UMSL alumna appointed to Missouri State Board of Nursing

Taryn Sandheinrich, Nurse Practioner

When she’s not focused on caring for the pediatric oncology patients at Siteman Kids, Taryn Sandheinrich is devoted to another child – her own 8-month-old son. The St. Louis native, who currently lives in Webster Groves with her husband, is also an avid reader of “just about anything,” though she says it’s tougher these days to justify staying up late to finish an enthralling chapter. (Photo by August Jennewein)

“Almost daily I think, ‘Yes, I chose the right field,’” says Taryn Sandheinrich, “because each day I have the opportunity to make a patient’s life better.”

The nurse practitioner, who earned her master’s degree in nursing from the University of Missouri–St. Louis in 2014,  currently cares for pediatric oncology patients through Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital – but she’s recently taken on some entirely new duties as well.

Earlier this month, former Gov. Jay Nixon appointed Sandheinrich to the Missouri State Board of Nursing.

Sandheinrich says she’s both thrilled and surprised by the appointment, and that her decision to seek it out came from a desire to serve not only her patients but fellow nurses.

Such passion and commitment to her work – a recurring theme during the lengthy application process – is something Sandheinrich says she developed early on in her nursing studies.

“I knew that I had chosen the appropriate field when I found even the most undesirable of tasks rewarding if it was comforting to a patient,” she says, adding that working with patients battling cancer was also on her radar. “I always loved oncology as I found the disease and treatment modalities fascinating.”

Something Sandheinrich didn’t identify right away, however, was a desire to work with children specifically.

“Honestly, I never thought I would be in pediatrics,” she says. “But after doing my clinical rotations in my undergrad years at St. Louis Children’s, I realized I absolutely loved taking care of kids.”

Why?

In part because of their families.

“I fell in love with the family-centered care and therapeutic relationships that are formed,” Sandheinrich explains. “There are times when it is quite challenging emotionally, but I laugh every day. And I am able to serve these families at the most difficult time in their lives. That’s deeply rewarding.”

As Sandheinrich prepares to fit her new duties in with those she already loves, she says she’s quite appreciative of the training that has helped ready her along the way, including her years at UMSL. She’s so appreciative in fact, that she’s decided to return to the school for further study. She’s back at UMSL again, this time in pursuit of her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.

“I chose UMSL in the first place because of the wonderful reputation that the nursing program has,” she says, “I continue to have a great experience here.”

When asked if she has any advice for future aspiring nurses, Sandheinrich points right back to the kind of curiosity that was so important during her early student years.

“The best advice I can give is to ask questions,” she says. “No one is expected to know everything right after graduation, and the only way to learn is to ask as many questions as you can. As a new nurse, it can be intimidating to ask veteran nurses for help or clarification, but it is always better to ask than risk patient safety.”

She adds one final practical tip.

“Stay up to date with the latest evidence-based practice guidelines. These seem to be changing all of the time as new research is being done, and this knowledge is crucial to delivering the best and safest care to patients.”

The UMSL Experience

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