Sheena Painter has worked in the healthcare field since she was old enough to have a job in Texas County. Over the years, Painter’s homegrown healthcare roles have evolved with her knowledge base, too.

Painter’s first job at age 17 was as a certified nurse’s assistant (CNA) at Licking Park Manor. Painter remembers thinking, “CNA? What’s that?”

Although Painter didn’t know what a CNA was, it was a job in her hometown, and she needed a job. The CNA job also led to some private in-home care for elderly neighbors, and Painter found an easy fit in the role of caregiver.

From the nursing home, Painter went to Phelps County Hospital, where she worked as a CNA and moved up into a laboratory job as a phlebotomist. Experience and age under her belt, Painter started LPN school when she was legally old enough –– 18 –– to be a licensed practical nurse.

“I thought, ‘Why not?’” Painter said regarding her venture into full-fledged nursing.

She held jobs as an LPN at the Rolla and Salem hospitals and, finally, at Texas County Memorial Hospital.

Painter worked at TCMH while she got her associates degree in nursing from Missouri State University in West Plains. As a registered nurse at TCMH, Painter tried her hand in many different departments including pharmacy and clinical information technology.

TCMH began implementing electronic medical records in 2005, and Painter was a super user. She trained others learning how to use the electronic medical records system.

“I worked with the physicians helping them learn the bedside charting program,” Painter said.

She seemed find a niche for herself in teaching and also in patient care.

While working as an RN at TCMH, Painter continued her nursing education pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing through the online program at Western Governor’s University in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Painter’s work with EMR and healthcare also helped prepare her for the dual RN roles — nurse at TCMH and nursing instructor at Texas County Technical College and MSU-West Plains.

Painter found that she equally enjoyed providing hands-on patient care and teaching the healthcare practice to others.

Painter’s time at TCMH also gave her the opportunity to work with many different types of healthcare providers, including nurse practitioners. After Painter received her bachelor’s degree, she decided to continue her education by pursuing a master’s degree as a family nurse practitioner through Frontier Nursing University in Hyden, Ky.

“I have had the opportunity to know and work with many amazing practitioners doing amazing things,” Painter said.

Painter and her family used area family nurse practitioners to meet their personal healthcare needs.

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

When asked what aspects of the nurse practitioner profession she enjoys most, Painter laughed and explained that she loves variety.

“I’ve had this ridiculous career in healthcare where I’ve seen and done a lot of different things,” Painter said. “I haven’t been bored, and I really enjoy all of it.”

The teacher in Painter comes out in her nurse practitioner role when she has the opportunity to counsel a patient about a complex medical issue or to teach a woman about simple contraceptive planning. Painter believes that part of the role as a nurse practitioner in the community is to be a community healthcare educator.

As a family nurse practitioner, Painter has kept her ties with TCMH. She works 20 hours a week in the TCMH Walk In Clinic in Houston.

“Over the years TCMH has shown me loyalty and appreciation, and I feel the same loyalty and appreciation toward TCMH,” Painter said.

Painter is also employed full-time by Cox College of Nursing as the simulation coordinator and assistant professor for the nursing cohorts of RN/BSN students of Cox College and Drury University. Painter’s students are locally based and receive clinical and classroom training under Painter.

“I enjoy watching students learn new things and experience the joy and excitement that come from learning,” Painter said.

Painter firmly believes that students that are trained locally and students that have positive experiences with local employers during their training will have more incentive to stay in the area where they have trained to seek employment.

“The local nursing schools are great for our community,” Painter said. “We have the opportunity to grow our own for our local healthcare facilities.”

Painter and her husband, Greg, have purchased a small farm in Bucyrus where they are fixing up the home on the property. They have a son, Ryan, a third-grader at Houston Elementary School.

When Painter isn’t working or teaching, she enjoys “old fashioned” pursuits—sewing, quilting and gardening.

“I’m secretly an old timer,” Painter said with a laugh.

Regardless of her age or pastimes, Painter has a homegrown passion for the health of Texas County. And she intends to cultivate and grow that passion for her community for many more years.

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