In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

May 22, 2014

The definition of patient care

By In the Loop

Image of child nappingThere are many things that set the care patients receive at Mayo Clinic apart from the rest. But perhaps none is more meaningful than when care providers give due consideration to the everyday challenges patients face. Don't take our word for it. Take Brianna Kuster's words. The young mom was so impressed by the consideration she and her son were given that she wrote to John Noseworthy, M.D., president and CEO of Mayo Clinic.

In her letter, Kuster, now (but not then) a treatment technician in the Fountain Centers program at Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea, writes that she traveled tentatively to Rochester three years ago for the treatment of an Erb's palsy injury her son had suffered at birth. "I was hesitant to come to Mayo," she writes. "I thought it was too big to take my newborn son to, and … we would be treated like a number. Mayo sees millions of patients from all over the world, and my son would surely be lost in the madness."

Thankfully, that's not how it works. "It's hard for me to admit when I am wrong, but I must say that from the minute I walked through the front doors every one of my experiences has been wonderful!" Kuster writes. "My son has been seeing Drs. Shin, Bishop, Spinner and Shaughnessy for over three years now, and every time we leave an appointment we feel as though all of our questions have been answered and all of my worries are addressed."

But an experience this past October really made her see what patient care at Mayo Clinic is all about, she says. "We initially had an appointment in the morning to see Dr. Shaughnessy and then an afternoon appointment" to see her son's other doctors, Kuster writes. "We received a phone call the day before the appointment from a nurse who wanted to change our afternoon appointment to the morning."

Kuster says she thought this was great, since it meant they wouldn't need to be in Rochester all day. She assumed the change was a result of the doctors' schedules. Instead, Kuster writes, Dr. Shin told her "he had looked at our schedule that day and didn't want the afternoon appointment to interfere with our son's nap time. I almost fell over when he said this," she says. "Here is a big-time surgeon for the most reputable clinic in the world, and he cares about my son's nap time!"

For his part, Dr. Shin tells us he was just thinking of his four kids and the many scheduling challenges that brings. "I could only imagine if it were my son, how irritated he would be with no nap," he says. "So we saw him earlier, and it was a win for everyone. It was as simple as that."

Simple or not, Kuster says it was a gesture that's had a big impact on her life. "Since my wonderful encounters with Mayo, my husband and I now do all of our doctoring at Mayo," she says. "I also sought out employment at Mayo so I could be a part of making others feel the way I have felt."

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Tags: Dr. Alexander Shin, Dr. Allen Bishop, Dr. Robert Spinner, Dr. William Shaughnessy, Employee Stories, Employee Story, Fountain Centers, Orthopedics, Patient Stories

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