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Get to know a leader: Sarah Horn

17 Apr 2016

By: Sarah Horn, MBA, BSN, RN, NE-BC, RNC-NIC, chief nursing officer

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Sarah started with Salem Health as an RN in 2004 and was appointed chief nursing officer in January 2015. Prior to being CNO she held several nursing and nurse manager positions, including director of hornWomen’s & Children’s Services. She earned her MBA from Marylhurst University and her BSN from University of Portland. She holds certification in neonatal nursing.

How did you start working in health care? 
When I was little, I played doctor with the neighbor kids and my favorite game was Operation … does that count? Truthfully, working in health care came naturally, since my mom has been a nurse here for over 37 years.  I loved hearing her talk about taking care of patients (not to mention the heroic and some gruesome stories told over dinner). I actually began my career here as a toddler when I starred in the pre-operative surgery video that was shown to children who were getting ready for surgery.  My first official (paying) job started when I was in high school, as a surgical assistant. I continued this through my college and nursing school years. Being a nurse was always what I wanted to be. I never thought twice or about any other profession. 

What everyday thing are you really good at?
Does being really busy count? 

What are three of your favorite books?
The only books I have time to read now are “The Cat and the Hat,” “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” and “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.” Can you tell I have a 6 and 3-year-old? 

What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Anyone who knows me knows that I am quite detail-oriented. So, I find myself irritated by grammatical inaccuracies and spelling errors. Another thing that grinds on my nerves is when you’re out to dinner and the waiter/waitress doesn’t recognize when you’re due for a drink refill. 

What is your most embarrassing moment (as a child OR adult)?
It’s probably not the most embarrassing moment, but I’m frequently reminded of it. In high school, a group of us went to the Chart House for a formal prom dinner.  I noticed each table setting had a small porcelain bowl with a round ball of what appeared to be ice cream. I thought it was odd that each person would be served their own individual serving, especially before we had even ordered our meal. But, since I infrequently ate out growing up, I thought maybe this was what you ate to clean your palate (or something) at fancy restaurants. So, I took it upon myself to dig in and quickly realized it was not ice cream. It was butter, of course. I swiftly found my cloth napkin (you probably know what I did). My friends (including my husband) never let an opportunity go by without reminding me of this moment whenever we’re out to dinner where butter dishes are served. 

What is your favorite quote or saying?
I have two philosophies I keep top of mind and believe in firmly:

  • 1.)Where one’s talents and the world’s needs cross is where one’s purpose in life lies.Therefore, be the best of you, find and continuously pursue it!
  • 2.)If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

What hobbies do you have?  
With two small children and a husband who is a teacher and coach, I’m kept pretty busy outside of work. I can be found spinning and/or running in the very early a.m. and enjoy participating in several organized runs/races/relays, such as the Hood to Coast, Cascade Lakes relays, and various duathalons.  When I’m not exercising or at work, I can be found spending time with my children and husband, supporting my husband’s high school wrestling team, shopping, and spending time with friends and family.  

What is your favorite thing about working at Salem Health?
The culture! Salem Health is home to me.  I have grown up here and plan to retire here. The people who work here are unique; that makes it so special.  I take pride in the care we deliver and thrive on the rewarding feeling I get in knowing how well we take care of our patients. 

What apps, software or tools can you not live without? 
My iPhone! In fact, I can even be found taking it with me in (well, near) the hot tub.

What are some of the places you frequent to eat in Salem?
I’m not a fancy meal kinda girl. To be honest, I’d choose a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or bowl of cereal over most meals. But, being that I’m not the only person in our household, we can be found frequenting Red Robin and Paddington’s Pizza. With our busy and hectic schedule, we can also be found visiting Subway and Jamba Juice all too often. I should also mention that I’m fairly certain I keep Starbucks in business as I’m a daily Starbucks drive through visitor. 

What is something people would be surprised to know about you? 
I married my high school sweetheart, I’m a vegetarian, and I was adopted as a newborn.

What is one of your favorite family traditions? 
For the last 39 years, my grandma has arranged and supported an annual family beach trip every fall where four generations (sometimes totaling over 30 people) gather on the Oregon coast for a long weekend. We all stay in one large beach house where many fun memories are made over these cherished weekends. 

What is something still on your bucket list? 
Honestly, I can’t say that I have a bucket list as I feel fortunate to have had the opportunities, moments, and many blessings in my life that I’ve already had. Having said this, one thing I have always wanted to do is to serve on a medical mission trip.   

What is something you’ve learned in the past year?
It is far more important to know what person the disease has than what disease the person has.