March 7, 2024

FACTS Teacher Series: Lisa Jurski, PT, CFCP

“It’s Not Information For the Fringes!” What Every Woman Deserves to Know

By: Gracie Stotzer

Director’s Note: As part of our FACTS Teacher series, we highlight the diverse set of physicians and clinicians who contribute their time and expertise to help us educate the next generation of medical professionals via our FACTS elective. Our series continues with Lisa Jurski, a physical therapist and Creighton Model FertilityCare™  practitioner.  Through this role, Lisa has educated more than 900 couples over the last 15 years. At FACTS, we are grateful to Lisa for her regular participation as a webinar presenter, elective preceptor, and our point person for our upcoming conference on April 19 and20 in Austin, TX. We hope to see you there! Learn more about Lisa by checking out her entry in the FACTS Physician/ Clinician Directory. If you are an FABM-trained medical professional or educator, please apply here to join the directory.

 

Meet Lisa

“I didn’t grow up thinking I wanted to teach people about cervical mucus,” Lisa Jurski said. She studied Human Biodynamics (Biology) in her undergraduate schooling and went on to receive her master’s degree in Physical Therapy from Washington University School of Medicine. Now based in Austin, Texas, Lisa is in a private practice called Poke and Prod Physical Therapy. However, her work doesn’t stop there: When she’s not poking and prodding her physical therapy clients, she is spreading the word about fertility awareness. As a certified Creighton Model FertilityCare™ Practitioner (CFCP), Lisa has now taught more than 900 couples about fertility awareness-based methods (FABMs) for family planning.

The Meal That Changed it All

 Lisa never had any education in modern fertility awareness while growing up. As far as she knew, natural family planning (NFP) was the rhythm method. She first encountered FABMs by chance when she went out to lunch with her husband’s cousin, who was a Creighton Model practitioner. She mentioned the method to Lisa and told her all about modern fertility awareness, and Lisa was captivated.

“My husband didn’t know it yet,” Lisa joked, but by the end of that lunch, “we were going to learn how to use Creighton.”

The couple soon began learning this natural method with a Creighton-trained practitioner. In those first few years of charting her cycle, Lisa began to wonder why this information wasn’t more accessible. She and her husband were living in Chicago at the time and FABMs seemed hard to find unless a woman knew what to look for. Eventually, Lisa began toying with the idea of teaching the method herself to make it more accessible to people in Chicago.

In those first few years of charting her cycle, Lisa began to wonder why this information wasn’t more accessible.

The Importance of Informed Consent

Lisa shared that she had been on hormonal contraception for 10 years. She was told it was better for her and was never given informed consent.

“It was never a question,” she explained, noting that education is paramount in healthcare. “You can’t make a good decision if you don’t know what your options are. Make sure you have informed consent.”

Having experienced the benefits of Creighton in her own life and marriage, Lisa became more and more convicted about rectifying the misconceptions surrounding FABMs, particularly in the medical community. Eventually, she decided to complete formal training in the Creighton Model to become a FertilityCare™ Practitioner (FCP).

Now as a CFCP, Lisa’s perspective as a patient informs her passion for educating others about their fertility. In her Creighton education sessions, she strives to present information about FABMs in a way that is accessible and non-judgmental.

“Women and couples respond to the truth,” she said. “It makes them start to think, ‘I didn’t think I had any other option besides birth control.’”

In her experience, she has found that patients and physicians both often lack a comprehensive understanding of the safety surrounding conventional methods of birth control, as well as accurate information about modern FABMs. Couples may want an alternative to avoiding pregnancy but think FABMs don’t work because they don’t know the true efficacy rates. Those efficacy rates rely on couples being educated properly. Even among couples who are informed, Lisa acknowledged that the behavioral component required by FABMs can be a challenge.

“In her experience, she has found that patients and physicians both often lack a comprehensive understanding of the safety surrounding conventional methods of birth control, as well as accurate information about modern FABMs.”

“You have to put time and effort into it to make it truly effective,” Lisa said, noting there seems to be a lack of willingness to take ownership of decision-making in the modern world. “People want it to be the responsibility of a third party. The willingness of people to outsource their fertility is tremendous.”

Finding FACTS

After getting trained as an FCP, Lisa encountered FACTS About Fertility and attended a speaker training hosted by Dr. Marguerite Duane, Executive Director of FACTS. In Lisa’s words, “the rest is history.” Lisa now volunteers her time for FACTS as a regular presenter in the FACTS monthly webinar series. Additionally, she is a preceptor for the FACTS elective, offering medical and healthcare professional students the opportunity to sit in on patient education sessions and experience the Creighton Model user experience in a hands-on way.

“I really want [students] to understand that women deserve better from the perspective of informed consent,” Lisa said. “They can’t make an educated choice if they don’t know what their options are. And if medical professionals can’t lay out our options for us, we are both set up to fail.”

Lisa also underscored the important work that FACTS does, bridging the knowledge gap and equipping medical professionals to better inform their patients. Speaking from personal experience, she noted that there’s a lack of transparency related to the side effects of pharmaceutical options for family planning.

“Doctors are not getting that education about side effects,” she said. “They are getting education from the pharmaceutical companies, and they don’t learn about the fine print.”

As a practitioner herself, Lisa feels that it is her responsibility to make sure women have the education they need to make an informed choice. Educating patients requires also educating their physicians and clinicians. Lisa noted, FACTS has had a tremendous impact by creating an environment of true learning and opened people’s eyes to other possibilities. A large number of medical professionals would not have learned about or become interested in FABMs otherwise.

“As a practitioner herself, Lisa feels that it is her responsibility to make sure women have the education they need to make an informed choice, but educating patients requires also educating their physicians and clinicians.”

In closing, Lisa reflected back on the lack of discussion of FABMs in her own life growing up and encouraged more frank conversation around these methods.

“It’s not information for the fringes,” Lisa said. “Every woman deserves to know how her body works, and then we can be empowered to make educated choices.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gracie Stotzer

Gracie Stotzer first joined FACTS as the Conference and Speaker Program Coordinator in the summer of 2021 and now serves as the Educational Programs Assistant. Upon graduation from Benedictine College with dual majors in psychology and Spanish, she traded out her native Albuquerque, NM for Sevilla, Spain to become an ESL instructor. While abroad, she began a crash course in fertility awareness to address her own health issues. Upon returning to the United States, she encountered FACTS and is delighted to now engage with students and FACTS speakers alike–including some of the very same doctors who saw her as a patient while abroad.  Gracie now balances her FACTS responsibilities with graduate studies in human nutrition, fostering a growing interest in the intersection of the health of both people and the planet. Unsurprisingly, in her spare time, you can find her enjoying great food and the great outdoors!

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