Sharing Mayo Clinic

Stories from patients, family, friends and Mayo Clinic staff

Posts (10)

Dec 7, 2010 · Employees Encouraged by Professional Development Benefit

Have you ever thought about going back to school, but put it off for financial reasons? Mayo Clinic offers employees assistance for professional development. The program is offered as a benefit for Mayo Clinic employees and reimburses education expenses related to a degree or certification that supports career development at Mayo Clinic.

Three colleagues share their thoughts and experiences about how the program has helped them.

In your journey to further your education, what has the overall experience been like?
Vicky Hilke, Minnesota campus: “My experience has been rewarding but difficult. I have had to re-evaluate my thinking and approach toward school since recently becoming a single mom. I now look at furthering my education as a personal goal instead of putting pressure on myself to finish in an unrealistic timeframe.”

Anne Martin, Florida campus: “With a 37-year gap between high school graduation and starting college, I was a bit anxious when I signed up for classes. Going to school year round and working full-time to complete the four-year Bachelor in Science degree in three years was a challenge. Family, friends and co-workers supported me throughout this endeavor.”

Did the Mayo benefit influence your decision to go back to school?
Robert McGriff, Arizona campus: “This benefit was a big influence in my decision, but it was also great working for a company that placed an emphasis on my education and supported me in other ways during the process. Sometimes I have needed to flex my work schedule for school or take time off to work on a project, and I have never encountered a problem.”

Vicky Hilke, Minnesota campus: “Absolutely! Without the reimbursement program, my choice would have been to take out a loan or not go at all. The program allowed me work on me degree without worrying about another added expenditure of a school loan.”

Would you recommend this benefit opportunity to your fellow colleagues?
Anne Martin, Florida campus: “Tuition assistance provides an opportunity to further your education and to move forward in your career. For me, the time and hard work have paid off by allowing me to move forward into increasingly responsible positions while providing the best service within each role.”

Robert McGriff, Arizona campus: “I tell my colleagues all the time that they should take advantage of the benefit. Furthering your education is good for you, which is good for Mayo Clinic and good for the patients and families that we serve.”

If you are interested in employment opportunities at Mayo Clinic, visit our website at

Written by Kim Richard, Public Affairs Intern

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Jun 22, 2010 · Being a Clinical Nurse Educator in the Surgical ICU

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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Apr 9, 2010 · The Heart of Mayo Clinic in Florida

Almost two years after the opening of the new hospital on Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus, employees still get pumped up about working in the state-of-the-art operating rooms (ORs). The cardiothoracic surgery team has two designated heart operating rooms, each averaging more than 700 square feet in size, spacious by OR standards. They are equipped with ceiling-mounted high-definition monitors and two booms with video equipment that can be controlled from the nurses’ area.

Cardiothoracic surgeons Dr. Kevin Landolfo, Dr. Richard Agnew and Dr. John Odell bring a variety of experience and diversity to the team. Surgeries range from the routine, such as coronary artery bypass grafting including off-pump procedures and heart valve replacement and repair, to MAZE procedures, implanting ventricular assisted devices, heart and lung transplants, aortic root surgery, thoracic aneurism repair,  ventricular remodeling and minimally invasive heart procedures. Later this year,  robotic- assisted heart surgery will be done.

Wally Caldwell, a registered nurse and coordinator of Cardiac/Vascular Surgery, says one of the joys of working at Mayo Clinic is that all physicians work for the institution and share the same core values as the staff. This adds to the quality of care and coordination within the OR.

Wally’s greatest inspiration is when he is able to visit with the patients after surgery and witness their progress in recovery. “There are many times where the patient can’t breathe, and two days after surgery, they are talking and eating,” he says. Patients are what bring him to work everyday, he says.

When asked how he would like to make his mark at Mayo Clinic, he recalled his first day of work when a colleague gave him the advice to “try to make Mayo a better place when you retire than it was when you started.”

To become a member of this wonderful team or learn more about our staff, visit our website at

Written by Jennifer Lineburg, recruitment coordinator at the Florida campus. Information given by Wally Caldwell, registered nurse and coordinator of Cardiac/Vascular Surgery at the hospital.

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Dec 23, 2009 · The Excitement of Graduation

It’s always exciting to see someone graduate from school — whether it’s a high school graduate embarking on life or a college graduate who feels liberated from school and eager to start a new career. To me, the most exciting time is when I get to meet the newly graduated nurses. They are filled with such enthusiasm for nursing.

As the new graduate nurse recruiter at the Florida campus, I get the opportunity to hear their stories of studying medications, learning new diagnoses or being there for a patient who just needed a hand to hold. They share with me their drive and ambition to be the very best nurse possible! Along the way, I get to hear how well they are doing in their new role. If I’m lucky, I get to see those same nurses after their orientation and get to hear about how much they enjoy working at Mayo Clinic and the support they receive from their colleagues.

Asjah Muhammad, who recently earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing and works in the medical intensive care unit, wrote:

“I have had an exciting and challenging experience as a new graduate here at Mayo Clinic’s hospital. Throughout my orientation I gained valuable knowledge and experience by working with my preceptor, the nurse educator, the manager and the other staff on the unit. There’s cameraderie on the floor, and there’s always someone to lend a helping hand. I am confident that the personnel has and will continue to prepare me to become an excellent nurse.”

Mayo Clinic supports education and encourages its employees to advance their knowledge and learning. Whether you come here as a new graduate or are looking for ways to help others, you will always find the opportunity to learn and grow. No matter what, you can make an impact and play a vital role in making sure the needs of the patient come first. That is what Mayo Clinic is all about.

If you would like to know more about our new graduate program or any nursing opportunities at Mayo Clinic in Florida, please visit Our next program will be accepting applications from January 25-31, 2010.

Written by Jennifer Lineburg, recruitment coordinator at Mayo Clinic in Florida.

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Nov 30, 2009 · Purposeful rounding anticipates patients' needs

As Mayo Clinic employees, we strive for excellence every day.

Monitor tech explains purposeful rounding

Caroline Morrison explains purposeful rounding.

In late June, staff were asked how we could improve the care on our floor, 5 North. The results were gratifying and gave us some idea on how we could do even better. As a result, we implemented a project called Purposeful Rounding.

We wanted to take little steps to make big changes on our floor. Our focus was to anticipate the care patients would need instead of waiting until they asked us for something and then reacting. Ideally, the nurses and other care providers could prevent the patient from having a need by meeting it before it arises.

We created a pilot project that involved nurses and patient care technicians checking on patients every two hours and assessing the 5Ps: pain (what is the patient’s pain level?), potty (do they need the restroom?), position (how comfortable is the patient?), proximity (is everything they need within reach?) and personal needs (is there anything else they need?).

Just by asking those five questions, our patient calls dropped 26 percent overall. We had 64 percent fewer calls about pain and 32 percent fewer calls pertaining to bathroom needs. The numbers are amazing, and it’s only been one month.

Our patient surveys have continued to be very positive, and we are now closer than ever to providing consistently excellent care as a team. It is a remarkable feeling when I look around: my co-workers’ days are easier and patients are happier because we are a part of something that has brought the caregivers’ workflows together to be a stronger force in an individual’s healing process.

If you are interested in working at Mayo Clinic, please visit

Written by Caroline Morrison, a monitor tech on the General Surgery/Bariatric Surgery unit in the hospital at Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus.

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Oct 22, 2009 · The joys and benefits of adoption

On Dec. 29, 2006, my husband and I adopted a beautiful little girl we named Lilly. I was surprised — and thrilled — at the response and generosity from my co-workers at Mayo Clinic. Friends, colleagues and acquaintances showered us with goodies from diapers and bottles to outfits and toys.

Having the opportunity to adopt a child, while definitely a blessing, can be an emotional and financial rollercoaster. But the outpouring of support from my colleagues, as well as the numerous resources offered by Mayo Clinic for employees looking to adopt, reminded me why I feel so lucky to work at this institution.

According to a recent survey from Hewitt Associates, more than 39 percent of major U.S. employers offer adoption benefits. Mayo Clinic has been providing the benefits to employees for more than 20 years.

Adoption consultation and referral services are available to Mayo Clinic employees seeking to adopt a child or stepchild as well as financial assistance of up to $10,000. Mayo’s plan is unique because it does not place a limit on the number of adoptions per employee.

Those who have taken advantage of Mayo’s benefits say the support makes the entire process more enjoyable.

“There is a lot of uncertainty that comes with adoption. Knowing that Mayo supports us and has resources available both financially and otherwise is a tremendous value,” says Cynthia Nelson, senior marketing communication specialist in Florida. “Being able to talk to other employees who have adopted has been quite helpful, too. I am glad to know the emotions, feelings and questions I am having are “normal” and completely rational given the situation.”

Arizona human resources analyst Robert McGriff recalls his experience even as a new member of the Mayo family. “When we took placement of our now 2-year old, Jonah, I was relatively new to Mayo Clinic and I had attended baby showers for other employees, but I wasn’t sure what to expect in our situation. Jonah was three months old when he was brought to our door. I think my co-workers were unsure how to respond, but to their credit, they handled his arrival in typical Mayo fashion, with love and support and a HUGE baby shower.”

Susan Schwartz, senior benefits counselor in Rochester, says: “As we went through our classes at our agency and met other couples looking to adopt, we found the generous amount of monetary reimbursement provided to us by Mayo Clinic really set us far apart from other employers… I look back fondly at that time of anticipation, which I know I was able to enjoy so much more because we weren’t scrambling trying to find ways to pay the adoption fees.”

For more information, visit the benefits link in the jobs Web pages for each Mayo Clinic campus.

Written by Dana Baker, compensation and benefits analyst, with assistance from Katie Phelan, administrative fellow at Mayo Clinic in Florida.

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Sep 28, 2009 · Interview with a New Nurse Manager in Florida

Written by Linda Rhodes, coordinator of Management Development at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Florida.

Registered nurse Jessica Charles recently relocated across the country to take a new position as nurse manager of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Orthopedics at Mayo Clinic in Florida. However, this was not Jessica’s first experience working at Mayo Clinic. She came from Scottsdale where she was a nurse supervisor at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. Jessica tells why she wanted to work for Mayo Clinic and her experience as a new employee at the Florida campus.

Like Jessica, new staff often tell us how enthusiastic and excited they are to be working at Mayo Clinic. From the moment new employees set foot on Mayo Clinic’s campus, the experience is about orienting them to the organization and the culture so they feel secure and welcomed. New employees begin their careers with two days of orientation training. The campus chief executive officer and chief administrative officer come to orientation to greet new staff. This is a rare event at most organizations. But Mayo’s leaders believe it is an investment into each new employee’s assimilation and satisfaction with the organization.

New employees are also paired with a preceptor for their first several weeks on the job. The preceptor orients the new staff member to the job and the work area responsibilities. Preceptors serve as role model, educator and social agent for the new employee. This model allows the employee to become oriented to the job and culture more quickly.

It is not uncommon to have past employees who are re-joining Mayo in new employee orientation. Many times when employees leave Mayo, they find they miss the culture and commitment to quality care. These return staff often express to first-time employees that the “grass is not always greener on the other side.”

For more information on available jobs at Mayo Clinic visit our Web site at

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Jul 3, 2009 · New residency program helps nurses launch successful careers

Mayo Clinic’s campus in Florida kicked off a new nursing residency program in February. Diane Lassiter, Sara Warren, Rachael Ruffet and Carol DelaCruz are the first nurses to participate in the year-long pilot program.

Nursing at Mayo Clinic in Florida

Nursing at Mayo Clinic in Florida

“We are concerned about the pending nursing shortage, so we want to embrace recruitment and retention of this important profession,” explains Debra Hernke, chief nursing officer. Studies show up to a 40 percent turnover in some institutions in the first year of nursing. “If someone leaves a position in the first year of nursing, they most likely will leave the profession altogether,” she says.

The program is an outgrowth of Mayo Clinic’s involvement in First Coast Nurse Leaders (FCNL), a consortium of chief nursing officers and nursing school deans in Northeast Florida. Flagler Hospital and River Garden Long Term Care also are participating in the program. FCNL received a grant from the Florida Center for Nursing to develop the curriculum.

Participating nurses are assigned an open position in a nursing unit, provided a thorough orientation with a preceptor, and also complete a three-credit course through the University of North Florida or Jacksonville University during the residency program. The curriculum is designed to provide the necessary tools and support to help each resident begin a long-term nursing career. Residents are assigned a nurse mentor to help them assimilate and succeed in the workplace.

“Nurses are essential to the future success of health care because of their proven impact on patient outcomes, mortality and quality of care,” says Hernke. “After we evaluate the pilot, we hope to expand to other facilities in the region. Our hope is that we can provide an affordable program that provides the foundation for a life-long career in nursing.”

For more information about the Department of Nursing at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Florida, please visit our Web site.

Jennifer Lineburg is a recruitment coordinator at Mayo Clinic Florida.

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