Sharing Mayo Clinic

Stories from patients, family, friends and Mayo Clinic staff

Posts (7)

Feb 1, 2010 · Our organizational heart is our competitive advantage

In late 2009, Mayo Clinic was named an America’s Best Hospital by U.S. News & World Report. Patients who were surveyed said Mayo’s nursing staff in Phoenix, Arizona, “always listen carefully, give clear explanations and are courteous.”

Barbara, a registered nurse at Mayo’s hospital in Phoenix, shares her perspective on our competitive advantage below:

Following a recent Phoenix Coyotes game, my husband and I were waiting in line for a table at a restaurant close to the hockey arena. An elderly couple, Bill and Elaine, sat down next to us at the bar. During our conversation, we learned that they were from Winnipeg and have spent each winter in Phoenix for more than a decade. When I asked why they chose Arizona, Bill quickly responded, “Mayo Clinic.” Elaine smiled and added, “… and the hockey.” And ever since their team relocated to Phoenix, they’ve made it a point to never miss a “home game.”

It was during the winter of 1999 that Elaine began having chest discomfort during the games. It turns out that she, like myself, is a loyal fan who takes her hockey seriously.

A friend told them about a local Mayo Clinic primary care office and Elaine made an appointment since the “discomfort had become more bothersome.” After an EKG was done, the doctor called an ambulance and sent her immediately to the emergency department — she was having a heart attack.

They both expressed gratitude for Mayo Clinic and the care provided there. Bill remembered, “those were some of the smartest, kindest people I’ve ever met … they saved my bride. We’ll never go anywhere else.” At that moment my husband got a page – our table was ready. We said our good-byes and shared good wishes for our hockey team that brought us together that evening.

Fan loyalty. Not easy to earn and even harder to sustain. Yet once your heart is engaged, loyalty will propel you thousands of miles outside your comfort zone. Your priorities shift and you keep coming back for more. Bill and Elaine are only two of Mayo Clinic’s loyal fans among millions across the globe.

Recently, through a satisfaction survey, patients named Mayo Clinic, the top hospital for nursing care in U.S. News and World Report’s America’s Best Hospitals ranking. Mayo Clinic Hospital shines and carries on the tradition founded by the Mayo family over a century ago: the needs of the patient are the only needs to be considered. A cornerstone that guides our decision-making is “business as usual.” Among the many honors and accolades received by our organization by peers or colleagues, this distinction demonstrates that patients feel that they are our priority.

It is often a smile, a hand on the shoulder or the shared tears of our compassionate staff members that patients and their loved ones remember long after they have left us. In our inherently stressful, emotionally charged environment, often it’s not what patients hear us say, but how they feel when they’re in our presence. They can sense our dedication and caring as we support them on their healing journey. In my opinion, it’s our “organizational heart” that sets us apart from our counterparts.

As patients of Mayo Clinic, my husband and I have consistently received quality care delivered by professionals who serve as exceptional ambassadors of the Mayo Clinic name. We’re grateful to each staff member who has cared for us over the years. And we agree with Bill and Elaine – “we’ll never go anywhere else.” In the same way, I’ve worked in several hospitals during my 25-year R.N. career and realize that work relationships are crucial to job satisfaction and retention. I feel privileged to be part of a team of professionals — a family, who offers our patients innovative, evidence-based health care while always keeping in mind the art and heart, of healing.

To learn more about the rankings of our Arizona, Minnesota and Florida locations, visit the U.S. News & World Report web site.

This post was submitted by Phyllis Y. (Yvette) Martin, a recruitment strategist in human resources, Mayo Clinic, Arizona.

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Oct 21, 2009 · Is that a lump? Now what?

When there is critical information that we don’t know, we run the risk of listening to hearsay, considering myths to be facts, not knowing the truth, and left to deal with the consequences. When it comes to breast cancer, Mayo Clinic wants you to know.

Please join Mayo Clinic and other Phoenix area community partners for the AZ Breast Cancer Summit, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2009, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Arizona Grand Resort in Phoenix, Arizona.
Mayo Clinic has partnered with Sigma Pi Phi to present vital information to increase awareness of breast cancer in African Americans during its Pacific Regional Conference. This free, public event is open to all who are interested in learning more about early detection & genetics in breast cancer, meet professional caregivers and talk with survivors of this disease.

Members of the medical community are coming together with community partners to share knowledge and encourage attendees to take steps toward early detection. Although minority women are less likely than Caucasian women to be diagnosed with breast cancer, they tend to develop breast cancer earlier, have more aggressive tumors and too often are diagnosed in later stages. Although most breast changes are not cancerous, it’s important to have them evaluated promptly.

Listen to Aretha Rodger’s story of early detection and how she spends time educating others. (Source: Mayo Clinic Medical Edge, June 2009)

At the Mayo Clinic Breast Clinic in Arizona, Mayo physicians diagnose and treat more than 1,300 new patients with breast cancer each year. Through innovative treatment strategies and supportive team care, patients receive effective care with the comfort and trust that they’re receiving the best care possible.

To learn more about the services and available treatment options at Mayo Clinic’s Arizona campus, and to read patient stories, visit

This story was submitted by Yvette Martin, Recruitment Strategist, Human Resources, Mayo Clinic in AZ

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Aug 27, 2009 · "Nursing at Mayo Clinic" wins a Telly!

The most recent recruitment video created for Nursing at Mayo Clinic’s Rochester campus has been awarded a bronze Telly Award!

The Telly Awards are the premier award honoring “outstanding local, regional and cable TV commercials and programs; the finest video and film productions; and online film and video.” There are more than 13,000 videos submitted annually for these awards.

This winning video highlights the many reasons why nurses choose to practice at Mayo Clinic.

Learn more about Nursing at Mayo Clinic here.

Submitted on behalf of Brent Bultema, Director of Recruitment Strategies, Human Resources, Mayo Clinic Rochestor campus

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Aug 25, 2009 · Clinical Nurse Specialist – A Day in the Life at Mayo Clinic

A Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) is an advanced practice nurse who works with nursing staff to advance nursing practices, improve patient outcomes, and provide clinical expertise to affect system-wide changes. CNS hold at least a masters degree in Nursing and have completed the certification process issued by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Mayo Clinic’s Arizona campus has several CNS on staff to support our inpatient and outpatient care needs. Nadine Lendzion shares her experience as a CNS, Mayo Clinic Employee, and Arizona resident below.

Name: Nadine Lendzion, MN, RN, CNRN, COCN

Job Title: Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

Department: Nursing Administration

Number of years at Mayo Clinic: 12

Number of years as a CNS at Mayo Clinic: 12

What attracted you to a career in health care?
I always wanted to be a nurse. After spending 16 years in another career I finally returned to school and became a nurse. As a CNS I work within the three spheres of CNS influence: the patient, the nurse, and the organization. This framework offers me a wide variety of experiences and allows me to have an impact beyond what I thought possible.

What motivates you to continue the work you do?
Working with the extraordinary people at Mayo Clinic motivates us all to be better, to reach further and accomplish more. The challenge to be my best motivates me. I do something new or different every day. Seeing nurses understand a clinical situation or clinical concept or for a patient to understand their illness better is what motivates me.

What were your educational steps for this career?
I began my nursing career as an associate degree RN. While at Mayo Clinic, I went on to complete my bachelor’s and master’s in nursing with the goal of becoming a CNS. I received my specialty certification in neurosciences while completing my BSN.

What licenses, degrees, certifications, and/or training are required for your job?
The Arizona State Board of Nursing requires a CNS to be certified by the Board as a clinical nurse specialist. The CNS must hold a graduate degree with a major in nursing, be certified in a clinical specialty or, if certification is not available, provide proof of competence to the board.

I have a master’s degree in Nursing and am nationally certified as a neuroscience registered nurse and a certified ostomy nurse, certified by the Arizona State Board of Nursing as a Clinical Nurse Specialist.

What other jobs/employment did you have that prepared you for this job?
I started my career as a new graduate and was given so much opportunity to explore other roles within nursing. As a Charge Nurse I learned to look at the bigger organizational picture and was excited to learn how many avenues were open to me. I participated in many clinical committees and saw firsthand the many ways to impact patient care beyond the bedside. I had a wonderful CNS mentor when I graduated from my program. She taught me how to link organizational priorities with the clinical setting and to the patient. That mentorship proved invaluable as I grew in the CNS role.

Define the focus of your department?
The goals of Nursing Administration are to deliver healing care for every patient, every day, enhanced by relationships based on effective communication, collaboration and mutual respect;
to provide educational opportunities in clinical nursing and professional development for nursing staff, affiliated students and faculty and regional, national and international nursing colleagues; and to improve patient care and advance the discipline of nursing through theory-driven nursing research and incorporate research findings into nursing practice.

What advantages does a Mayo Clinic CNS role have over other hospitals?
Mayo Clinic understands the role of the CNS and how the CNS can contribute to excellence in patient care, research and education. A CNS at Mayo Clinic is viewed as an integral part of the organization and is invited to participate in decision-making at many levels. This is not the case at all organizations. At some institutions, the CNS role appears less integral and is viewed as a non-essential part of patient care.

What advice would you give others who want to pursue a career as a CNS?
I would encourage any nurse to explore the CNS role. A nurse with strong clinical skills and a desire to expand their role is a perfect candidate to become a CNS. I have mentored nurses as they explore their career options and try to portray the CNS role as a desirable option.

What changes have you seen in your profession over the years, i.e. technology, process and procedures, tools, patient care requirements, etc?
I have been a CNS for more than 12 years and have seen the opportunities for CNS grow. Professional CNS associations at the national and local level have helped to clarify and define the role of the CNS. Patient care has become more complex with sicker patients. The unique skills of the CNS can improve patient outcomes as well as organizational outcomes. Mayo Clinic’s use of the electronic medical record has made data accessible to quantify those outcomes.

What do you like about living in Arizona?
I have lived in Arizona for over 50 years. I love the sun, the desert, the mountains and the option to change climates with only a two-hour drive. I like the people of Arizona and the casual lifestyle. I like that Arizona has Mayo Clinic!

For more information on nursing careers at Mayo Clinic, visit

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Apr 23, 2009 · Me+you=diversity and mutual respect at Mayo

One of our committed allied health staff members in Arizona recently submitted a quote to the site Diversity Subcommittee for our Best Quote contest that depicts a compelling statement about the importance of diversity. In response to the nominal prize she received, here’s her submission and story:

“What divides us pales in comparison to what unites us.”

~US Senator Edward Kennedy

“I would like you to know that the ‘prize’ was not the motivation for my entry. I came to Mayo Clinic from a career primarily in restaurants. Over the years, I had become very discouraged by the actions, attitudes and general lack of respect of others that I saw on a daily basis in the workplace. For that reason, I felt very fortunate when I was hired at Mayo eight years ago. One of the things that I found most interesting as I embraced all that was Mayo was its philosophy of diversity in the workplace.

Some articles I’ve read on the subject suggest that diversity in the workplace is a lot of hype and that it fosters miscommunication, stereotyping, and conflict. Many policies dictate that all are to be accepted and that all must get along and that everyone should, in essence, become “the same.” If that is the case, then people never get a chance to grapple with their own differences.

However, when an organization couples mutual respect with diversity, as Mayo has and does, explicitly acknowledges differences and encourages people to bring their different perspectives to the table, wonderful things can happen. I’m happy to be a part of that atmosphere.”  — Marilyn, Food and Nutrition Services

Bravo, Marilyn! You’ve personified why our employees enjoy working here. It is because of their compassionate team members from all over the world, the culture of wellness we all commit to, and the vision of care for every patient that we live every day. I could not have said it better!

Yvette Martin works in Human Resources at Mayo Clinic in Arizona

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Apr 7, 2009 · Mayo Synchronicity, Part II: Mayo’s Arizona employees take Gold!

Well, I was right. The AZDBA dragon boat race competition last weekend was a success! Even better, Mayo Synchronicity took Gold in the Corporate team race and Bronze in one of the mixed team division races. Our win was greater than the Gold medal because it was accomplished with the same shared teamwork, collaboration, and team spirit that we embody and demonstrate when we serve our patients.

With three competing boats and the sponsorship of other teams, we competed against five other corporate teams — campus teams from the University of California – San Diego, UCLA, and Manitoba High School, and a host of interstate and community teams ready to row their teams to Gold.

The Mayo Clinic team advantage in these races was in our name — Synchronicity. After speaking with Pam, service coordinator in Radiology, another first-time Mayo team rower, she agrees, “Synchronization is the key. Timing is everything. We were digging for Gold in that Tempe Town Lake, and we found it!”

The races began at 8 a.m. on Saturday. It was a sunny, but windy day. The wind was not to our advantage as we rowed west because it  blew south. Our land and boat cheerleaders brought pom poms, boisterous voices and shouted words with rhyme and rhythm to cheer us on. “Mayo Team 1 – you got the job done. Mayo Team 2, you know just what to do. Mayo Team 3 – you look so good to me.”

The wind died down for Sunday’s semifinals and final races. But the cheerers did not. Pam was doing her best to outlast fellow rower, Carol, a patient financial services clerk. After all, Pam was the team captain of her high school cheer squad, but Carol was on a mission! Carol was determined to be the strength and encouragement her team needed to row across the finish line. At her seat in the boat, she had her paddle and two pom poms. Her zeal and unending cheers, even at times of fatigue, has her notably known as our Spirited VIP.

Mayo Clinic has participated in these dragon boat races at Tempe Town Lake since the inaugural event in 2004. Our competitive, yet kind spirit has become a stable presence at these races. We seem to bring on the contagious enthusiasm that carries the teams through 16 hours of races. Not to seem braggadocios, but from a first-timers perspective, the event would not be the same if Mayo Clinic did not show up. After all, we have the coveted medals, “Best Team Cheer” award, and “Spirit of Qu Yuan Award” to prove it. The “Spirit of Qu Yuan Award” goes to the team that best embodies the spirit of dragonboating and is a very prestigious honor to earn. Mayo Synchronicity has won this award for an unprecedented fourth consecutive year, and it is a testament to how great the paddlers, cheer squads, family members, and volunteers are at Mayo.

Now that I have added rowing to my weekly workout, and I am about two cans short of my desired six pack. I will keep working at it and training for next year’s races. As I sit on the rowing machine in my neighborhood fitness center, I will recall our chants and cheers, “We ALL paddle, work, and live in a Mayo dragonboat.”


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Mar 24, 2009 · Joining Mayo Synchronicity: A first-timer's perspective on Dragon Boat racing

Ooooh, a Dragon Boat race! I have always wanted to be on a rowing team. Maybe I missed my calling to be on a great collegiate team at a Division I school. Well, honestly, I like boats, and after all these years, I will love reducing my two-liter to a six pack. So why not?!

Mayo Clinic’s Arizona campus is participating in the 6th annual Tempe Dragon Boat Festival, March 28-29, 2009, at Tempe Town Lake, sponsored by the Arizona Dragon Boat Association. After two gold medal years, I heard we were edged out of first place last year by a local office of ING Direct, and I have a competitive spirit. So, with this team of diverse Mayo Clinic employees, I say, “we will see the others at the finish line and be ready to wrap their wounds!”

Louise, a Mayo Clinic employee and dragon boat guru, is one of the site coaches for our team, Mayo Synchronicity. When I joined her for my first “land” practice two weeks ago, she asked, “Do you workout? Ab exercises? Because a strong midsection will be your source of strength.” I said, “Oh, of course,” and my inside voice finished the sentence with, “as of last week … .” Note to self, sign up for the Ab Works class this week!

Louise gave great instruction as she explained the commands used, and the new language I would soon need to understand.

“Now, it is important you know terms like: PMS, Port – Midship – Starboard, Long-stroke, Paddles up, Power 10, etc,” she said. I thought this was going to be fun, so I attended the next land practice and also recently attended my first water practice, quickly concluding that I needed more practice. So I practiced with our 40 team members at Tempe Town Lake.

With fellow employees, Marion as the Steer and Michael at the head as the Drummer calling out the stroke pace, we were doing great. Then we raced a local Hawaiian in his own boat, during our practice. Let’s just say that was “just for fun.”

Well, I am off to Ab Works and 30 minutes on the rowing machine. Our race is less than a week away. Wish me luck, and I’ll soon share pictures of the 2009 team and our winning ribbons for the Corporate Race, Mixed Competitive Race, and for the fifth year in a row, the Best Spirit Award.

To learn more about this water event that commemorates China’s ancient patriot-poet, Qu Yuan, and our race in Tempe, Arizona, visit Better yet, what are you doing Saturday, March 28th and Sunday, March 29th? There will be great food and fun for all ages. Come on out to cheer us on and enjoy the Festival! When I say “May,” you say “O” — Go May-O!

Yvette ready to row!

Yvette ready to row!

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