2011 Nurses Award goes to midwife at Leuven University Hospital

images kindly provided by ESHRE

The annual meeting of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology took place in Stockholm in early July. Ten thousand researchers and health care providers in human reproduction and fertility came together to discuss recent developments in their field. Eline Dancet - midwife at Leuven University Hospital and doctoral student at Leuven University & Radboud University of Nijmegen - won the 2011 Nurses Award with her PhD thesis. She examines infertility care from the perspective of the patient in an international setting.  

More than an effective treatment

The award-winning thesis, conducted under the auspices of Prof. Thomas D’Hooghe (gynaecologist and Director of the Leuven University Fertility Centre) and Prof. Jan Kremer (gynaecologist at UMC St Radboud, Nijmegen, the Netherlands), examines the quality of infertility care from the patient’s perspective in five different European countries, namely Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Spain and the United Kingdom. 

The quality of infertility care has to date been described in the literature in terms of how effective it is, for example in pregnancy success rates. Interviews with patients from five different European countries, conducted in the course of researching her PhD thesis on patient-centred infertility care, revealed however that patients are interested in more than just effective treatment.

Patient-centred care

European patients value systemic factors, such as organisation and continuity of care, as well as human factors, such as communication and the attitude of health care providers. Moreover, similarities between the concerns held by different patients interviewed from the various European countries are quite striking. It is therefore important that patient-centred care be taken into account when assessing the quality of healthcare in Europe in the future.  

Eline Dancet’s research is consistent with the Leuven University Fertility Centre’s vision of not restricting itself solely to high-quality multidisciplinary scientific research in areas such as endometriosis, reproductive surgery, medically-assisted conception and reproductive genetics. It is also critical to perform research that focuses on patient-centred care, healthcare quality, the psychological aspects of fertility problems, and the ethical dimensions of reproductive medicine.  

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