Posts Tagged ‘Teamwork’

Having a Heart: My Mayo Moment

September 7, 2010

As a new Mayo Clinic employee, I had a particular notion of what it meant to become a part of the clinic even before I started. During the orientation process, various people shared anecdotes relating the strong heritage and culture of Mayo Clinic. Each story spoke to why Mayo Clinic is one of the most well-known brands in the world. But I never truly understood the dedication and pride of working at Mayo Clinic until I participated in an event.

Jim Frye

I hadn’t even been on the job a week when Jim Frye, a member of Mayo Clinic’s Systems and Procedures team in Florida decided he was going to walk 17 miles to work to promote heart health. Specifically, he wanted to bring awareness to Mayo Clinic’s sponsorship of the American Heart Association’s 2010 Start! Heart Walk, a 5K walk planned for Sept. 25.

Frye, a tri-athlete, decided he would challenge not only his fellow Mayo employees to get involved, but the City of Jacksonville as well. Who couldn’t walk three miles if he could do this?

His upcoming trek sent the hallways into a firestorm during the days leading up to the event. Employees would whisper to their peers and mention it in passing between meetings. They were anxiously awaiting his journey similar to the way a NFL team anticipates the Super Bowl.

I had the pleasure of meeting Frye on several occasions during my first week. From our first introduction to subsequent conversations, he made me feel welcome and an integral part of the Mayo family. Whenever someone asked about his planned journey, he would exude genuine warmth and beam with pride. It was obvious through each conversation that this walk symbolized Frye’s dedication to the purpose of the American Heart Association and pride in representing Mayo Clinic.

But I was still surprised by what I felt when I watched Frye make his way down San Pablo Road – the four-lane boulevard leading to the Florida campus. As he rounded the last curve toward the clinic entrance, wearing a bright-red Team Mayo Clinic T-shirt, I felt a sense of pride I have never experienced. I realized for the first time that not only was I a part of an organization but a brand where employees truly put the mission and core principles into practice.

I signed up to participate in the American Heart Association’s Start! Heart Walk the same afternoon and am looking forward to participating as an employee of Mayo Clinic, a purveyor of pride, in an organization that lives its mission as a great institution in everything it does.

This story was submitted by new Public Affairs communications consultant, Lauren Venoy, at Mayo Clinic in Florida.

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The Health Benefits of Pets

May 12, 2010

According to scientific research, being in the presence of a pet can have many benefits.  In fact, the simple act of petting an animal can lower a person’s blood pressure.  In the medical profession, there are many physicians who recognize the positive impact a pet can have for an owner who may be hospitalized or dealing with a serious illness. 

Dr. Edward Creagan, an oncologist at Mayo Clinic, believes strongly in the healing aspect of pets.  In fact, he feels so strongly about it, he writes down the name of a patient’s pet when he takes a medical history.  

At Mayo Clinic, where physicians use a team approach to care for patients, you may even find a “furry” member of some care teams.  A care provider with fur?  Yes! He may not have a medical degree, but he comes with his own credentials and specialized training.  His name is Jack, and he is a nine-year-old miniature pinscher who is Mayo’s first, and only, facility-based service dog.  If you read the Sharing Mayo Clinic post from May 7, 2010, you will know he was the inspiration for a new children’s book, “Dr. Jack the Helping Dog,” now available at all Mayo-affiliated retail outlets on each campus (Arizona, Florida and Minnesota).

In the video below, Dr. Creagan talks about the healing aspect of pets.

Barbara Sorensen is a communications consultant in the Department of Public Affairs, Mayo Clinic.

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Dr. Jack the Helping Dog

May 7, 2010

When thinking of ways to share what makes Mayo special, Matt Dacy (a Mayo employee) along with a handful of colleagues decided on a children’s book. They didn’t have to look far for inspiration. They looked to Dr. Jack, a very special member of the Mayo Clinic care team.

In mid-April, I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Jack when he came for an interview about the book. So, who is Dr. Jack? He is a nine-year-old miniature pinscher who is Mayo’s first, and only, facility-based service dog. Jack is truly an amazing dog. He is a very sweet, laid-back little guy who instantly draws people to him. After our meeting, I could easily see what made him special and why he was selected as the main character in the book, “Dr. Jack the Helping Dog”.

Dr. Jack is part of the Mayo Clinic health care team that helps patients with physical activity, rehabilitation and speech therapy. He also provides stress relief and brings a sense of comfort and normalcy, which a hospital setting can take away. Escorted around the hospital by his owner, Marcia Fritzmeier, Dr. Jack wears an official vest and sees about 8-10 patients a day. During his tenure at Mayo, Jack has helped more than 2,000 patients.

In the book, Dr. Jack wears an ID tag with the words “Mayo Clinic” and a picture of the three shields. When a young boy at Saint Marys Hospital meets Dr. Jack and rubs his tag, they are off on an amazing adventure to learn about Mayo Clinic, past and present. During their adventure, Dr. Jack and his young friend ride Mayo One and even get to see the Mayo Brothers, Dr. Will and Dr. Charlie.

In the following video, Matt, the author of the book, shares how the book came about.

In the video below, Bob, the book’s illustrator, talks about how he created the illustrations in the book:

In addition to the fictional story written by Matt, the book consists of several parts:

1. A welcome by John Noseworthy, M.D., president and CEO of Mayo Clinic

2. A foreword written by Barbara Bush, Mayo Clinic trustee, advocate of literacy and author of books about Millie the White House dog

3. Original illustrations created by Bob Morreale, head of Medical Illustration and Animation at Mayo Clinic

4. A biography of the real Dr. Jack written by Jenee Marchant

5. A medical essay on “The Healing Dimension of Pets” written by Edward Creagan, M.D., a Mayo Clinic Oncologist

The book is sold at Mayo-affiliated retail outlets on each campus (Arizona, Florida and Minnesota). All proceeds of the book support Mayo’s programs in patient care, research and education. If you’d like to get a copy of the book, please contact the Mayo Clinic Stores (1-888-303-9354;

Barbara Sorensen is a communications consultant in the Department of Public Affairs, Mayo Clinic.

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Warmth on Cold Snowy Days

December 25, 2009

As a life-long Minnesotan, I look forward to winter. No, I don’t like bitter, below zero temperatures, and I am definitely not a fan of shoveling anything more than a couple inches of snow. However, I do enjoy other aspects of the season — going cross country skiing, seeing snow on the branches of the evergreen trees, watching children and dogs romp in freshly fallen snow and sitting in a warm location, drinking a hot chocolate (or a mocha) and watching big, fat, lazy snowflakes fall to the ground.

When I talk to people from outside the Midwest about what a nice place this is to live in the winter, I’m usually met with a fair amount of skepticism.   They have heard the stories in the news about bitter cold, below zero temperatures with even colder wind chills. They have seen pictures of thermometers located in International Falls, Minn., the Icebox of the Nation, at -35 below (and that’s not the wind chill). They have heard stories about blizzards that can bring a city to a standstill. They have seen the pictures online of cars almost completely buried by snowplows on the streets and cars and trucks stuck in the ditches. And, they have watched countless videos clips on TV of people walking (or more likely waddling like a penguin) from their parking spots to their places of employment that were so bundled up that only their eyes were visible.

Yes, this is what Minnesota can be like during the winter. But it’s not the norm. Below zero temps for the daily high typically last for a few days, if we have them. Blizzards and snowfalls of over a foot in the area are rare. In fact, there have been winters, where we didn’t get our first snowfall until February and our first 3 inch snowfall until March. Unfortunately, December 2009 seems to be one of those strange and unusual winters when it comes to snowstorms; one probably headed for the record book.


Walking in Rhythm

June 10, 2009

You often hear the old adage that nurses are caring and compassionate. It’s true, but what does it mean? How do you show it, how do you express it, and what defines compassion and caring? Transplant Services on Mayo 3 South on the Florida campus has a clear understanding of this terminology. (more…)

Mayo Synchronicity, Part II: Mayo’s Arizona employees take Gold!

April 7, 2009

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!”


“We’re calling it ‘Planet Mayo,’ it’s so unlike any other medical institution”

March 23, 2009

Albert and Mary Errato came to Mayo Clinic in February 2009 when Mary was facing another major operation. After a series of infections and complications, Mary’s foot had been amputated in 2007 at an orthopedic hospital in New York City. She was scheduled for another operation, this time to possibly extend the amputation from mid-calf, below the knee to above the knee, when they decided to come to Mayo Clinic.


According to Al, from the day they arrived, they knew things were different here. “All the doctors talked to each other, and more importantly to the patient!  They worked together to come up with a treatment plan for Mary. We started calling this Planet Mayo, because it feels like we’re on a different planet here.”