March 4, 2021
Editor’s Note: This past year, we have featured a FACTS-trained speaker monthly to highlight the diversity and expertise of our talented presenters. Our Speaker Training Program helps us fulfill our mission to educate medical professionals and students about the science behind fertility awareness. Through our webinars, conferences, and speaking events throughout the year, we provide evidence-based information so patients benefit from a medical community that is well informed about fertility awareness-based methods (FABMs).
Our series continues with Fr. James Holland, RN, a registered nurse and clinical nurse specialist (CNS) in Russellton, PA. He has been an active member of FACTS since 2014 and a FACTS presenter for the last three years. He is in the process of completing his education as a Marquette Model instructor. We are grateful for his support and many contributions to the success of our webinar program.
Meet Fr. James Holland, RN, CNS
Fr. James Holland has been a registered nurse since 1979. He earned his MSN from the University of Pittsburgh in 1992 and is board-certified as a clinical nurse specialist in adult health. He has extensive nursing experience in critical care, prehospital emergency care, and in the emergency department. In fact, Fr. Holland was one of the original flight nurses for the MedEvac program at the Center for Emergency Medicine, which encompassed patient care, research, education, and peer-reviewed publishing.
Unique Perspectives in Fertility Awareness
A nurse for forty-two years, Fr. Holland has mainly worked in critical and emergency care settings. Flight nursing and prehospital care have been central to his work. His transition to study fertility awareness-based methods took place after he left critical care and transitioned to Catholic Charities Free Health Care Center. He noted that although FABMs are an integral part of his faith, sometimes faith “interferes with and even causes the rejection of the science of FABMs.” But he wanted to understand FABMs.
A Search for Clarity Leads to FACTS
While seeking to understand, he wondered, “Clearly there is a goodness to FABMs, but where is the goodness in the science?” While reading the textbook on NaProTechnology, an opportunity arose to use his advanced nursing background to support patients with type 2 diabetes at Catholic Charities. He studied at the Joslin Diabetes Center with an endocrinologist and her staff before focusing his nursing practice on patients with type 2 diabetes.
He explained, “Around the same time, I was searching for a group that exclusively dealt with the science of natural family planning (NFP) or FABMs and not just a particular FABM. One evening, I came across the FACTS website and a person by the name of Dr. Marguerite Duane who shared the same crazy idea to focus solely on the science. So did a whole group of other (medical professionals) at FACTS.”
Fr. Holland was thrilled to discover FACTS with its focus on science. “Not that I wanted to give up my faith,” he adds, “but that faith is built upon reason, and I wanted the reasons.”
Dr. Duane, cofounder and executive director of FACTS, met Fr. Holland at a FACTS meeting a few years ago. She recalls “he always asked thoughtful questions, seeking to understand the scientific explanations about how FABMs can facilitate better women’s health care. He truly is a consummate clinician.” Dr. Duane appreciates his commitment to sound, evidence-based information as he not only continues to learn but, especially, as he teaches others about FABMs. Such a desire to know and teach the science behind fertility awareness is foundational to our speaker program.
What has been most meaningful to you about working with FACTS?
“When one mixes the various sciences, then there are no clear boundaries for either the science of theology or the science of fertility awareness. However, when the boundaries are clear, then each can flourish and even support each other. FACTS sets the boundaries by focusing on the science of fertility awareness and not the science of theology. Thus, people who do not share the beliefs of a particular theology can still support and take part in fertility awareness scientific studies. This is what immediately caught my eye and is a great asset to the science of fertility awareness; not that I abandon my faith, but that I embrace the science that bolsters my faith.”
How can FACTS and knowledge of fertility awareness enhance a student’s education and a medical professional’s career? How has it enriched yours?
“In a clear and rational manner, FACTS presents the necessary knowledge to understand FABMs, interact with the myriad of FABM teachers, and incorporate this knowledge and information into patient care. Would you like to expand the boundaries of patient care? Would you like to provide a unique opportunity to empower your patients in understanding their health? Would you like to do this in a cost-effective, time-efficient manner? Then FABMs are for your practice, in that you offer something uniquely and powerfully different than most medical professionals.”
Fulfilling the Mission of FACTS
Fr. Holland enjoys the presentations he gives as a FACTS trained speaker. “Prior to giving a presentation, I review it; I do some extra study through the FACTS library and practice being informative yet concise. Being able to support the next generations gives me great comfort — that a wonderful healthy way of spacing children and diagnosing issues will continue.”
As a clinical nurse specialist, “I have a unique opportunity to bring advanced knowledge, practice, and an understanding of research into my understanding of FABMs…. Nurses and schools of nursing need to be brought into the picture. Oh, if only there were 35 hours in the day. Nevertheless, this is clearly on my radar screen for the future.”
What advice would you give students, residents, and physicians in practice or academia about fertility awareness and FABMs?
“Clearly, FABMs are the up-and-coming methods for women and couples to avoid or achieve pregnancy and assist in diagnosing health issues in women and men. However, we should always be aware of the misunderstanding and confusion generating complex questions, as well as personal biases surrounding the use of FABMs. Nonetheless, this is not stopping the growing number of people demanding healthcare practitioners have a working knowledge of FABMs.”
More About Fr. Holland
Fr. Holland is a Roman Catholic priest with two years of philosophical and ancient languages education from Duquesne University as well as a Master of Divinity from Saint Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, PA. Among various roles, he has served as a hospital chaplain and member of their ethics committee. He has volunteered at the Catholic Charities Free Health Care Center in Pittsburgh, PA as a nurse and CNS for diabetes education and case management.
He also serves on the Community Action Committee to the Catholic Charities Board of Directors, giving professional opinions based on evidence-based practice and best practices, as well as reviewing and credentialing practitioners at the Center. He is a proud member of ReNew the I Do, a Catholic organization that promotes marriage preparation and supports married couples. He is also a consultant to and instructor for Modern Fertility Care under the umbrella of ReNew the I Do.
His family includes his sister, her husband, and their three adult sons; his brother, his wife, and their two adult children. He also has two Australian Shepherds, Sheena and Lady, who keep him very active!
Are you searching for a Physician or Educator trained in Fertility Awareness-Based Methods?
Good news – you can now access our searchable, international database of physicians, medical professionals, and fertility educators. The entries are searchable by location, name, specialty, methods, or keyword. Our hope is that this database will serve as an important resource for both the medical community and patients alike.