Sharing Mayo Clinic

Stories from patients, family, friends and Mayo Clinic staff

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Jul 1, 2009 · Mayo wear

“I’ll see all of you at noon at the Foundation House,” I stated as I reminded the Year I Mayo Medical School students of their meeting with prospective students. “Is it Mayo wear?” a voice said, and I could hear the hopeful anticipation that I would say “no” in that voice. “Yes, it is Mayo wear” I responded with authority; and so on that day and at the appointed hour, they all showed up and were attired just as I expected — they were all in their Mayo wear.

Mayo wear — it’s not a new line of clothing designed to promote health, nor is it a codified uniform of garments that Mayo doctors wear. It is our way of showing respect and honoring those who trust us with their lives — our patients.

Like so many good and lasting things, the professional dress of Mayo physicians was something that was gifted to us by our founders — Drs. William and Charlie Mayo. To separate the physician from the patient by placing the doc in a white coat was not something that the doctors at Mayo found to be favorable. Rather they saw our professional dress as a way of showing our respect and honor at being able to serve patients.

Our students are taught early on that professional dress is an important component of Mayo culture. We tell the students that by dressing in a manner that is conservative and professional, they say to the patients — I respect you, I am privileged to serve you, and I put on my best clothing in your honor.

We also remind them that Mayo wear helps to provide the patient with confidence in them and thus elicit the trust that is so critical to the doctor-patient relationship.

So how do we describe Mayo wear to the students — well in a word, it is conservative. It is a little bit Brooks Bros. and a little bit J. Crew. You can find it at high end department stores or you can find it at consignment stores.

You need not spend lots of money on Mayo wear, but you must insure that you take the care to look your very best as you serve those folks who seek our care. It is not our Sunday best, but it is sure our Monday best. It is designed for both men and women and is certainly fashion forward as it changes with time.

“You all look fabulous,” I exclaim to the group gathered around me. They were all in suits with bright white and pastel colored shirts. The young women had on smart leather pumps and the men had on snazzy shoes. I could see it in their eyes, in the way they carried themselves and in their smiles — they really felt great about themselves. Their Mayo wear and their confidence, now all part of the Mayo culture.

Barbara L. Porter – Administrator, Mayo Medical School

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Apr 6, 2009 · Balloons in the Gonda Lobby

Barbara Porter is Assistant Dean for Academic and Student Affairs, Mayo Medical School.

“Wow, Mommy, look at the big yellow and blue balloons,” came a small but discernable voice from the top of the main floor landing of the Gonda Lobby. I was walking by, at a slow pace, while checking my calendar before heading to my next meeting.

Balloons in the Gonda building–oh, no! That will sure bring out a team from facilities to retrieve the offending orbs and restore our magnificent lobby back to its usual glory. As I stopped to read the fine print on my Blackberry to make sure I was headed in the right direction for my meeting, I heard a more substantial, but nonetheless kind and gentle voice state, “Yes, Maggie, those are some really big and shiny balloons, aren’t they pretty?”

Chihuly chandelier in the Gonda BuildingIt was then I realized that the balloons in question were in fact pieces of the Chihuly Chandelier that hangs majestically above the atrium in the Gonda Building.

I have always marveled at the art that adorns every corner of our Mayo Clinic campus. I have enjoyed seeing the Play, Dance and Imagine kinetic sculpture with all of its brilliant colors and changing alignment as I pass through the Mayo subway on my way to my office each winter morning. Seeing the Boy on the Dolphin in the spring as he so gleefully plays, always makes me smile on those precious spring days when I can come from the underground and enjoy the art on in our outdoor spaces.

It has been great fun sharing the art with visiting students who are quite stunned that the art is so accessible and available to see and in many cases to touch. Most of all, I have enjoyed sharing the art with family members who have been our patients, and who find the Calder mobiles and the Andy Warhols entertaining and I might add, just a bit distracting as they traverse throughout our campus making their way from appointment to appointment.

Escapism, distraction, attraction, whatever, the big yellow balloons, the dancing ballerinas, the crusty cowboys–the Mayo brothers with all their vision and wisdom called this one just right! They insisted that art adorn our public spaces as an aid in the healing process. It is wonderful to think that as patients make their way to appointments, diagnostic procedures and waiting and hotel rooms throughout the campus, in some ways, big, and in some ways small, they are already beginning to feel better.

“Mommy, can we catch one of the balloons?” The mother explained that that the balloons stay up on the ceiling all the time. At this point, I turned to look at the little girl. She was in a diminutive sized wheelchair and had no hair, but her eyes were bright and wide. “The balloons will stay there so that another little girl can see them honey.”

For all the boys and girls, both little and not so little, we are grateful for the beauty and the healing power of the art that makes this place so special.

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