From left, Kayla Amelung, Trish Amelung and Julie Phipps take a moment for a photo at the new office of Lowcountry Family Care on Main Street. LYNNE COPE HUMMELL

As her children grew up and her duties as a stay-at-home mom declined a bit, Trish Amelung of Hilton Head Island decided in 2009 it was time for her to go back to school.

The choice was fairly clear. “My mother is a nurse, my sister is a nurse,” Amelung said, “and I thought it would be good for me too.”

She enrolled in the nursing program at Technical College of the Lowcountry, a two-year degree program, and graduated in 2011 as a registered nurse (RN).

Amelung, an island resident with her husband, Matt, and two children since 1999, first worked for oncologist Dr. Gary Thomas, helping with chemo treatments at the infusion center.

Setting her sights a little higher, she started nurse practitioner school in 2012 and graduated in 2016, all the while working for other doctors.

It might have been during this time that she decided a better option for her would be to open her own practice.

“I wanted to set my own schedule, be able to make decisions, practice on my terms, and make my own rules as much as possible,” Amelung said.

Fast forward to August, when, after many months of planning, she opened Lowcountry Family Care at 23 North Main St., Suite 303.

“We’re a normal, old-fashioned personal care practice,” she said. For now, she is the only nurse practitioner, working with medical assistant Julie Phipps. Daughter Kayla serves as receptionist for the practice.

Amelung made clear that she is “not a doctor! But I do have a supervising physician I can call or refer patients to that doctor.”

Her practice does, however, include many aspects of care, from blood work and screenings for chronic illness to solutions for common aches and pains. “People can come for whatever is bothering them – stomach ache, sinus infection, pain,” she said. Nurse practitioners are licensed to write prescriptions for many ailments.

She acts as a “gatekeeper,” she said, and will send patients on to specialists as needed.

In setting her own schedule, Amelung considered that many potential patients would like to be able to see a provider before or after their own regular work hours. The practice will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and closed on Friday. “We have these longer hours so people don’t have to take a whole day off work go to a doctor,” she said.

No referrals are needed for appointments. For more information, call 843-816-7266.