Story No. 442: Dr. Ryan from Louisiana

I recently met with a patient who shared her story with me. Leslie (name changed) was referred to the Adolescent Medicine Nurse Practitioner by one of the other pediatricians after the patient brought up her need to discuss birth control. Leslie told her pediatrician, “I want to talk about birth control, can I do that here?” The pediatrician referred her without further comment.

Leslie was seen alongside her mother but was given the expected confidential time alone with the nurse practitioner. She mentioned her desire to start contraception. Leslie knew she needed to have this conversation after her best friend became pregnant last semester and had a miscarriage. Leslie and her friend noted that neither of their doctors had ever brought up sex or contraception. So, Leslie had decided that today was the day: if her providers didn’t bring it up, she would.

Leslie and the Adolescent Medicine Nurse Practitioner discussed options, and she made an informed choice and shared decision-making leading to a prescription. She left the clinic saying, “You know, this is what we’ve always needed: health care that’s confidential when it needs to be, and just there for you.”

She felt like the providers should take the time to discuss contraception and other topics (like sex) with their adolescent patients privately. She also said she wished they would bring these conversations up at her appointments, but she had to say on her own, “Well, I would like to discuss birth control.”