July 28th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

A Travel Nurse Finds a Home

By Judith Pinkston

McMillinWritten by Kathleen McMillin, Cath Lab, AZ

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.




Tags: Nursing Recruitment, Registered Nurse, RN, RN jobs, Travel Nursing

July 24th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

It’s a Magical place…

By Melinda Pobanz

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.

150 years hope and healingI 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.



Tags: Nurse, Nurse recruitment, Registered Nurse, RN, RN careers, RN jobs

July 17th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Breaking Burnout: A Win-Win for Staff and Patients

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

Painting 2




Tags: Critical Care Nurse, Nurse, Nurse recruitment, Registered Nurse, RN, RN careers, RN jobs

July 10th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

We support the novice nurse with extensive orientation and The Essentials of Progressive and Intensive Care program (EPIC).

By Jill Turck

Written by Stephanie Hein R.N. Cardiac Surgery


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.

Tags: Critical Care Nurse, Nurse, Nurse recruitment, Registered Nurse, RN, RN careers, RN jobs

July 3rd, 2014 · Leave a Comment

A Day at Diamondbacks Spring Training

By Judith Pinkston

Written by Shirin Zanganeh, ICU RN

Shirin Zanganeh, Renee Kraus, and Tim McCarthy representing Mayo Clinic

Shirin Zanganeh, Renee Kraus, and Tim McCarthy representing Mayo Clinic

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.

June 6th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Summer III Externship Student to New Graduate Nurse, A Life-Changing experience

By Jill Turck

Samantha Paradis Currently Inpatient Float Staff RN Previously 2012 Summer III externship student

Samantha Paradis
Currently Inpatient Float Staff RN
Previously 2012 Summer III externship student

Growing up in a small town in Maine, I never would have envisioned myself moving to the Midwest for a job.  My journey to Mayo Clinic actually started in California while I was attending a psychiatric nursing conference and met a group of nurses from Mayo Clinic in Rochester.  Every nurse that I interacted with loved their job and felt that they were making a difference in the lives of patients.  Some of the nurses had been Summer III Externs and encouraged me to apply for the externship the next summer.  When I returned to the University of Maine, I submitted my application, doubting that I would be accepted to such a prestigious program.  I had no idea that this decision would mark the start of a life-changing journey at Mayo Clinic.

The 10 weeks I spent in Rochester during the Summer III program changed my perspective on nursing.  My placement on an inpatient mood disorders unit, the same unit that the group of nurses I met at the conference worked on, was perfect for my educational background -- I had just completed a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.  I remember move-in weekend like it was yesterday.  The chaos of nursing students from around the country moving into the apartments was electric.  The energy did not die down during the course of the summer.  After a few weeks on my clinical unit, I began to realize that the nurses had not been exaggerating; Mayo was an amazing place that touched the lives of both patients and employees. Returning home for my final semester of nursing school, I faced a difficult decision. Should I apply for an RN position at Mayo Clinic and move 2000 miles away from my family or should I accept an offer for a spot in a Family Nurse Practitioner program on the east coast as I had originally planned?

Summer III Farewell Dinner

Summer III Farewell Dinner

My desire for a varied med-surg nursing experience and love of change led me to apply for a position on the general care float staff at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.  The decision to postpone my plans for FNP school and accept the RN position came easily after I thought about the extremely diverse experience I would have in my first new grad position.  Mixed in with my excitement about the new job were strands of fear.  Would a position floating to 35 general and progressive care units prove to be too much for a new grad?  Even my professors voiced concern about it.  Would it be difficult to meet new people when I did not have a unit to call home?  What would orientation look like?

Orientation would be a four-month process of first becoming familiar with one unit and then floating to all of the inpatient general care specialties at Mayo Clinic Hospital, Rochester.  The experience provided me with the foundation I needed to feel comfortable practicing independently but also showed me that I was never alone.  As a float staff nurse, there is no way that I can remember every unit specific procedure.  Working with unit-based preceptors, I found the most important lesson learned was never to be afraid to ask any question.

Fast forward one year.  Being an RN on the Float Staff has been everything I could have hoped for; it has given me a diverse med-surg experience and fostered my love for change. I have never felt that floating was too overwhelming, because of the extensive orientation and support that I feel from my peers and managers.  Contrary to my original fear, floating has allowed me to meet and befriend people from around the hospital.  I have found ways to become involved outside of my role as a staff nurse.  I am my unit’s wellness champion, and I volunteer for the No One Dies Alone Program.  Floating has nurtured personal skills such as flexibility, patience, and confidence.  Nursing at Mayo Clinic really has provided me with a life-changing experience and will continue to do so as I start orientation again for an ICU Float Staff position next month.

Tags: Nurse recruitment, Nursing Student, Registered Nurse, RN, Summer III, Summer III Nursing Externship

May 29th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Counting the many blessings in my work … thoughts of a new mommy

By Julie Edwards

It's official ... my maternity leave has come to an end!  I recently returned to work after 12 wonderful wintery weeks of baby bonding time.  Yes, part of me was saddened that my wee one now had to learn to share me, for I would no longer be available anytime on demand.  On the other hand, I have returned to work with a rejuvenated sense of satisfaction and pride.  I have come to realize, from the perspective of a new mommy, how grateful I am to work for Mayo Clinic as an institution.

I quickly got back into the groove of my professional life, and during my initial days back at work got reacquainted with changes that occurred while I was away.  One might not think a lot could be different in three months but let me tell you, one might be wrong!  Just the mere fact that there were different alcohol wipes stocked on my unit threw me for a loop, not to mention my computer login screen looked just a little bit different.  That being said, my transition from sleepless nights with my baby to, well, sleepless nights working night shifts could not have gone smoother.  My work "family" was so supportive in reorienting me to new policies, and it was nice to share pictures and stories of my little ones as well as catch up with my colleagues.  I love the people I work with, so my re-entry into the working world was that much more enjoyable.  I am very fortunate to have an employer that supports me and the well-being of my child by providing lactation rooms and supplies.  How nice is that?  Also, the opportunities for work hours and shifts that best facilitate the ideal work-life balance for my family is priceless!  We all know there is more to life than work, but loving what I do is a big piece of my overall happiness.  I am counting the many blessings in my work, because refreshed gratitude allows me to be the best nurse I can be -- which, of course, is one of the many roles in my life!

Tags: new mom, Nurse, Nurse recruitment, Registered Nurse, RN, working mom

May 19th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

The many roles I play as a Neurology ICU nurse!

By Julie Edwards


Written By: Julie Edwards, RN
Neurology Intensive Care Unit

A day in the life of a neuro ICU nurse ... Well look at that ... it's time to head to work! Kisses from my boys and hubby, and I am out the door, ready to perform in one of the many roles I play in life -- a neuro ICU nurse! I love my job and especially the unit on which I work! Don't get me wrong, like everybody I have the occasional day when I just don't feel like going to work, but even on those days, when I walk through the door of Mayo Clinic and start my shift, I truly feel like it is my home away from home! The smiles and cheerful greetings from my co-workers, along with the blessing of an opportunity to make a difference in the life of a stranger (my patient), make me excited and grateful for my workday! No matter how crummy life can seem sometimes, I feel grateful every day I go to work, for I have my health, and no matter how difficult my job is sometimes, it could never compare to what patients are experiencing. Okay, time to get report, so the off-going nurse can head home! A 12-hour workday, after all, is a very full shift! During our handoff, I meet my patient and often family members, too. Working in the Neuro ICU means often we not only care for patients, but their family members as well, as they sit in emotional turmoil at the bedside of their loved one!  Our patient population is a mix of medical and surgical folks, and oftentimes their lives have been turned upside down by their diagnoses. I have cried with, prayed with, and grieved with patients and their families, and after 10 years, I sure have learned the magical comforting power of a warm blanket. Hallelujah to that invention! After establishing a rapport and ensuring my patients are comfortable, it is time to get myself organized and try to "plan" my day. I say this with a hint of sarcasm as anybody who works in the ICU knows it is virtually impossible to plan a shift! That being said, I familiarize myself with the patient's history, diagnoses, and medication schedule. I look up lab reports and test results, read notes from services involved in the patient's care, and analyze rhythm strips from the patient monitor. A patient assignment is based on acuity, so sometimes I care for one patient and sometimes two. Either way, care is based on prioritizing and coordination among services to provide the best outcome for the patient, and at the end of my 12-hour shift, that is my goal.  Did I maximize my work shift to assist in a better outcome for my patient or patients? I sure hope in some way, shape or form that the answer is "yes"!

Tags: Critical Care Nurse, Neurology ICU nurse, Nurse, Nurse recruitment, recruitment, Registered Nurse

Load More