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 came to Rochester, Minnesota, after finishing high school in New Richmond, Wisconsin. I started in the Rochester Community College nursing program, but it wasn’t the right fit for me, so I switched over to the medical laboratory technician program with the Mayo School of Health Science, which helped me secure a job with the Department of Hematopathology. When the University of North Dakota’s cohort programs were brought down to Rochester, I was in the first class to get my Clinical Laboratory Science degree and then I started with Mayo Clinic in 1989.
I work in the Hematopathology Morphology Laboratory. On a typical day, I may verify complete blood cell counts or work on special stains or pre-analytic for bone marrows that are in-house or from outside referrals.
The work we do for providers and patients helps with diagnoses for anemias, leukemias, lymphoma, and other hematopathologic diseases.
Helping patients gives me great purpose. When I switched from nursing to medical lab technician, I knew this was the right field for me because I saw how Mayo Clinic helped my father, who was diagnosed with polycythemia vera. Since then, patients have always been in the forefront of my mind.
I received the 10 Who Make a Difference Award in 2012 through KTTC for my volunteer efforts in Operation Hometown Gratitude. With a team, I sent care packages to military personnel serving overseas to bring them a taste of home.
In 2022, I received an award through Home Federal’s Community Roots Seed Money program for my work with a local nonprofit organization, Community Food Response. I became involved in Community Food Response through my church. My church is my extended family that I grew up with and we’ve always been involved within our community. My mother encouraged me to join, and I truly enjoy continuing the legacy.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Community Food Response was considered an essential group and we were the only source of food available to many people. When an individual calls us and says they don’t have money for food, we step in to help. I stay involved with community organizations because I believe what we do makes a difference in people’s lives.
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As supervisor of the Tissue Registry Archive, Annette Bjorheim finds purpose in her work to provide archived material for patient testing, education, and research needs.
Wendy is a clinical laboratory technologist who works in the Hematopathology Morphology Laboratory at Mayo Clinic Laboratories. Although she’s worked with Mayo Clinic since 1989, her greatest passion is serving others throughout the community.