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.
I grew up in a small farming community in Southwest Minnesota, and I didn’t know about Mayo Clinic. But when I was about 10 years old, our family took a road trip to Niagara Cave near Harmony, Minnesota, and on the way, we drove through Rochester. As we were passing through, I saw Mayo Clinic, and I told my parents, “I’m going to work there someday.” I don’t know what made me say that, but some unconscious part of myself must have known this is where I’d belong.
When I was looking at nursing programs, I enrolled at Rochester Community and Technical College, and I started at Mayo Clinic in 1979 as a nursing assistant. I became a nurse in 1981 and worked in the hospital setting until 1993. I took a hiatus from Mayo to explore other career opportunities for a few years, but I came back in 1999. I’ve been in education roles since 2002, joining the Education Office in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology (DLMP) in 2011.
I’m the manager for DLMP’s Education Program. In addition to my position, our team has one placement coordinator and four education staff members. We have an interesting scope of practice. We help recruit staff to DLMP, and then we provide ongoing educational opportunities to help them grow as professionals and hopefully facilitate long, rewarding careers in the department. My time is spent overseeing, creating, and delivering educational content for our staff, and I really enjoy collaborating with our team on educational topics. I’m also a member of Mayo Clinic’s Quality Academy, where I’m an instructor and a quality project reviewer. I’m a member of DLMP’s Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Committee, too, so I get to create educational resources and host educational events for that. We have an incredible team there.
Our education office is one of the hidden jewels that makes DLMP strong. We’re not doing the testing; we’re behind the scenes. But we’re responsible for recruiting staff, and once they’re here, we welcome them with our orientation program. Then we provide continuing education and professional development, so we have staff that can succeed in their roles. We help to set our lab staff up for success and support them throughout their careers.
It may surprise some people to know that I’m an introvert, even though I’m an educator out there teaching all those classes. I’ve been in education roles for 40 years, and it’s not because I love hearing myself talk or I crave the attention. I do it because education is so important to me and because I love to learn. I’m always learning something new as I research the topics I teach and as I share them with others.
I’m protective of my staff. So when, in 2020, all my team members were redeployed to other areas due to COVID, it made me feel powerless. I had no control over what was happening to them, and I couldn’t do anything to protect them. All I could do was be supportive and provide a listening ear. That was the hardest time because I knew they were hurting. It was a very challenging and difficult time for everyone.
I’m an educator down to my soul. Providing education content that’s relevant and useful gives me great satisfaction. One of my other great joys is having the opportunity to help other employees — get them to try something new, take on a new opportunity, learn a new skill. Watching them grow professionally is a source of true satisfaction for me. And I work with the best team around. They are terrific.
Brie LaJoye began her career with Mayo Clinic in 2018 as an intern and has been with the organization for nearly six years. She currently works as a Laboratory information system (LIS) technical specialist, managing lab instrumentation, troubleshooting issues, and improving testing procedures. Her work ensures accurate and timely results for patients and providers, and she takes pride in being a crucial part of the lab's operations.
Eight years ago, Tamara Staley joined Mayo Clinic Laboratories’ Cardiovascular Sales team selling CV diagnostic testing to community hospitals. Now, she leads sales for Hematology and Oncology’s Central Region. Tamara is proud to help connect physicians and patients to a wide variety of oncology solid tumor testing that includes breast cancer testing.
Outreach manager Jane Hermansen regards Mayo Clinic as the pinnacle of healthcare. Having spent her formative years in Minnesota, she was inspired by her uncle Roger to embark on a path as a laboratory scientist. Presently, she oversees the Mayo Clinic Laboratories outreach consulting and network programs. In addition, she spearheads the laboratory industry's only outreach conference, Leveraging the Laboratory.