Good Samaritan director of nursing to take Hawaiian cruise following her February retirement
By Kristen Miller
HOWARD LAKE, COKATO, MN “Life is a journey and only you hold the map,” is on the office wall of Barb McLeod, director of nursing at Good Samaritan Society in Howard Lake.
This is a saying McLeod will continue to live by as she retires Feb. 26 after 46 years of nursing.
“I want to retire while I am still healthy and able to enjoy life,” said the 65-year-old of Cokato.
“I know many people who were denied that . . . of reaching their goals and dreams,” she said.
Throughout her career, McLeod has worked in various capacities as a registered nurse. Most of her career was spent in long-term care facilities like Good Samaritan and Cokato Manor.
McLeod has seen the health care and nursing field change drastically due to government regulations and budget cuts.
“It’s been frustrating to provide quality of care and at the same time, trying to cut costs,” McLeod said.
As the director of nursing, McLeod has had to spend much more time doing paperwork and less time working one-on-one with the residents and families.
“I really have a heart for the elderly. I hear their stories and I have compassion for them,” McLeod said.
McLeod is a 1962 Cokato High School graduate. She went to nursing school, became an LPN, then spent more than 10 years working at a hospital and clinic in Minneapolis.
In 1976, she married Bob McLeod and together, they had a daughter, Allison, and a son, Eric.
In 1994, McLeod graduated with her RN degree, thanks to a push from Darlene Nyquist, Cokato Manor’s director of nursing at the time.
What McLeod has enjoyed most through her 46 years of nursing is the many relationships she has developed with her patients, residents, and their families.
Though her life has been blessed with many good things, McLeod also had to endure hard times, having been diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999.
She completed chemo therapy and began radiation. When, her husband died due to heart complications.
McLeod has been cancer-free for 10 years now and tries to live every moment as if it were her last.
“You live through life’s trials and struggles you get stronger,” she said.
McLeod has been working at the Good Samaritan Society in Howard Lake since September of 2007. She has been the director of nursing for the past year-and-a-half.
Her fellow co-workers will miss McLeod when she retires.
“We have been very blessed to have her as our director of nursing,” said Amanda Kortekaas, activities director.
“She is well-respected by her staff and co-workers. We will miss her, but wish her the very best,” Kortekaas added.
McLeod is looking forward to her retirement.
“I want to retire before this becomes my permanent home,” McLeod joked.
Her future plans include a Hawaiian cruise in April with her long-time friend Bette Luhmann, and spending time with her family, including her soon-to-be three grandchildren. She is expecting her first granddaughter in March, and has two grandsons, Carson, 10, and Parker, 8.
“They are my pride and joy,” McLeod said of her grandchildren.
“My life has been blessed with so many good things,” she added.
Salonek to take over as director of nursing
Angie Salonek, a 2001 Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted graduate, has been working for the Good Samaritan Society since May 2007.
Salonek began as a certified nursing assistant while she completed her bachelor of science degree in nursing at St. Cloud State University.
She came to Good Samaritan to take care of her grandmother, who was a resident at the time.
Unfortunately, Salonek’s grandmother passed away before she was even orientated.
After graduation, Salonek became a staff nurse and is now the minimum data set coordinator, submitting resident data to the state for reimbursement.
Salonek is also the chemical behavior/chemical restraint nurse and the rehabilitation coordinator.
She is excited to become the director of nursing and feels she is ready for the position because she is familiar with the facility and its residents.
“I’m looking forward to making this a better place for the residents,” Salonek said. “There is always room for improvement.”
Salonek is the daughter of Pat and Jessie Salonek of Waverly.