received advanced nursing education in addition to being a registered nurse. She is a fully licensed registered nurse and Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioner in the state of Connecticut and is certified by the board of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. Monica’s nursing work experience spans nearly two decades in the field of fertility treatment. Monica’s passion lies in taking care of the whole patient. Monica works with patients and stresses the importance of integrating comprehensive care – including yoga, acupuncture, massage therapy and nutrition – with fertility treatment.
Linda Connolly: Linda is a registered nurse and the office manager in the Trumbull office. She graduated from Syracuse University in 1982 with her BSN. She has been working at RMA of Connecticut since 2002 and loves helping her patients achieve their dream to have children. Previously, Linda worked as a nurse in the ICU and surgery/recovery.
Sarah Waters: Sarah is a Nurse Practitioner and Patient Educator with RMA of Connecticut. She has been working with RMA since 2005. She graduated from University of Pennsylvania with her BSN/MSN and has over 20 years of experience working in the field of fertility.
Jocelyn Crespo: Jocelyn has been a registered nurse since graduating from St. Vincent’s College in 2001. She previously worked in an emergency department prior to coming to RMA in 2007. Jocelyn loves connecting with her patients and trying to make this a smooth, stress free process for them.
Cathie Gray: Cathie is a registered nurse and the office manager in the Stamford office. She has been a nurse for over 25 years. She earned her nursing degree at Queensboro College. She has been a nurse at RMA for 15 years. Prior to joining the RMA team, she worked in Labor and Delivery, and as a nurse practitioner for a private OB/GYN practice. Cathie loves building relationships with her patients and loves seeing them return for baby #2! Cathie also loves working with her hard-working, talented team in Stamford. Outside of RMA, Cathie loves baking, gardening, and reading mysteries.
Christina Polesky: Christina has been a Nurse Midwife since 1994, when she graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with her Master’s in Nursing and Midwifery. Prior to that, she earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA – her hometown! Christina has worked in fertility for over 10 years. She has worked at OB/GYN practices, birth centers, and hospitals. Christina has delivered over 1,000 babies! She has also worked as a Veterans Administration nurse and an open-heart surgery nurse. Christina loves working at RMA of Connecticut because she has the change to help patients build their families and make the process easier for them. She loves helping patients navigate and understand their process and answer their questions. Christina loves the ocean – specifically, sailing. She would be perfectly happy living on a boat!
Kirsten Hennigan: Kirsten has been a nurse for 18 years. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from Cornell University in 1999 and went on to earn both her Bachelor and Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania in 2002. Her entire nursing career has been in women’s health, first as a nurse practitioner in general gynecology in Philadelphia. She moved to London in 2006 and worked as a fertility nurse on Harley Street. After a move to Tokyo and a short stint as a nurse practitioner in Manhattan, she landed at RMA of Connecticut in 2014. Kirsten’s favorite part of working at RMA is helping patients gain trust in us and watching their transition from feeling broken to feeling empowered with options. She feels very privileged to play a part in that transition. The most shocking fact about Kirsten is that she doesn’t watch television. She hears all about different shows during morning monitoring but has never seen a single episode!
Rachel Leto: Rachel is a registered nurse and the Team Lead for the Third-Party Reproduction program. Rachel first joined RMA of Connecticut as a patient coordinator in 2008. Throughout her time in this role, Rachel attended St. Vincent’s nursing school and obtained her licensure in 2012. Due to her interest in fertility, Rachel remained at RMA of Connecticut and transitioned from her role as patient navigator to an IVF nurse. In 2013, Rachel joined the RMA of Connecticut’s Third-Party nursing staff due to her passion for helping couples in need of donors (both egg and sperm) as well as gestational carriers. In her current role, Rachel is involved in all aspects of the Third-Party process and has extensive knowledge with the processes involved in selecting an egg donor and gestational carriers well as the medical aspect that is involved in both types of cycles.
Kerry Thomson: Kerry has been a nurse for 24 years. She earned her BSN from New York University in 1995. Kerry has been a fertility nurse for 16 years. She previously worked on the medical/surgical floor at Mt. Sinai Medical Center as well as at several primary care practices. Kerry’s favorite part of working here at RMA of Connecticut is helping patients navigate the infertility treatment process as simply and easily as possible. She loves answering patients’ questions and guiding them through what she knows can be a stressful time.
Kathy Ferreira: Kathy has been a registered nurse for 12 years, since graduating from St. Vincent’s College. She has been working in fertility for 8 years. She previously worked in Labor and Delivery. Kathy loves being able to form a relationship with her patients and help take away some of the stress that often comes from this process with her patients and trying to make this a smooth, stress free process for them.
Patricia Jones: Patricia has been a registered nurse for the past 40 years. She received her BSN from Boston University. Patricia has worked in fertility for the past 6 years, and previously worked at Stamford Hospital and in college health. Her favorite part of working at RMA of Connecticut is the helping her patients create their families. Patricia is the mother of 3 wonderful children, even though she thinks they dance like Elaine from Seinfeld!
Vanessa Sheftz: Vanessa is a registered nurse and has been a nurse for 17 years. She graduated from the Bridgeport Hospital School of Nursing in 2002 and earned her bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Sacred Heart University in 2014. She worked in fertility from 2002-2004, then spent 13 years in the medical ICU. She joined RMA of Connecticut in 2017. She is passionate about helping our patients succeed on their family building journey.
Judit Ordogh: Judit is a registered nurse and has been a nurse for 4 years. Judit was born and raised in Hungary. She moved in the U.S. in 1997 and graduated from St. Vincent’s College in 2013. Judit has been working in fertility here at RMA of Connecticut for the past 2 years. She previously worked in the medicine unit and post-partum unit at Greenwich Hospital. Judit is passionate about helping her patients on their journey to become parents.
Tracy Weinstein: Tracy has been a registered nurse for 9 years. She earned her BA in Speech and Hearing Science from the University of Buffalo. After graduating, she enrolled at Rockland Community College and earned her AS in Nursing. She has spent the majority of her nursing career in neonatal intensive care, where she still works occasionally. She is celebrating her one year anniversary as a fertility nurse! Being a newer mom herself, Tracy realizes how special it is to be able to give others the opportunity to build their families.
Sarina Garcia: Sarina is the Primary Nurse of the OR here at RMA of Connecticut. She started here in 2019 and graduated from the University of Connecticut with my BSN. I started off on a MedSurg Unit at Bridgeport hospital for a year and then moved on to RMA and have been here for about a year.
Carmen Petrafesa: Carmen graduated from UCONN Storrs with a BSN. She has six years of NCU experience and started as a nurse at RMA of CT in 2019.
Currently going through treatment?
Here are the five things a fertility nurse wants her patients to know.