Member Spotlight: June Hart Romeo, NP, PhD, FACC, AACC

June Hart Romeo, NP, PhD, FACC, AACC, is the program manager, supervisor and cardiac nurse practitioner for the new Cleveland Clinic Regional Heart Failure (HF) Clinic, as well as their cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation (rehab) programs. Romeo screens patients for the cardiac rehab program and provides care for the Women's Cardiac Risk Reduction and Chronic Care clinics. In addition to providing staff and patient education, Romeo maintains the statistical database on patient outcomes and reports a 2 percent 30-day readmission rate for their HF patients.

Romeo holds multiple degrees in a variety of fields. In addition to bachelors and masters degrees in education in program development and evaluation, she holds a PhD in sociology with a focus on health care access issues. Romeo is a DNP candidate in clinical nursing leadership. As a certified HF nurse (CHFN) and an adult advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), becoming an associate of the ACC was a natural choice.

Her interests in research include studying decision-making in nurse practitioners (NP) on when to make referrals. Romeo is using shared medical appointments as a tool to increase efficiency and cost effectiveness. Incoming patients can choose to receive group orientation, focused examinations and set nutrition goals with an NP. Use of shared medical appointments has decreased wait time by 40 – 60 days and the cardiac program has grown from 3000 to 5000 patients. Other research interests include inter-relationships among diabetic control, lipids, obesity, cardiac septal thickness and left ventricular diastolic function.

Romeo hopes to continue in the positions she holds and expand her research. Working with elderly cardiac rehab patients provides opportunities to help them develop strength, muscle tone, low sodium diet control and live life to the fullest.

Romeo contributes to her community, volunteering at several free clinics and also wants to become more involved in the ACC. Outside of work interests, she plays the violin and is a member of a string quartet and a community orchestra.

Romeo's mentors include Robert White, MD, a neurosurgeon, and David Aron, MD, and endocrinologist. White was the first one to tell her to "use [her] brain and get more education". He taught her that knowledge is power and gave her multiple opportunities to develop professionally and to continue her education.

Aron helped Romeo get started in research. "Every time I'd ask a question in clinic he'd ask, 'What does the literature say?', said Romeo. "One time I triumphantly answered, 'There is no literature', to which he answered, 'Then you'll have to write it, won't you?'. He proceeded to mentor me through the research process and as a clinician."

Romeo also considers Irvine McQuarrie, MD, a neurosurgeon/neuroscientist, as a mentor. She notes that he has been a sounding board throughout her professional career, encouraging her to take risks, continue learning and to become the best clinician she could. He taught her how to develop her skills in observation, assessment and in asking questions.

Romeo was in academics for almost five years to set up a new nursing program but missed being with patients. She attended her first ACC Annual Scientific Session to learn about the opportunities were available for NPs. She wanted to hone her clinical skills and saw cardiology as the best place to get "back up to speed." She is involved in the ACC APRN Work Group within the CV Team Section and the ACC Research and Practice Outcomes Work Group. Romeo is also active with the ACC at the state level in Ohio.

Romeo encourages CV Team members to become more involved with the ACC, stating that members should "get involved with your local ACC Chapter to meet regional colleagues. Go to the ACC Annual Scientific Session meetings and meet your CV Team colleagues, as well as your physician colleagues. Attend sessions in your area and also in new areas. Visit the posters and talk to the presenters, ask questions. You will be amazed at what you learn, and at the opportunities you have – you will leave ACC's annual meeting invigorated and ready to take on new projects, look at the care of your patients from new perspectives and filled with research ideas. Most importantly, you will become part of the cardiology community through which you will learn to provide the best possible care to your patients."