Sharing Mayo Clinic

Stories from patients, family, friends and Mayo Clinic staff

Human Resources

November 14th, 2012

Loving care, answered prayers and a bake sale

By Makala Arce MakalaArce

Carey and her daughter Catherine

Carey Deacon with her daughter Catherine, who says her experiences have made her want to work in health care and, ideally, at Mayo Clinic.

For Carey Deacon, the support of co-workers along with her daughter's medical care reaffirmed her decision to return to work at the "only place she felt passionate about."

Carey Deacon sped from her mother's graveside to the emergency room with her 15-year-old daughter, Catherine, doubled over in pain beside her in the car.

"I was in so much pain that my grandmother's funeral is a blur," Catherine says.

At the emergency room, in Newnan, Ga., Catherine had an ultrasound and CT scan to determine the source of her pain. Doctors told Deacon that Catherine's pain was caused by a cyst in her ovary. They sent her home with painkillers, telling Deacon her daughter would be fine and wouldn't require further treatment. Mother and daughter weren't so sure. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Carey Deacon, Catherine Deacon, Charles Coddington, dermoid tumor, employee, employment, Matthew Robertson, Ovary, surgery, tumor

June 16th, 2011

Inspired By My Mayo Clinic Patient Experience

By CSMMayo csmmayo

By: Sarah Gravina

During the past few weeks, my Mayo Clinic experience has come full circle.  As a Public Affairs intern, I am able to now use my passion for Mayo Clinic from a new perspective.  My journey at Mayo Clinic began in May 2010.

In February 2010, I was diagnosed with a rare inflammatory disease known as eosinophilic esophagitis.  The chronic illness, commonly found in children, is allergic in nature.  The presence of the allergen results in a high concentration of eosinophils in the esophagus.  Most often the allergen causing the illness is food related, however, new research shows environmental allergens are also a contributor.  The main symptoms of eosinophilic esophagitis include chronic inflammation of the esophagus, pain and difficulty swallowing.

I had experienced symptoms my entire life but spent years misdiagnosed.  In February 2010, I connected with a doctor who examined my past biopsies and identified the cells needed for diagnosis.  Due to the rarity of the illness, I was referred to Dr. Sami Achem, a gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic.  Dr. Achem’s research interests include gastroesophageal reflux, non-cardiac chest pain and eosinophilic esophagitis.

My appointment with Dr. Achem was in May 2010, and I was extremely impressed with the time he spent speaking with me and his expertise on the illness.  From my first meeting with Dr. Achem, I will say, my life changed dramatically.  I spent several days at Mayo Clinic undergoing extensive testing to better understand my illness and the underlying cause.  I was so pleased with the treatment by staff members, nurses and doctors.  I was treated as a person, a guest on the campus, rather than a sick patient.  The staff orchestrated a detailed itinerary allowing me to feel comfortable going to different departments throughout the campus for testing. Following testing, an ongoing treatment plan was prescribed including drug intervention and diet modification.

Since my first week at Mayo Clinic, I have stayed in close contact with Dr. Achem.  We have had several consultations in the past year to discuss treatment modifications, new research and long term expectations for the disease.  He is easily accessible and shows great concern for his patients.  I owe the significant improvement in my health to him as well as to the other doctors, nurses and staff members at Mayo Clinic.

My positive patient experience at Mayo Clinic sparked a passion for this organization and the health industry.   I pursued an internship opportunity in the Public Affairs department for several reasons, primarily to be a part of the organization that has given me so much.

Written by Sarah Gravina, Public Affairs Summer Intern

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Tags: Florida, patient story

November 15th, 2010

My First Mayo Moments

By CSMMayo csmmayo

Lauren Taylor and Wendy Rogers

Student Lauren Taylor (right) and Wendy Rogers.

Every year, Mayo Clinic's Public Affairs department welcomes a handful of university students who come to get some real world communications experience. The interns may be assigned any number of tasks, from drafting newsletter articles to handing out programs at events. Here's a report from Lauren Taylor on her first day at Mayo Clinic:

I was excited to begin my internship with the Public Affairs Department at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Jacksonville, Fla. As I drove to the clinic my first day, I thought about what I might do. I expected to spend time working in the hospital and to see patients, doctors and nurses around. But attending a rainy softball practice with a dozen 14-year-old girls, a production crew and a breast cancer survivor? Definitely not on my list of expectations!

Little did I know, the week I chose to start happened to be the same week that production began on Mayo Clinic’s new television commercial. In other words, it wasn’t just the normal whirlwind of activity – with staff juggling multiple meetings, answering pages from doctors and coordinating interviews for news media – but an extra spin that included cameras and a production crew of more than 30.

TV ad shoot on location

On location for a video shoot.

Chaos aside, watching the making of Mayo Clinic’s commercial, which featured breast cancer patient Wendy R., was an amazing way to start my internship.

One of the most interesting parts of the production was the truthfulness and accuracy of the commercial. I always assumed that health care commercials seen on television were scripted stories most likely portrayed by actors. And while some might be, Mayo’s production was definitely not. Every last detail was depicted honestly, a quality I found quite refreshing. Wendy’s remarkable story was told by her, her real family, and real Mayo doctors and staff members. In fact, the casting was so meticulous that there were representatives from each and every specialty area that works with breast cancer patients involved in the shoot.

Although I just began my internship with Mayo Clinic, I already feel like I’ve learned so much. Mayo Clinic’s Model of Care is obvious, as is their commitment to honesty and transparency, which I never expected to find “in the real world.” I’m thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this world-class organization.

Lauren Taylor, University of North Florida student

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Tags: internship, public relations, TV ad

November 12th, 2010

Patient Education Wins National Awards

By amy amy hahn sattler

Mayo Clinic’s Section of Patient Education won eight 2010 National Health Information Awards.  The educational material was created with team collaboration from various clinical areas and Media Support Services. Winners earned gold, bronze or merit awards.


  • Pressure Relief Maneuvers (MC6479), Bronze
  • Teens + Living Well:  Staying Healthy & Safe (MC5727-02), Bronze
  • Pediatric Cohlear Implants (MC6292), Merit
  • Your Child’s Heart Surgery, Middle School (MC6141-04), Merit
  • Teens + Depression: You Are Not Alone (MC6356), Merit


  • Barrett’s Esophagus & Esophageal Cancer (MC6373), Gold
  • Your Discharge From the Psychiatric Hospital (MC6281-01), Bronze
  • How to Treat Your Feet (MC6345), Merit

The entries were judged and selected by a panel of health information experts. More than 1,000 entries were submitted.

Watch a clip from gold winning video Barrett’s Esophagus and Esophageal Cancer:">

Click here to learn more about the Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center.

This article was written by Amy Hahn, Communications Consultant in the Section of Patient Education, Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

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Tags: education

September 20th, 2010

Visit the Transparent Man at Mayo Clinic

By amy amy hahn sattler

The life-size, see-through Transparent Man stands in the Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, educating visitors about the body’s anatomy any physiology.

The Transparent Man

Facts of interest about Mr. Transparent:

  • The 1933 Chicago World’s Fair Mayo Clinic Exhibit introduced him
  • The German Hygiene Museum of Dresden, Germany, created him
  • He spent five decades as the main attraction at the Mayo Clinic Museum
  • Push a button to learn about the circulatory system, skeleton and organs
  • He talks – well, not from his lips, but you hear a voice – and he lights up!
  • He’s an original and very few – if any – remain in existence
  • Why are his arms extended? Supposedly to embrace the sunlight

Stop in today to see the historic and unique Transparent Man. For more information about the Center, visit its website.

This post was submitted by Amy J. Hahn Sattler, MMC
Communications Consultant, Section of Patient Education, Siebens Subway

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August 11th, 2010

Sharing nursing knowledge

By Jenny LaMaster lamaster

Nurse publishing can significantly impact the quality of life for a patient. As registered nurses, we coordinate the care of our patients every day; however, we also impact patient care through collegial information sharing. The article, "Carnitine Deficiency: Implications for OR Nurses," is one such example of how registered nurses' scholarly activities and contributions to the nursing profession impact individual patient lives.

Chris Wolf, R.N., a registered staff nurse in Mayo's Pre-Operative/Outpatient/Perianesthesia Care Unit, and Elizabeth Pestka, R.N., a clinical nurse specialist in Mayo's Medical Psychiatric Program and a leader in nursing genomics at Mayo Clinic, published their article on carnitine deficiency in the July issue of OR Nurse 2009. The information in their article impacted a person's quality of life halfway across the country.

Chris Helner of Pennsylvania, was plagued with a variety of symptoms that made it difficult for him to lead a healthy life. As a direct result of his mother reading the Wolf and Pestka article, Helner has now visited Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus and has been able to reduce many of the symptoms caused by his carnitine deficiency diagnosis.

Elizabeth Thompson, R.N., editor-in chief of OR Nurse 2010 and nursing education specialist for orthopedic surgery at Saint Marys Hospital, believes this article is a testament to the power of publishing scholarly nursing knowledge.  Registered nurses often underestimate the breadth of their knowledge base and the impact their individual and collective expertise can have on their colleagues and patient outcomes.

Doreen Frusti, R.N., chair, Department of Nursing at Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus, champions and fully supports nursing research, scholarly activity, and the continued advancement of the professional nurse.

I recently had the opportunity to visit with Chris Wolf and Elizabeth Thompson and invite you to watch the video below.

You can learn more about nursing opportunities at Mayo Clinic here.

This article was submitted by Mark LaMaster, Nursing Placement Coordinator, Office of Nursing Placement and Career Development at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

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Tags: Employee Stories, Matthew Clark PhD, nurses, nursing, Perianesthesia Nursing, Perioperative Nursing, research, Rochester, surgical services

June 22nd, 2010

Being a Clinical Nurse Educator in the Surgical ICU

By Jennifer Lineburg jennifer lineburg

Teamwork is critical in Mayo Clinic’s Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU). Working right alongside the team of physicians, Clinical Nurse Educators work to plan and prep for the nursing skills associated with new processes and the use of the unit’s complex equipment. Working in such a high-tech, high-touch environment is rewarding and allows you to see how the results of your work directly affect and benefit a patient.

Staff in the SICU take pride in caring for such ill patients and their families in a caring and competent way. I see the role of an SICU Clinical Nurse Educator as one of leadership. The SICU staff is made up of both seasoned and new graduate nursing staff, and the Clinical Nurse Educator’s charge is to assess the educational needs of all staff members.

Jill Henderson, Clinical Nurse Educator on 5N Surgical Services, says she really enjoys sharing information with the staff to improve their performance and their level of patient care.

“Making complex concepts or therapies understandable creates some wonderful ‘Aha!’ moments with students or staff. These moments of understanding reinforce the desire to teach. The role of Clinical Nurse Educator encompasses many ways to teach and direct learning. From Basic Life Support classes to sensitivity training, from new employee orientation to computer classes, from new procedure implementation to required Mayo education, the Clinical Nurse Educator role offers countless ways to impact nursing care at Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus. I believe this role is purposely broad and open to creative teaching methods, with the aim of making the ‘new’ seem acceptable and doable. This is a stimulating, rewarding and necessary role within the Mayo system.”

Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus is currently searching for a Master’s prepared Clinical Nurse Educator in the SICU. Please visit to learn more and apply online.

Written by Anne Hudgens, Director of Clinical Nurse Education

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June 17th, 2010

Teens + Mayo Health Education = new visual, colorful and engaging design

By amy amy hahn sattler

Mayo Clinic's teen patient education print materials have a new look. The goal of this new design is to help teens engage and take responsibility for their health care and lifestyle choices.

The new design includes:

  • Colorful pages
  • Age-specific photos and other visuals
  • Peer quotes
  • Key health messages
  • Short chunks of education content

Patient education specialists, designers and health care providers conducted research and used teen feedback to create the new look and tone.

To learn more about the Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center click here

This post was submitted by Amy J. Hahn Sattler from the Section of Patient Education.

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May 26th, 2010

Austin Medical Center Receives Best Hospital Workplace Award

By Randy Schwarz randyschwarz

Austin Medical Center (AMC) has been named the 2010 Best Hospital Workplace — small hospital category — by the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA). The honor was presented to AMC staff and leaders on Friday, May 14 at the MHA annual awards ceremony in Minneapolis. AMC was one organization out of 18 individual and groups who received awards given out by the MHA recognizing caregivers, administrators and others who keep the bar high at Minnesota hospitals each year.

“Austin Medical Center’s efforts exemplify the kind of first-rate attention to quality that Minnesota hospitals are known for,” says MHA President and CEO Lawrence Massa. “We Minnesotans are fortunate we can depend upon organizations like Austin Medical Center when we are sick or injured.  Their commitment to excellence is what keeps Minnesota hospitals at the forefront of health care.”

AMC was chosen for the award based on its staff retention (turnover rates steadily decreased from almost 20% in 1998 to 6.1% in 2009); staff satisfaction survey results in 2009; and its staff recognition program called GREAT PLACE — where staff can be recognized by their coworkers and leaders for going above and beyond their normal job duties; for birthday’s, holiday’s, and length of service; and for referring other great people to work at AMC. 

AMC leaders also are very pleased with receiving the 2010 Best Hospital Workplace award. “This award demonstrates our staff’s commitment to service excellence, which in turn relates directly to our patient satisfaction,” says Dave Agerter, M.D., CEO of AMC. “We continue to look at ways to improve our staff and patient satisfaction — when our staff is happy so are our patients and it shows.  We are thrilled with this award and want to thank each and every one of our staff for making this award possible.  We have great people working at Austin Medical Center living our mission of “Caring, For Your Life” each and every day — whether they are in direct patient care or work behind the scenes.” 

For more information on MHA’s awards, including photos of MHA winners, visit

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Tags: Austin Medical Center, award, Best Hospitals, Mayo Health System

May 21st, 2010

Transition from PCT to RN

By CSMMayo csmmayo

Before I became a nurse, I was a patient care technician (PCT) for two years while I was working to pass my nursing boards. I have learned so much about myself and my work ethic.

I think working as a PCT humbled me. It taught me how much I care about patient rights and their safety. I knew I wanted to work in the medical field as a registered nurse since I was in junior high school, but I didn’t realize how much I really would love it until I started working at Mayo Clinic.

While I was a PCT I always tried to stand up for what was right for my patients and my fellow co-workers. I believe that PCTs are just as much a part of the patient's care as nurses. Most of the time, PCTs know the patients so much more on a personal level.

When I was a PCT and walked into patients' rooms, I could tell if they were sad, not feeling well, in pain or if something was wrong just by looking at them. However, I didn’t realize how much the nurses do and how much time they really do spend with the patients until I started working as a nurse myself.

I think both the PCT and the nurse are vital to the care of each patient, and it's important that they work together with respect. I think it’s so hard for people who haven’t worked in both roles to know what the other does.

The PCT role is very physical, and the nurse’s role is mental as well as physical. Both work very hard and are extremely busy doing different tasks. The PCT assists the nurse with any daily activities he or she needs help with, such as giving patients baths, helping with toileting, inserting and removing catheters and many more tasks.

The nurse's role is giving medications, managing problems, contacting physicians with updates and problems, wound care and management, monitoring labs, giving blood products, accuchecks and insulin, along with helping the PCT and much more. After working in both roles, I really see how hard each person works to make sure the patient gets the best care possible. I think about both roles differently now, and I am glad that I got the opportunity to do both. My journey as a PCT to a nurse was long and hard, but I think it’s made me a more compassionate nurse.

Written by Nicole Barlanti, a registered nurse working on an oncology unit at Mayo Clinic's hospital in Florida

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Tags: Mayo Clinic in Florida, nursing, patient care technician, pct

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