In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

March 31, 2022

In a Word: Stephanie Sweeney on the joy of helping others, embracing failure, more

By In the Loop
Stephanie Sweeney

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.

Stephanie Sweeney, an occupational medicine coordinator at Mayo Clinic in Florida, has heartfelt reasons for working at Mayo Clinic. When she was a teenager, a family member suffered a heart attack, and Mayo Clinic helped save their life.

"I made it my mission to work here so that I could one day give back to the organization that brought my family member home to me," Sweeney says. "I have poured my heart and soul into Mayo Clinic over the last 10 years to show my thankfulness for what they did for my family."  

She says she loves that Mayo Clinic is in "the miracle business."

"I have personally seen so many lives changed because of the way our teams truly care for each patient," she says. "Being a part of such an amazing organization, saving lives, is extremely rewarding."

One of my favorite things about Mayo Clinic: We are always trying to improve. Each year, we are all striving to be better than the previous year. We want the best for our teams and for our patients, and we strive for nothing less.

The single most important thing I did at work yesterday (or expect to do tomorrow): I provided comfort and reassurance to an anxious patient. We have to remember that most patients are coming to us in a vulnerable state. Prioritizing the patient experience is so important. Creating a welcoming atmosphere where patients can focus on healing and openly address concerns can make a huge difference in their quality of life. The joy that comes from knowing that you have a direct impact on a life — that is immeasurable and fulfilling.

A book I would recommend or one I want to read (and why): "Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul," by John Eldredge and Stasi Eldredge. This book provides an invaluable perspective into the heart of women. It is encouraging on a soul level.

Mayo Clinic has taught me: That there is always room for growth. I have been working at Mayo Clinic in Florida for 10 years, and I still have so much to learn. Do not limit yourself. You are capable of far more than you think.

Most treasured or best advice from a colleague at Mayo: My mentor shared that we should embrace our failures and consider them beginnings rather than endings. Success usually comes as a result of past failures.

Most memorable Mayo moment: Being granted the autonomy to establish a division of our department that had never existed before. This is when I discovered my passion for project and change management.

If I could choose the "hold" music for Mayo Clinic: I am a fan of classical music, though I would absolutely love to hear the Eagles, Lynyrd Skynyrd or Bad Company.

Favorite space on campus this month: The second floor of our hospital. They are heroes. I had the privilege to watch them do what they do best on several occasions over the last two months. And each time, they left me in awe.

People who inspire me: I have a long list of people who inspire me. My husband has always supported me and motivated me to get out of my comfort zone. My dad — his confidence and encouragement over the years has instilled this strong desire to improve. My mom has always believed in me and supported my dreams. There have been so many colleagues of mine who have made such an impact on not only my career but the trajectory of my life that I am forever grateful for.

The most fun I've had at work this year: The nature of the department that I work in can be very challenging. My colleagues and I are always making each other laugh. We really do have a great time together on a daily basis. I am blessed to be a part of such an incredible team.

Team Dr. Charlie or Team Dr. Will? Or Team Mother Alfred or Team Dr. W.W.  Why? I am part of Team Mayo, which would encompass all of the above. They all had integral roles in the development of this organization. Their different perspectives and motives created the foundation on which Mayo Clinic was built. It would be difficult for me to choose just one.

When patients recall their visit to Mayo Clinic, I hope they remember: Just how much we care and how valued they are. I hope that they walk away empowered, hopeful and confident, knowing that we will give them nothing less than the very best that we have to offer.


Tags: In a Word, Staff Stories, Stephanie Sweeney

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