Once in a while you see a quote that touches you in a special way. During the past two weeks Deb and I have spent quite a few days at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. In addition to her oncology appointments Deb had major shoulder surgery, along with a couple of days in St. Mary’s Hospital. She is doing well, with less pain each day.
During the hours that Deb is sleeping in her hospital bed, I roam around the huge Mayo complex. Something like 25,000 people are employed in Mayo’s Rochester facility. When I go to the employee cafeteria (they haven’t kicked me out yet) I observe the broad range of occupations wearing the Mayo badge. There are nurses and doctors, of course. But there are IT specialists, counselors, business analysts, housekeepers, plumbers, carpenters, bus drivers, cooks, electricians, doorkeepers, receptionists; you name the occupation, they employ them at the Mayo Clinic.
Each patient has their own story; their own dream that they bring to this place on the Minnesota prairie. No one goes to the Mayo Clinic for a hangnail; these are usually seriously ill patients. Some of them have been coming to Mayo for decades with illnesses which can be managed. Others are diagnosed with terminal diseases and come to know only that they must get their affairs in order; a sad reality for many. The mental anguish of these patients and their loved ones is readily apparent in every hallway and every elevator. They come from near and far; a Muslim woman from Saudi Arabia sits side by side with the straw-hated Amish farmer from twenty miles away. They would never meet under normal circumstances, but their common desire for survival allows them to chat in a patient lounge on 10 th floor of the Gonda Building.
When I was young I used to think that being a Physician was a good gig; especially the money and prestige. As I’ve observed my wife’s Doctors, it is obvious to me that they are in this “game” for the patients; they are public servants that work onerous hours. The families of these physicians share the sacrifices made by their husbands, wives and parents.
The question still remains, “What drives these Mayo employees?” Of what stuff are they motivated?
As I walked through a hallway the other day I saw a quote from founder William J. Mayo that might give us some insight to that motivation.
“They give me of their dreams, and I give them of my experience,
and I get the better of the exchange.”
William J. Mayo, M.D.