With more than 40 years of experience in pediatric nursing, Mary Salassi-Scotter hasn’t lost her passion for her patients or her enthusiasm for her work.
As vice president of Patient Care Services at Arkansas Children’s, Salassi-Scotter has experience in areas that include clinical nursing, academic and hospital-based nursing education, pediatric quality and performance movement activities and research, development and implementation of pediatric health care programs, nursing management and executive leadership.
In her career, Salassi-Scotter has mentored and coached others, led the development of new clinical programs, worked collaboratively with interdisciplinary care teams, maintained professional relationships with her peers and patients and their families and championed and guided health care improvements.
“I have a true passion for making a positive difference in the lives of children and families,” Salassi-Scotter said.
She enjoys being a facilitator for creating partnerships and working with, learning from and mentoring those who share her passion. Salassi-Scotter’s greatest inspiration continues to be the patients and families Arkansas Children’s serves each day.
She values the professional-patient relationships that help Salassi-Scotter and her colleagues to learn how to better support families.
“These relationships can truly make the world a better place by assuring that all children have the chance to grow into healthy, happy, positive and productive citizens who will shape our future for generations to come,” Salassi-Scotter said.
She has led the development of a number of programs, including the Arkansas Nursery Alliance and the Arkansas Children’s Family Centered Care Model.
Salassi-Scotter is grateful for the strong family relationships she has had in her own life and the support and encouragement she has received. She acknowledges her good health, her education at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and meaningful work with mentors and colleagues that have helped her at each career stop.
But Salassi-Scotter’s greatest influence has been the children she has treated as patients. She credits their strength, love for life and courage to excel and overcome obstacles for inspiring her own efforts.
“If they never give up and still can find such joy in a simple balloon or a trip to the playroom then I should always be able to keep working hard on their behalf,” Salassi-Scotter said.
There are challenges, of course. Salassi-Scotter acknowledges that it is difficult to share with parents the news that their child may have a serious illness, may not survive or will have ongoing challenges throughout their lives. It is also difficult, she says, to witness some of the difficult situations where children are harmed or neglected.
Yet even in those moments Salassi-Scotter says it helps that she and the staff at Arkansas Children’s can still make a positive difference by creating meaningful family experiences, helping to create good memories and recognizing the unique traits and characteristics that make their child so special.
“Once you figure out how to do that and stay healthy yourself, I think it also helps when you reach out to mentor and care for your colleagues who may be struggling over the same issues,” Salassi-Scotter said.
Outside her daily responsibilities, Salassi-Scotter has been active as a youth group adviser in her childrens’ school and at her church. She frequently serves as a graduate student preceptor and mentor for nursing students interested in either nursing leadership or pediatric nursing as a career.
Salassi-Scotter is also active in several national nursing organizations, serves on boards and has presented at national conferences throughout her career.
She is or has been a member, or leader, in the American Organization of Nurse Executives and Society of Pediatric Nurses and has been published in a number of medical journals, including the Journal of Pediatric Nursing.