Laurie Saletnik, Director of Nursing for Perioperative Services
Date: June 25, 2013
When she first came to The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Laurie Saletnik figured she’d stay for about five years, and then return home to her native Massachusetts. “Honestly, I didn’t even know where Hopkins was,” Saletnik recalls. “But I just knew it was the number one place to be and that I wanted to work here.”
That was in 1983, and Saletnik is still here. Over time, she’s risen through the ranks from bedside nurse to nurse manager to assistant director of nursing to her current job as director of nursing for perioperative services. The position allows her to advocate for a huge swath of her colleagues in the nursing community, as perioperative services includes about 600 members of the nursing staff. And, having spent much of her career working as a perioperative nurse, Saletnik is particularly equipped to do so.
On a day-to-day basis, what does your job entail?
I’m responsible for the nursing care provided in the operating rooms, and in the perianesthesia areas (prep and PACUs). I have to assure that we have the right complement of staff and that they are appropriately trained. I’m involved in assuring that the appropriate supplies, equipment and instruments are available for procedures in the operating room. And, working with the medical director, I need to make sure that patients are prepared for surgery and that the procedures are done as scheduled and as efficiently as possible. These days much of my attention is on helping get patients through our system.
You’re the first person to hold this position. Why was the job created?
We needed to bring a louder voice to the perioperative nursing group. The nursing staff in the surgery department is so large, it can be hard to advocate for a particular group of people.
Why is it so important that perioperative nurses have a unique voice?
The needs of this group are unique in many ways, and its important to have a director with awareness of those issues. In the perioperative arena, work life can be very unpredictable. Different things can happen over the course of a case that might extend or shorten the day. The reliance on multidisciplinary teamwork and collaboration, the highly technical skills needed to understand certain instruments and equipment—those things are somewhat unique to the perioperative environment.