Tucked away on the quiet first level of the University of Colorado Boulder’s Wardenburg Health Center, marked by HPV vaccine pamphlets and free condoms, students will find the center’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Clinic. For nurse practitioner Beth LeFebre, it’s simply the office.
The Sexual and Reproductive Health Clinic is equipped to handle a wide range of patient needs. According to LeFebre, each provider sees about 14 to 16 patients a day and is able to prescribe birth control, perform exams, administer vaccines, run tests to the lab and provide resources for any further care outside of the clinic.
LeFebre, who has been a part of the sexual and reproductive health team since December 2019, is one of six providers at the clinic
LeFebre is qualified to perform long-acting contraception insertions, such as IUDs and Nexplanon, and is set to begin training to become the clinic’s second colposcopy provider, a procedure given to patients with abnormal pap smear results.
But LeFebre, a Columbia University nursing grad, didn’t always envision this career for herself. While working in medical administration at a nonprofit, she became inspired by the work of nurse practitioners.
“After working at that clinic for a couple years in admin, I applied to go back to get my [bachelor’s in nursing] and my [master’s degree] to actually become a nurse practitioner,” she said.
Originally from Atlanta, LeFebre obtained both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from Columbia before moving to Colorado and joining the team at Wardenburg.
LeFebre said her decision to focus on sexual and reproductive health fills a gap she experienced in sexual education.
“For me, it was something that was lacking in middle school and high school in a lot of ways and so when I came across this information for myself I felt really empowered by it and just was excited about the opportunity to bring that to other people,” she said.
Empowering students to have the knowledge and skills to take care of themselves is something LeFebre hopes to give to all her patients.
“I’m here to partner with people and to help people along their way,” she said. “I can tell you what medicine you might take, or what the next step should be for evaluation, but ultimately it’s on the patient to do the work.”
LeFebre and others at the clinic hope to give each patient a personalized care experience depending on a patient’s knowledge of their own medical needs.
“You got your first semester freshmen…maybe this is their first time even visiting the doctor without their parents and so that person does need a little more education and we’re happy to do that,” LeFebre said. “That’s why a lot of people work here because we’re very much aware that this is people’s first contact with medical assistance on their own so all of our providers are really happy to be walking people through.”
“We all work together”
Linda Curran, a colleague of LeFebre and nurse practitioner at the clinic, said one of LeFebre’s biggest contributions to the team is her perspective as one of the younger staff members in the clinic.
“She brings a youthful perspective,” Curran said. “I think she’s sensitive to reproductive health issues and she’s a little bit younger than some of us. It’s kind of nice to see her point of view on certain subjects.”
The whole sexual and reproductive health team at Wardenburg shares a close relationship, according to advanced practice clinician Heather Goodchild.
“It’s very collaborative among all the providers working in that section of the clinic. We all work together on the patient to ask questions all the time and just really model our care after each other,” Goodchild said.
LeFebre understands the importance of her work and hopes the student body will utilize all Wardenburg has to offer.
“I think the strength of Wardenburg is that it actually has a ton of resources,” LeFebre said.
On a tour of the facility given by LeFebre, the capabilities of the center are on full display: an on-site lab for testing, a pharmacy, radiology, physical therapy, primary care, nutrition, behavioral health, massage and acupuncture are all available for students.
“We’re not just here to address whatever you’re here to address today, but we’re here to help you learn the healthcare system, how to interact with it, and to make that as seamless as possible,” said LeFebre.
The importance of her work at the clinic is not lost on LeFebre. Ultimately, working at the Sexual and Reproductive Health Clinic has implications beyond Wardenburg and regular student care.
“There’s a lot of back and forth on women’s rights and what we’re allowed to do with our bodies. I think just knowing this information is life-changing. Knowing about your body, knowing how to care for it, knowing when to seek a doctor or nurse practitioner’s opinion is life-changing and can be life-saving as well,” LeFebre said.
When it comes to protecting women’s health, the clinic is fit to offer a wide range of care. Birth control options at the clinic include providing prescriptions like the pill, patch and the ring, with pick up on-site at the pharmacy. The clinic also provides pregnancy testing and counseling options for students in need.
“It really is about just partnering with women and anyone who needs sexual and reproductive health care to really help them understand their body,” LeFebre said. “It’s really important work.”
Contact CU Independent Guest Writer Gabbie Burton at firstname.lastname@example.org.