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I have been a registered nurse for many years, practicing mostly in critical-care and postanesthesia care. I've worked at the bedside and also in leadership roles. I was at Mayo Clinic in Arizona from 2000 to 2004 before moving to New Jersey because of my husband's job. I currently work as a legal nurse consultant.

I miss Mayo every day, and after moving I tried to work in a local hospital part-time. But once a Mayo nurse, it is very hard to go anywhere else. Mayo is an amazing place to be a nurse. I called it "Disneyland for Nurses" because finally, after 17 years of nursing, I could be the nurse I always wanted to be. The patient really did come first. There was a team approach to patient care. I can remember when first starting at Mayo that I was amazed at the level of proactive medical care and how the team approach prevented major disasters. Patients who would never have survived where I had worked before went home to live normal lives. It was common for a group of healthcare workers to put their heads together to come up with a solution rather than give up. Every team member was asked to contribute, and their input was valued; this included doctors, nurses, physical and respiratory therapists, social workers, and family members.

There is a mutual respect for all healthcare providers at Mayo. I recall a day when a physical therapist went into the room to help my post-op patient out of bed, and the patient needed to use the bathroom. I immediately ran into the room to help the patient, but the therapist said, "I got it, go back to what you were doing." Where I worked before, anything to do with bodily functions was the "nurse's job." I never heard, "It's not my job," at Mayo.

Mayo is selective about whom they hire, and they hire people who fit the vision rather than trying to mold people into the Mayo way. So many times in my career, the mission and vision of the hospital were spoon-fed to me, and I was asked to memorize them for accreditation visits. No one ever thought I held those values already. Mayo did.

At Mayo I had the time and resources to care for my patients the way I wanted to care for them. I could take an hour to do a dressing change carefully after premedicating the patient for pain and know that I would be able to complete the painful procedure without being interrupted because of another patient. My coworker would have time to watch my other patient(s) and would willingly do so because that was our culture. I could spend an hour in a family conference or comfort a dying patient's family because that was not considered frivolous; it was part of my job. Hospitals typically ...

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