Annette Bjorheim

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 brought you to Mayo Clinic, and how long have you worked here?

I started at Mayo Clinic in June 1990 as a medical secretary following vocational education in Winona, Minnesota. After training as a float, I joined the Anatomic Pathology (AP) department in November 1990. In 2005, I accepted my first supervisory position with the AP department as an office manager. Later, my position transitioned to pathology reporting specialists (PRS) supervisor. After I obtained my bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2018, I became DLMP supervisor for the PRS team.

Annette Bjorheim


What’s your current role and what does a typical workday look like for you?

I am currently the supervisor of the Tissue Registry Archive within the Division of Anatomic Pathology. I started with Tissue Registry (TR) as the supervisor in February 2022. My team includes an assistant supervisor and 13 TR techs. Additionally, we receive assistance from participants within Mayo Clinic’s Return-To-Work program. I lead the staff and oversee operational workflows, policy education, compliance, and building needs. Each day, TR techs maintain the quality of material filing and handle the documentation and processing of checkouts and returns. I assist with troubleshooting discussions and attend daily huddles, which are great to learn the nuances of the TR tech role. This past year, we’ve also developed workflows for the digital scanning project.


How do you think your work benefits providers and patients?

The preservation of slides, paraffin-embedded tissue blocks, and residual tissue is critical for the three shields of Mayo Clinic (clinical practice, education, and research). Because the material is irreplaceable, it holds much value and allows testing to be completed for diagnostic and prognostic purposes. This may aid in a provider’s decision for their patient’s course of treatment. Due to the longevity of the materials at TR, many research studies with the proper approval could not be conducted without Tissue Registry Archive.


Is there anything about you or your job that others might find surprising?

The Tissue Registry Archive is a fascinating place with a historical presence now merged with our digital world. We have slides and blocks dating back to the early 1900s. 


Which part(s) of your job is the most challenging, and why?

With the high volume of material within the archive currently, and more material arriving daily, we focus on the overall organization of the archive and strive to maximize space. This needs to be balanced to keep our staff safe and workflows efficient when we process requests. Decisions made today directly affect the archive now and for years to come.


What gives you meaning and purpose in your work?

I am grateful for the opportunity to provide archived material for current patient testing and future education and research needs. This work ignites my internal desire to improve our processes related to turnaround time, quality, and customer service. Each day our patients, pathologists, providers, and researchers depend on us to deliver.

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Nicole Holman

Nicole Holman joined Mayo Clinic Laboratories in 2023. She currently serves as communications writer on the marketing team. Nicole enjoys feature writing and storytelling focused on employees, patients, and company culture.