Director, Trauma Services
Truman Medical Center
Kansas City, Missouri
Growing up, some kids dream about becoming an astronaut or ballerina. For Teresa Lienhop, her dream has always been to become a nurse. Lienhop fondly remembers her and her sister accompanying their oral surgeon father on his rounds at hospitals in Louisiana and witnessing her mother’s versatility working in various roles as a nurse. It seemed she was destined for a profession in healthcare.
“I briefly thought about becoming a surgeon. Ultimately what convinced me to become a nurse was the wide variety of career opportunities available, whether it be at the bedside, teaching or in administration. The options to move up and around the career ladder are endless,” she said.
After graduating from Louisiana State University in 1979 with a degree in nursing, Lienhop spent the early years of her career at the bedside in the critical care and post-anesthesia care units. She carved out her path to an administrative role over time, acting first as a working manager – working at both the bedside and a manager – and eventually moving away from the bedside and into an administrative-only position.
In her current position as director of trauma services at Truman Medical Center in Kansas City, MO, Lienhop’s commitment to education, certification and maintaining her skills is ever-present. In fact, even though she has not worked at the bedside since 1992, Lienhop was one of the first nurses to earn the Trauma Certified Registered Nurse (TCRN®) credential when it was launched in 2016. “I believe in leading by example – I can’t expect my nurses to maintain a certain credential if I don’t have it myself,” she said.
This enthusiasm and passion for strong leadership is what made Lienhop an obvious choice for recognition in Ingram Media Magazine’s 15th installment of Heroes in Healthcare, which provides appreciation and acknowledgement to those in the fields on medical administration, professional and auxiliary services, nursing, volunteer service and lifetime service. Ingram’s writes that the focus of this recognition is to “bring forth stories from individuals whose career commitment to healing blesses the Kansas City area every day.”
As Truman strongly encourages and promotes advanced nursing certifications, the hospital and nursing administration recently implemented an incentive program for nurses at the bedside which provides a monetary bonus to those holding a specialty credential. Lienhop believes this incentive will help to meet departmental goals of achieving significant percentages of advanced certification in the near future.
“I have no doubt that certification plays a significant role in patient outcomes. The knowledge gained through studying for and then maintaining a certification enhances a nurse’s critical thinking and thought process, which ultimately leads to increased safety and enhanced care at the bedside.”