By Amanda Hatfield Anderson
VIERA -- A local obstetrics and gynecology office hired a nurse practitioner in early June to expand its practice.
Reflections OB/GYN, based in Viera, formally welcomed Karine Romain, ARNP, WHNP, to its practice. Mrs. Romain has been a nurse practitioner for six years.
"About a month ago, my husband got a job opportunity here in Brevard, so we relocated from South Florida to here," Mrs. Romain said. "In South Florida, everyone was a little too much in one area, so it would take a long time to get where you wanted to go. I feel like I have space here in Viera. It's also much more relaxed and people are more open; I see that a lot in my patients."
"Nurse practitioners have a Master's degree, and we can provide medicine almost like a physician can," Mrs. Romain said. "I completed my Master's at Stony Brook online and my internship in South Florida."
When Mrs. Romain began her career as a nurse practitioner six years ago, she noticed many patients were skeptical of her due to her title.
"Lots of people were not sure what a nurse practitioner was. We had to explain to people that we weren't replacing their doctors, but were there to help and work together," Mrs. Romain said. "In the past six years, though, I've seen a big shift in patients' attitudes toward nurse practitioners and physician's assistants."
As a nurse practitioner, Mrs. Romain can prescribe medications, as well as perform the full scope of OB/GYN services at Reflections.
"I do procedures like normal pap smears, colposcopies, biopsies and regular things like prescribing birth control pills for adolescents and hormone replacement therapy," she added. "I do focus a lot on bio-identical treatment, for example. There are a lot of different areas that a nurse practitioner can focus on."
Like many in her career path, Mrs. Romain chose to become a nurse practitioner because of her desire to help people.
"It's absolutely fascinating," Mrs. Romain said. "I love making a difference in people's lives."
In her practice, Mrs. Romain focuses a great deal on adolescent medicine, as well as post-menopausal medicine.
"Adolescents need care and guidance throughout their beginning years and with all of their period issues," Mrs. Romain said. "You know, the cramping, heaviness and moodiness. It's very interesting to see how you can help all of these young women by actually going to school normally and having a life."
In addition to helping young women transition into their reproductive years, Mrs. Romain also counsels her patients.
"I love to teach the adolescents, sitting down with them and helping them through these years that are initially, probably, not very fun," she said. "Talking to them about finding their right partner, not making mistakes, pregnancy prevention. I also do a lot of counseling on STDs."
Mrs. Romain gives as much attention to her post-menopausal patients as she does her younger patients.
"We are living longer these days," she said. "We aren't dying at 50; rather, we are living into our 90s, and we are experiencing all of these different things."
Many post-menopausal patients, Mrs. Romain said, are often devastated because they cannot function the way they used to.
"It's affecting her life, her work, her family because she's not the same," Mrs. Romain added. "When you start looking, it's almost like a private investigation thing, trying to find the right fit for her through lifestyle changes, herbal supplements, hormones and, potentially, bio-identical medicine."
Mrs. Romain said that the best part of her job, with either type of patient, is when they come back to thank her.
"When they come back to see you, they're different and thank you for your help," she added. "It's beautiful and really makes my day."
Another bonus of her role as a nurse practitioner is the time Mrs. Romain gets to spend with her patients.
"A physician sees acute things, where as I do more preventative," Mrs. Romain said. "I have more time that I can spend, even if it is just an extra 10 minutes. I'm very grateful for that extra bit of time, because I feel like I really make an impact on my patient's lives that way."
Since coming to Reflections OB/GYN, Mrs. Romain is very thankful for the opportunity Dr. Mark Sargent has given her.
"I am very excited to have found this practice. It's a great fit and represented a different way of practicing that I love," Mrs. Romain said. "His practice has really allowed me to work to my full potential."
Reflections OB/GYN is located at 1705 Berglund Lane, Suite 102, Viera.
For more information, or to schedule an appointment with Karine Romain, call (321) 610-8955.