August 6th, 2014 · Leave a Comment
My name is Angie Deml and I've been a registered nurse in the Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea for over 20 years. This was my third medical mission trip to Colombia with Children's Vision International. Each year we offer medical/surgical care, dental care, respiratory care, wound care, haircuts, and evangelism. This was our first year offering an eye clinic as well. We brought over 1600 pairs of eyeglasses from the Lion's recycling center in Wisconsin. These are eyeglasses that have been donated from all over the Midwest and labeled with the prescription on each pair of glasses. Our team consisted of doctors, nurses, dentists, optometrists, medics, barbers, and respiratory therapists. The team comes from all parts of the USA as well as the UK with numbers adding up to around 70 when you add in the interpreters and helpers from Colombia. We travel to remote locations in Colombia where the need is recognized by the government and overseen by the local pastor and mayor. This year we traveled to Bolivar, Puente Nacional, and Patio Bonito. There we seen 4650 patients with over 1000 people seen the first day.
A typical day consisted of being greeted by hundreds of people already standing in line that went on for blocks. Many had walked over four hours from their homes in the mountains to get to our clinic. Some had started walking at 1:00 am to assure they would be seen that day. Once registered, they would proceed to triage where they would get their height, weight, first set of vital signs, and chief complaint. While waiting, an evangelism team would perform a drama. From triage they would decide if they wanted medical, dental, or optical attention.
The days would last till dark which would be around 5:30pm. Knowing many had walked hours and waited hours, it was difficult to turn anyone away at the end of the day. On the first day, after attending such a high volume of people, there was that famous phrase "can you just see one more"? An 8 year old girl came to us with her mother who proceeded to tell us her concerns regarding her lazy eye. Our optometrist determined she needed a +7 lens to correct her vision. We knew the inventory of glasses we had brought down and knew there was nothing that strong. However, there was a pink pair, with no prescription known, just thrown in the tote with the other glasses. We had the doctor check the prescription and sure enough they were perfect. The little girl couldn't thank us enough. Her mother had tears of joy, along with everyone else in the room. Seeing the faces of everyone getting their glasses and seeing the visual acuity charts or being able to read the letters right in front of them was so gratifying. Their smiles got larger as their vision got clearer. Many tears of gratitude and pure joy of seeing were shed by many. They continued to thank us for coming and we received many kisses and blessings in return.
The days were long and hard, but every day was so rewarding knowing you made a difference in so many lives. Over 600 people received glasses while we were there. That's 600 more people seeing the world in a whole new way that we can so easily take for granted. I appreciate the resources that we have so readily available and don't take for granted the healthcare we have. These trips help remind me of this and to appreciate all that we have.
August 6th, 2014 · Leave a Comment
Many Nurses can recall the Florence Nightingale pledge which was written in 1893:
Most Nurses were required to memorize this pledge for their pinning or capping ceremony. I don’t know about you but I can’t remember cell phone numbers without looking it up on my contacts let alone this very important pledge!
Times have changed…Or have they really? To my knowledge and observation of our extraordinary Nursing staff, they all still practice this pledge today. They give passionate care to the sick and needy, they place their skilled hand on the patients shoulder giving comfort and hope when hope is lost. We don’t need to memorize the pledge to know how to practice nursing. Nursing is a team sport and together we help each other achieve the highest level of care for our patients practicing…Do no harm. Each of us as nurses have also been instilled with the expectation to hold in confidence all personal matter committed to our keeping-now known as HIPPA.You see, times are not so very different when you speak of Nursing care. Today we just practice nursing with a few extra tools such as computers and care mobiles. Our care and compassion as nurses hasn’t changed.
Florence Nightingale would be proud of how far nursing has come and the distance yet to be traveled as a profession.
I thankful I am a Nurse and can have the opportunity to work with an extraordinary team of staff.
August 5th, 2014 · Leave a Comment
Brandon Mauck, RN Nursing Informatics
Growing up as a South Dakota native, I was naturally very familiar with Mayo Clinic and its great reputation. As an adult I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of this unique and historic health system over the last four years. I’m always very proud of Mayo Clinic…proud of the enterprise as a whole, down to the department I work in. Though, I must say that I never imagined that I would be so well cared for by my employer.
Just after Thanksgiving (2013) my immediate family and I made a trip back to the Midwest to visit family and friends for the holidays. A few hours after arrival in North Dakota, my wife, who was 29 weeks pregnant, went into pre-term labor. As you can imagine, being in rural North Dakota and three hours away from trusted medical care was quite distressing. Once my wife and unborn baby were stabilized and care-flighted to Bismarck (ND), we found ourselves fearful of the medical unknowns that lay ahead of us. On top of this, we were terrified to know that we were now “stuck” 1,500 miles away from preferred medicine and from home with a 3.5-year-old, 2-year-old, and soon to be NICU baby. As I tried to brainstorm on how I could make this situation better or easier for my family, a light bulb went on in my head…“Mayo!” I recalled reading an article on the Mayo intranet about the Mayo air ambulance only a couple weeks prior to our trip and I had put the 1-800 number in my cell phone. I literally called the Mayo 1-800 helpline at 11am on a Sunday morning and my wife was picked up at 6pm that night for an air ambulance flight back home to Phoenix. With the help of all, my wife was able to make it to 31 weeks before our baby boy was born, a handsome preemie NICU baby who was healthy and only needed to grow and learn how to drink out of a bottle.
I write this in extreme gratitude to Mayo Clinic for providing me with a positive life-changing experience. Thank you Mayo Clinic, I will be forever grateful that you helped my family move from a situation of distress and fear to a place of improved safety, convenience, and comfort.
July 28th, 2014 · Leave a Comment
Hello, I’m Kathy and have been a nurse for 12 years. My career has consisted of travel nursing with a couple of detours with temporary staffing. The longest I have stayed at a hospital has been 2 years, until I came to Mayo Clinic Hospital in Arizona. I've been here for 3 years, and half of it as a travel nurse working various units. One of my favorite stories from my Mayo experience was from my first day on orientation of 4W; the RN and I walked into a patient room and found a doctor, but no patient. When we inquired about the patient location he said, “Oh, I helped her into the bathroom and I’m waiting to see if she needed help back to bed.” My response was utter shock that a doctor would put the patient’s needs ahead of his own schedule since this is what I've seen at other facilities. One of my deciding factors of staying was the support of the staff and interdisciplinary team work of Mayo staff. This is the first time in my career that I feel like I have a voice in the patients plan of care.
The greatest difference Mayo has afforded my life is stability with a strong work family as my Phoenix support system. I’m very happy with my work here and feel like I make a difference in my patient’s lives and hopefully strengthen my work team. Another benefit of being a core staff RN is the opportunity to further my education. I’m looking into starting a MSN program in the spring and the amount of financial support from Mayo is substantial. When I mentioned this goal to my supervisor she offered words of encouragement and reassurance of flexibility in my work schedule for school.
I have worked for many hospitals across the country and never felt a part of an amazing team that supports one another day in and day out. I’m honored to be here and only hope that my experiences shared above encourage another generations of nursing to join us to carry on this great tradition.
July 24th, 2014 · Leave a Comment
In addition to working as a staff RN on an Internal Medicine floor, one of my roles is working as an admission nurse covering four of our busy medical units. I admit patients from all over the world, with various ailments. A lot of our patients have traveled here because they have been told elsewhere there is nothing else that can be done for them, or because they believe there is something more that can be done. We see patients with rare conditions, patients who have stopped walking, stopped eating, and some who are on the verge of giving up.
Sometimes I am the first personal contact they have as they are getting settled in to their blue patient gowns, family members on cell phones letting loved ones know they have finally made it. They are exhausted, but they are happy to be in our presence. They go in to detail about their journey, how long they had to drive, how many layovers they had, how many MRIs, blood tests, and CT scans they have endured until this point. As they share many details their eyes begin to fill with tears. I try to imagine what they have been through, but am sure I fall short of complete comprehension. I go about helping them remove their compression socks; I inspect their feet, and settle them into bed. They continue to tell me their story and plead with me to assure them they are in the right place to find answers.
I find myself sympathizing deeply and I want to tell them to worry no more, but I can’t do that. You see we learn in nursing school that we aren’t supposed to instill false hope, and I tell them exactly that. I attempt to explain that we aren’t supposed to say “everything will turn out fine” or “we will find you an answer” and that I wish that I could, I wish I had the magical wand. I continue with my thorough head to toe assessment and ask pertinent baseline questions. I look over hand written medication lists and verify the dosages. My assessment is done and finally, knowing I will probably never see these people again, I attempt to offer them a glimmer of hope.
I take this opportunity to share how I’ve taken care of patients who were unable to walk when they arrived but left here walking--patients that thought they were going to be on tube feedings for the rest of their lives that left here eating. I tell them I can’t promise what their future will bring but that I do believe they are in the right place, a truly magical place.
July 17th, 2014 · Leave a Comment
By Dana Smith
What could be better than working with a group of people that you can actually feel comfortable with? Relaxed enough that you would invest a couple of hours painting your very own oil-based picture with, look like a total klutz while bowling, playing volley ball on the beach, getting soaked by water and sun at a pool party and belting out some laughs at a comedy show? You can’t find that too often. You’re probably saying to yourself, seriously, with people from work?
I am the nurse manager for Transplant Surgical Services at the Florida campus. As many may know, nursing can be a stressful profession. I am pretty confident that we all recognize what causes stress or even burn out on the job. Our unit is demanding like many other units: assessments, admissions, discharges, endless charting, phone calls, call lights, passing meds, report, the list is long and feels endless at times. Stress is high on our department and we had to seek innovative ways in which we could decompress and gel as a team. Some people felt that they couldn’t even say they were stressed because they were uncomfortable expressing it. It’s important that staff feel safe to say that they are having a bad day. I thought it was time to get to know one another again. It had been a long time since we had done something together as a group. We had hired a lot of new staff since we last had a team function. So, low and behold, champions were born! I didn’t have to look too far.
An RN (Pamela Delano) and a PCT (Lindsey Duke) partnered together to plan “team events” on a regular basis. It has been amazing! This has had a positive effect on the unit by strengthening trust and teamwork among the staff, improved communication, unit-based initiatives are going great, staff are getting more comfortable with each other and receptive to one another, and the BEST part….drum roll please….this will all improve patient safety, which is a top priority for Mayo Clinic. I believe when relationships between staff are good, there is less stress on the unit. This ultimately benefits patients. I am really proud of our Transplant Team. They are a remarkable group of men and women. I have no doubt that more team events are imminent! Can’t wait!!
By: Palma Iacovitti, Nurse Manager, 3 South Transplant
July 10th, 2014 · Leave a Comment
By Jill Turck
Being a part of the Mayo Clinic team has been very rewarding and challenging. I have been a Registered Nurse for about a year at Mayo Clinic in Rochester on a Cardiac Surgery Progressive Care Unit. I would have never thought my transition from a student nurse could have been this successful. From the beginning, everyone I have been in contact with has been very helpful and inviting.
Mayo Clinic ensures new graduates have a smooth transition and feel comfortable and confident before sending them on their “own.” I put own in quotations because everything is a team effort at Mayo Clinic. There is someone to reach out to if I need help or have questions. Whether it is a new nurse that started around the same time as me or a long-time experienced nurse, everyone is totally committed to their profession and eager to help. In addition, Mayo has a ton of online resources available if one is ever in a bind. Teamwork is a value that shines through on my unit and is often discussed by nurses on other units as also being highly valued.
In addition to the extraordinary teamwork that helps ease the transition, one remarkable aspect is the training involved on and off the unit at the beginning of one’s nursing career at Mayo Clinic. Before being introduced to the unit I would be working on, I went through an orientation program that involved an introduction to the core values, expectations, benefits, and history of Mayo Clinic. This opened my eyes to what established us as a well-known and profound hospital to work for and be a patient of today. After that orientation, the orientation on my unit began. This was exciting and nerve racking at the same time. I was anxious to finally become a nurse working for an industry that leads by example and puts the needs of the patient first. Yet having an important role in the team caused me much anxiety.
The orientation on my unit lasted a couple of months because of it being a progressive care unit (PCU). I was part of a program called EPIC (The Essentials of Progressive and Intensive Care). This program was about 2 months long. It brought me back to the basics of each body system and what to expect and watch for with critically ill patients. In order to pass this part of the class, I had to score at least an 80% on a written exam. Also, because we continually monitor heart rhythms on our unit, I had to learn how to read EKG strips. This was quite challenging at first because I was not taught in detail about EKG strips in college. I thought I was never going to remember all the different rhythms! I was obviously wrong, due in large part to the nurses and staff members who taught the classes because they were very helpful and willing to put in extra time if needed. Looking back on the program, I feel as though it was beneficial and important to help me be successful beginning my new career.
Since starting on my unit, I have witnessed an industry that operates effectively and efficiently towards a specific goal for each individual patient. Mayo Clinic is known for putting the needs of the patient first, but it is even more rewarding to be a member that strives for and witnesses this attribute. Every day I come to work I am happy to be there. I am faced with a different challenge each and every day which requires me to critically think which will benefit me as I continue my career as a registered nurse and as I pursue a higher education. Being an employee of Mayo Clinic thus far has been a blessing.
July 3rd, 2014 · Leave a Comment
Written by Shirin Zanganeh, ICU RN
I never thought that attending a public event to let the community know that Mayo Clinic exists in Arizona would bring tears to my eyes. As I sat there at the baseball game, I had an overwhelming number of patrons approaching my table to tell me their story of how Mayo Clinic changed their life. Every day, as a Mayo Clinic nurse, I put my patients first and make sure all of their needs are met. It is in my blood and in my nature to advocate for my patients and make a place that takes all of your autonomy (a hospital) into a place that makes you feel like you are at home.
In many of the stories I heard how Mayo Nurses really affected a patients’ hospitalization. The patron that made me cry was the patron that came up to me and stated, “Mayo Clinic saved my life”. He continued to share with me that the nursing staff and physicians worked together to give him the best possible care, and his end result is a cancer remission. He stated that he felt like he was at home. Patients at Mayo become part of our Mayo family. Being at a public event really made me see this, as many former patients came to tell us their story. I am ever so proud to be an employee at Mayo, and will continue to place my patients at the top of my list every morning. After all, this is their home for a day or maybe even more.