In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

January 4, 2022

‘In a Word’: Cindy Finck on empathy, Franciscan sisters and more

By In the Loop
Cindy Finck

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.


Cindy Finck left her hometown of Millington, Michigan, 40 years ago and headed to Rochester, Minnesota. Being new in town, she sought a job at what was then Saint Marys Hospital, thinking the opportunity to care for others and meet new people would be the perfect fit for her.

Finck, now a card access specialist in Parking and Transportation, says her experience at Mayo Clinic has been better than she ever imagined.

"My expectations were exceeded by the amazing people, lifelong friendships and a second family," she says. "To me, Mayo is a place where everyone knows your name, and I could lend a helping hand to those in need."

"I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to experience my favorite part of my job: seeing the excitement on the faces of new students and employees when they receive their Mayo badge," she says. "It is great to be a part of their first day as they meet their goal to work for Mayo."

One of my favorite things about Mayo Clinic: The feeling of being awestruck that comes over me every time I walk through the doors of the Mayo Building.

The single most important thing I did at work yesterday (or expect to do tomorrow): As much as I can, I aspire to reduce the stress felt by staff who have an access or parking issue.

A book I would recommend, or one I want to read: I couldn't pick just one of the novels by Fredrik Backman: "Beartown," "Anxious People," "A Man Called Ove," "My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry," and "Britt-Marie Was Here." I find Backman's writing intriguing. His stories keep me guessing.

Mayo Clinic has taught me: Many lessons were learned by sharing the hallways with the Franciscan sisters, observing dedication and humility. I remember seeing the sisters working through the night in the dietary kitchen once it had closed, canning pickles for the bazaar. It was always a challenge and a reward to make it to the bazaar before Sister Generose's amazing pickles would sell out. It was also common to see Sister Generose stopping to pick up a piece of paper in the hallway. She valued everyone, and it showed in her actions.

Most treasured or best advice from a colleague at Mayo: It was by a former supervisor: Always look for jobs that require empathy. It is your calling.

Most memorable Mayo moment: A lost blanket (shield of armor) that was returned to a little girl. Somehow during a procedure, the blanket was sent with the hospital linen. Her mother called and told me that her daughter would use the blanket while she was undergoing treatment. When she couldn't take any more of the procedure and needed a break, she would cover herself with her blanket. The procedure would stop until she was ready to continue treatment. It broke my heart. I believe we were granted a miracle when the blanket was found and returned to the child. A couple of months later, I received a letter and a homemade copy made by the child of her blanket/shield of armor. I was so touched, it brought me to tears.

If I could choose the "hold" music for Mayo Clinic: "Lean on Me" by Bill Withers. The lyrics, "When you are not strong / I'll be a friend / I'll help you carry on." I believe that is what we are looking for when we are faced with an illness.

Favorite space on campus this month: The Saint Marys Campus chapel. It is so peaceful. It's a place I go for healing.

People who inspire me: The Franciscan Sisters of Saint Marys.

The most fun I've had at work this year: Toys for Tickets promotion — seeing the generosity of staff, even some who didn't have a parking ticket. Also, seeing grandparents take their grandchildren on shopping trips to buy holiday gifts for our patients.

Team Dr. Charlie or Team Dr. Will? Or Team Mother Alfred or Team Dr. W.W. Why? I believe all of the teams are the perfect blend of dedication, humility, science and world-renowned physicians.

As are those who continue the traditions they established. The gratitude I would like to express for the exceptional care I received during my personal health crisis reads like that of an academy winner on stage thanking members of the performance. The actors in my story consist of world-renowned physicians Dr. Wade Hanson, Family Medicine, who made it all possible by encouraging the screening that provided early detection of breast cancer; Internal Medicine Specialist Dr. Daniela Stan; Susan Mundt; Dr. Judy Boughey, Surgery; Dr. Ciara O'Sullivan, Medical Oncology; and Dr. Kimberly Corbin, Radiation Oncology. Mayo Clinic and my incredible family, and the support they provided, made my medical story a success. This would then bring on a standing ovation.

When patients recall their visit to Mayo Clinic, I hope they remember: The feeling of being cared about and cared for.


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Tags: Cindy Finck, Dr. Ciara O'Sullivan, Dr. Daniela Stan, Dr. Judy Boughey, Dr. Kimberly Corbin, Employee Stories, In a Word, Susan Mundt

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