Todd Juen

Mayo Clinic Labs @Work

Thousands of people in hundreds of different roles work at Mayo Clinic Laboratories. Mayo Clinic Labs @Work offers a glimpse behind the scenes into this busy reference laboratory, featuring staff from throughout the organization talking about what they do and why they do it.


What is your role at Mayo Clinic and how long have you been in it?

I’m the supervisor of Desk C in the Hilton Building. Our team also staffs the Executive Health desk on the fifth floor of the Mayo Building, as well as Desk MC at Saint Marys Hospital. I currently supervise 52 staff members. I’ve been in this role for over 20 years, although it has changed quite a bit during that time.

Todd Juen


What does your day-to-day work involve?

It’s busy. Desk C can see as many as 1,000 patients a day. Most of our work involves blood draws for laboratory testing. We also hand out containers for specimen collection, and we perform nasal swab collections, too. I arrive at work before 6 a.m. so I can review and plan my day before patients start arriving. I help with patient care beginning a little after six each morning. Then our outpatient supervisor group meets with our operations manager in a morning huddle to discuss staffing and other issues that need attention. After that, I typically clear my calendar for a while so I can assist with patient care or any staffing issues that come up. The rest of the day, I connect with staff, attend meetings, and do the other work that needs to get done to keep everything running smoothly in such a busy area.


What part does your work play in a patient’s overall care experience at Mayo Clinic?

In many cases, when patients come to our area, it’s the first appointment they have scheduled. Because of that we are, in a way, the face of Mayo Clinic for many people. We often encounter people who are nervous or anxious. We also see people who are by themselves, and they need some guidance. Sometimes they’ve received bad news. My staff deal with a lot of that, and they do it well. We can put 200 patients through our area in one hour. But it’s our mission never to treat people like a number. Despite the large volume through Desk C, I get a lot of comments from patients who say, “They treated me like a person. They really care.” That’s what we want.


Is there anything about your work that people might find surprising or unexpected?

As a supervisor, I wear many, many hats, and some of them really stay behind the scenes. For example, as supervisor for more than 50 people who report directly to me, I often work with staff who are dealing with personal issues, and they need to talk with someone. Being there for them, and helping them find resources when they need them, is a big part of my job that I don’t think many people realize. Sometimes, supervisors don’t have the greatest reputations. We may get stereotyped as being mean or yelling a lot or driving people to meet quotas. I certainly try not to be that way. I want to be able to help my staff through what they are dealing with, not only so they can do their work, but because I care about them. That’s really a big reason why I’ve stayed in this job for so long — it’s to help people, both patients and my staff.


What part of your job do you find the most challenging?

One of the biggest challenges for me is to make sure I’m connecting with all of my staff. That can be hard in a patient care area because they are working with patients all the time, and I can’t pull them away from that just so we can go and talk. I sometimes worry that the connection might get lost with such a big group. But I do have my assistant supervisor to help me, so people know we’re here for them and want to be available to them.


What gives you meaning and purpose in your work?

I’m a medical technologist by training, and when I started working in the labs, I had a really good supervisor who was a good mentor to me. He motivated me to be that kind of a supervisor, too. I really enjoy the staff I have here, and I value our team. I want to cultivate a good work environment. When people move to a different area, I want them to be moving because it’s a good move for them, not because they want to get away from something here. I also like working with phlebotomists because they do a wide variety of tasks as they are working with patients, and they do an important job quickly and well. Of course, I really enjoy working with patients, too — talking with them, hearing their stories. Mayo Clinic is about the patient, and I love being part of that. It’s great to know that we often have 1,000 patients through our area in a day without one complaint. They got to their next appointment as they needed to, and we served them well. You don’t hear a lot about Desk C, but, to me, that means we’re doing our job, and the patients are successfully on their way.

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Tracy Will

Tracy Will is a senior marketing specialist at Mayo Clinic Laboratories where she covers innovation, specialty testing, and advances in laboratory medicine. Tracy has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2016.