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 have a long history with Mayo Clinic. I was born in Rochester, Minnesota, at Saint Marys Hospital. My fraternal grandfather was a physician. My mother was a long-dedicated Mayo employee, first a private duty nurse at Saint Marys Hospital and then transferring to Mayo Clinic as a nursing supervisor in Orthopedics and then the Spine Center Clinic. My paternal grandfather was a Mayo employee as one of the first Mayo ambulance drivers in General Service, then retiring from the Business Office.
Connie Ohnstad on vacation at the Grand Canyon.
I knew from a very young age that I wanted to work in the medical environment as did my mother and grandfathers. After high school graduation, I worked in General Service for five years while attending Winona State University. In 1986, after receiving my degree, I was hired full time in General Service. In 1992, careers took my husband and I to Killeen, Texas. Finding a position at Scott and White Hospital in Temple, Texas, as a phlebotomist, it was there that I found my passion. Our travels ended up taking us back home to Rochester, Minnesota, and I was rehired back at Mayo Clinic as a phlebotomist in 1996.
Once back at Mayo, I knew I wanted to use my previous experience in Texas and my bachelor’s degree in health education to advance my career at Mayo. I decided to enter management in 1999. Since then, I have taken multiple management positions, including with Laboratory Services, Preparation and Processing Laboratory, Specimen Kit Orders, and then landed in the role I have today at Mayo Clinic Laboratories (MCL).
I am the supervisor for Mayo Clinic Laboratories Inventory, which encompasses both Mayo Clinic Laboratories Packaging and Specimen Kit Orders (SKO). I wear multiple hats, including collaborator, facilitator, educator, problem solver, active team member, employee resource expert, patient and client advocate, and most importantly engaging in offering successful daily outcomes for employees, patients, and clients.
Mayo Clinic Laboratories is comprised of multiple levels, all of which contribute to the provider and patient experience. MCL Inventory, in my opinion, has a large responsibility for the pre-analytic process for specimen collections. As such, I am part of a very strong team of individuals that ensures daily all clinical patients at Mayo Clinic Rochester receive accurately prepared unique specimen collection kits as requested by their providers, as well as ensuring all MCL clients have their inventory of supplies fulfilled and shipped accurately. By doing this, we are ensuring that all patients can have an accurate specimen collected and returned for testing, and that providers receive accurate results. It is the mission of our team to help provide all patients and clients with a positive experience for an exceptional outcome.
I’ve definitely learned an epic number of acronyms — the Mayo language — in my role. Sometimes I feel as though I am talking in foreign tongues. With all these acronyms in my vocabulary, it is no wonder sometimes it is hard to say a full sentence where others understand me!
Undoubtedly, challenges present themselves as avenues for success. When an obstacle presents itself, it is my personal drive to find a solution. I do find that the biggest challenge for me now has been learning all the different ways to communicate and work as a team in this new work environment. Zoom meetings, Microsoft Teams, and Skype were all foreign to me. Trying to navigate these new forms of communication and appear confident, for me are the biggest challenges I encounter. I must admit, being technically challenged as I may be, gaining success in these new forms of interactions will be a personal success in the making and one I look forward to.
In one word, perseverance. Ensuring that every day I offer my best for employees I work with and for patients and clients needing our services. Knowing that in sharing my knowledge, understanding, and experience in Mayo Clinic and the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, I can be a part of their success. For me, I take pride knowing that whatever I’ve done to help educate and provide a successful outcome, challenges can be conquered.
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.