In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

August 26, 2021

‘In a Word’: Lori Keith on helping people find their way, saving energy for important stuff, and more

By In the Loop
Lori Keith

This column spotlights the kinds of people you think about when you think about Mayo Clinic. They've answered questions, serious and otherwise, so you can know them better.


You see them at bedsides. Behind desks. You may spot them walking down a hall or sprinting across a lobby, making every effort to look like they're walking. You see them talking quietly with a patient and family, or sitting down with you at a meeting. They may be friends, teammates or someone you know only by sight. But you're glad they're here. And it's reassuring to know that the health of our patients, our colleagues and the institution itself rests in their capable, friendly, earnest, caring and compassionate hands.


Lori Keith has been at Mayo Clinic for 44 years, but the memories of her first days at Mayo Clinic are still fresh in her mind.

"Sometimes it seems like I have been here a long time, but more often, it feels like yesterday that I was walking to work, turned the corner and looked at the length of the hospital with nervous excitement," says Keith, a house supervisor in the Department of Nursing Administration.

She came to Mayo Clinic for the experience and atmosphere of a teaching hospital after completing her nursing degree at what is now Rochester Community and Technical College.

"I decided to stay and work a year or two before moving on," she says. "This still makes me laugh."

While many things have changed during those 44 years, one thing remains the same. "My favorite part about working here is definitely the people," she says. "We have great staff working at Mayo."

One of my favorite things about Mayo Clinic: It is watching the staff help people find their way around. It reflects on Mayo in a positive way and reinforces that we are kind, helpful and friendly.

A book I would recommend, or one I want to read: "The Four Winds" by Kristin Hannah. It is historical fiction revolving around the Great Depression and the dust bowl. I believe that history-based books are important in giving the reader greater perspective and insight into culture, values, resiliency and tenacity. The stories often make my heart ache while also increasing the gratitude I have for the present.

Most treasured or best advice from a colleague at Mayo: "Save your energy." I was reminded that nursing consumes a lot of energy, both physically and mentally, so do everything you can to save that energy. Consolidate. Don't run from side to side of the bed. Ask if there are any more needs before leaving the room.

Mayo Clinic has taught me: Mayo Clinic has taught me that we are all a team working together to better our practice and take care of our patients.

Most memorable Mayo moment: Gosh, I can't list just one. I have had the privilege and honor to be part of many memorable moments. I am blessed.

People who inspire me: Sister Generose was a source of inspiration to me. From our first day of orientation on, I admired and respected her.

If I could choose the "hold" music for Mayo Clinic: It might be something from The Rolling Stones or Pink Floyd.

Favorite space on campus this month: While walking down the main hallway in the Joseph and Francis buildings, periodically it will flash through my mind just how many patients, visitors and staff have walked through this hospital. Hundreds of thousands of individual stories have passed through these halls, and I've been blessed to be a part of some of them. What a humbling privilege and honor that is.

When patients recall their visit to Mayo Clinic, I hope they remember: When patients leave Mayo, I hope they recall all of the people who took part in their stay, from housekeeping to physicians, and that we are driven to uphold the Mayo standard of excellence and be friendly. It is my hope that when our patients and visitors leave, they do so with positivity and with memories of the care they received from professional, caring, compassionate and engaging staff. I want them to go home and tell their friends and family just how wonderful Mayo is.


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Tags: Employee Stories, In a Word, Lori Keith

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