In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

March 1, 2022

In a Word: Corey Olson on feeling like a kid at heart, importance of being genuine and more

By In the Loop
Corey Olson

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.

Corey Olson

Corey Olson wears many hats. Olson is a licensed practical nurse in Pediatrics at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. When he's not at work, he keeps busy with Oh Scrap, a side project dedicated to handcrafted items, and Renegade Rabbitry, where he breeds and shows rabbits.

Olson says his favorite parts about working at Mayo Clinic are the opportunities for growth he has had and the committees he has been a part of — some of which a licensed practical nurse has not served on in the past.

"I feel licensed practical nurses are capable of a lot more than we currently do, and because of that, I have been trying to enhance opportunities not only for myself but for licensed practical nurses altogether," he says.

One of his favorite times of the year is when the Hy-Vee Balloon Brigade comes to Mayo 16 during the holidays to distribute balloons to children who are hospitalized.

"There is just so much happiness in the air," Olson says of the event.

One of my favorite things about Mayo Clinic: I just can never fathom that I am at an institution that is making history every day. I sometimes get giddy just thinking about it. I also appreciate the opportunities, outside of my role as a nurse that Mayo has given me, including a trip to attend a nursing conference at Walt Disney World. And two of the Mayo gift shops have picked up the ponchos I make for children as part of their support for small businesses.

The single most important thing I did at work yesterday (or expect to do tomorrow): Vaccinating children against disease, especially COVID-19 and influenza. For the kiddos, however, the most important thing I did was hand out stickers, and sometimes prizes for their awesome participation. Rubber ducks and unicorn rings are the way to go.

A book I would recommend, or one I want to read: As an alumnus of the Disney College Program, where I earned my "mouseter" and "ducktorate" degrees, I'm pretty much a walking Disney nerd. "If Disney Ran Your Hospital" is my favorite book, as it combines my love for Disney with my love for pediatric nursing. While it gives pointers to improve patient experience, the overall theme is how health care organizations should be offering experiences to their patients — not just services. Now as a kid at heart, I love all of the Harry Potter books. I grew up with those characters, so I must admit that I sometimes try to "accio" (cast a summon spell) on things from my sofa — when no one is looking, of course.

Mayo Clinic has taught me: Mayo Clinic has taught me a few things, most importantly, the efficacy of hope. As Mother Alfred Moes said, "With our faith and hope and energy, it will succeed." Mayo has also inspired me in a fun, roundabout way to be neon in a world of black and white, remaining true and steadfast to myself. Mayo has also helped me turn dreams into reality, and in a way has encouraged me to #neverstopdreaming.

Most treasured or best advice from a colleague at Mayo: The best advice I have received from a few colleagues is that it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission. In all seriousness, however, the best advice to remember working here is that the needs of the patients come first — which I know we hear all the time — but it really is best practice and makes my duties a lot more memorable.

Most memorable Mayo moment: My most memorable Mayo moment was very recently, receiving my academic appointment as an instructor in Nursing (in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science), which makes me eligible for the Academy of Excellence.

If I could choose the "hold" music for Mayo Clinic: It would be "This Is Me" from "The Greatest Showman."Or a mix of music transitioning into parts of speeches from Will and Charlie, kind of like Fantasmic at Disney World, where narration transitions into song and back again. It could be really fun and interesting, and may make time feel like it goes faster.

Favorite space on campus this month: It was seeing the moss wall in the Executive Suite on Mayo 11.

People who inspire me: The people who inspire me are many. They include all the pediatric nursing colleagues I've had the pleasure of working with on Mayo 16 and in Community Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, as well as those in the various committees I've served on. More specifically, Jeannie Clark, Tami Omdahl, Dawn Nelson, Drew Haack, Kadi Davis, Cynthia Stenglein and Therese Appel Jacobs. In addition to those at work, my family inspires me all the time, especially my four siblings, and my nephew, 'Lil Will.

The most fun I've had at work this year: The most fun I've had at work this year was when I led the annual Ros-E-Gram, which is an event that immediately changes the working environment to joyful. Colleagues can deliver a rose and a note of gratitude to others.

Team Dr. Charlie or Team Dr. Will? Or Team Mother Alfred or Team Dr. W.W.? I am Team Mother Alfred Moes because there would be no Mayo Clinic without her. I admire her tenacity and stewardship in Mayo's creation, dedication to education, and authenticity as a person. Most of all, I admire her invincibility and ingenuity in setting out to do things no one has ever done before, all the while remaining genuine throughout. Cue the "This Is Me" song I mentioned above.

When patients recall their visit to Mayo Clinic, I hope they remember: Our passion for compassion and the service they receive at Mayo Clinic. I genuinely hope they don't view themselves as a number in a bingo cage of numbers. Even further, I hope they recall that service as being helpful, honest and equitable. My primary care provider here has made a world of difference in the ease and access of my health care. I hope patients feel the same with their care. I also hope they recall all the beautiful remodeling and updating we are doing with infrastructure because I think it's been fabulous and makes me proud to be an employee here.


Tags: Corey Olson, Employee Stories, In a Word, Nursing

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