The Nursing Profession Has Been a Winding Road for One Nurse Practitioner

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Reviewed by Abbie Jacobs, RN, BSN

When Sheena Painter began working as a certified nurse’s assistant (CNA) at the age of 17, she didn’t know she was taking her first step towards a long and successful career in nursing.

The Texas County, Missouri nurse remembers thinking, “CNA? What’s that?”

Her first job at Licking Park Manor was a good fit for Painter’s nurturing nature and she quickly added to her experience by adding in-home care for elderly patients to her resume. Painter moved on and landed a job as a CNA at Phelps County Hospital where she soon became a phlebotomist.

At age 18, Painter decided it was time to make a full commitment to a nursing career and began LPN school. But she didn’t stop there. After accepting a position as a registered nurse at Texas County Memorial Hospital, she attended Missouri State University to earn her associates degree in nursing.

In 2005, Painter became an expert in electronic medical records after TCMH rolled out the new process. She trained the medical staff, including working with physicians to guide them through the new process. This is when she realized she also had a knack for teaching.

Painter once again decided to further her education and received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Western Governor’s University’s online program and a master’s degree as a family nurse practitioner from Frontier Nursing University.

“Nurse practitioners can meet the needs of the whole family and the community. They provide great continuity of care in rural areas,” said Painter.

Painter now enjoys a hectic lifestyle working as a nurse practitioner 20 hours per week at TCMH Walk In Clinic as well as holding a full-time position at Cox College of Nursing. She believes that local nursing schools play an important role in keeping nurses in the community. “We have the opportunity to grow our own local healthcare facilities,” she said.