In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

December 18, 2022

Amy Minikus on lifesaving care that led to her becoming a nurse at Mayo

By In the Loop
Amy Minikus

"Had it not been for Mayo, I would not be here today," says Amy Minikus, a nurse in the Emergency Department at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Read her story.

Amy Minikus was barely 23 when her life was upended. She started experiencing severe abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. The symptoms continued for a week.

She was diagnosed and treated at a hospital in Iowa. She learned that she had situs invertus — a genetic condition characterized by an abnormal location of organs. In her case, her liver is on the left side, and her spleen is on the right. She also had scar tissue from previous surgeries wrap around the intestine, eventually leading it to rupture.

She had a portion of her small intestine removed, but that left her with a lung infection, sepsis, pulmonary embolism, acute respiratory distress syndrome and more. When her condition worsened, she came to Mayo Clinic in Rochester for care.

In a News Center interview, she shares how the experience not only changed her life but affected her career path — and how it led to her coming to work at Mayo Clinic in July 2022 as a nurse in the Emergency Department in Rochester.

How did Mayo help you get better?

Had I not come to Mayo Clinic, I would not be here today. After I was transferred to Mayo, it was discovered that I needed an oscillating ventilator because my lung condition was severely declining. The hospital in Iowa did not have the equipment I needed. I came to Mayo Clinic in Rochester. I was given antibiotics, fluids, placed on an oscillating ventilator to help rid my lungs of infection. I was in a medically induced coma for weeks. After that, I had physical therapy and occupational therapy to help me with walking, dressing and feeding myself. When I was discharged from the hospital, I was only able to take a few steps with help. I went home in a wheelchair, back to Iowa to start inpatient physical therapy.

Mayo gave me wonderful care and did everything to ensure that I would be functional after my illness. I owe Mayo an enormous debt of gratitude, and I'm so glad I can be here to give back.

What was the most memorable part of your experience at Mayo Clinic?  

The nurses. They would sit with me, tell me stories about their kids, and eat their lunches with me just so I wasn't alone at night. They'd paint my toenails and bring me music to listen to. They comforted my family when things were rough. I can't thank them enough for all they did for us.

I most remember my nurse, Derek. I recently had the pleasure of meeting up with him at Saint Marys after 15 years. It was a wonderful experience, and I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to see him and thank him for all the care he provided me and my family. He is one of the main reasons I decided to become a nurse. I wanted to be able to help patients, just like he helped me.

What inspired you to become a nurse?

I was not a nurse when I was sick. My experience at Mayo Clinic inspired me to become a nurse and pay it forward. If I had not come to Mayo Clinic, I would not be here today. I have always wanted to come back and serve as a nurse, and use my own story to help shape patient experiences.

What inspired you to look for work here?  

I had been a travel nurse from October 2020 to July 2022. When I was done, I felt that I was in a great position to make the jump to the Saint Marys campus. I've always wanted to work here. It's been my goal ever since I became a nurse in 2017. I wanted some experience under my belt before I came to Mayo, and I feel like I took the perfect job at just the right time.

What has been your experience working at Mayo?  

My experience has been wonderful. I've really enjoyed learning all I can in the Emergency Department and experiencing the Mayo difference as a nurse. Everyone has been great and has really made this an awesome experience.

How does your experience as a patient influence the way you work?  

I explain things a little differently than others. For instance, if I'm trying to walk a patient through a procedure, I tell them what to expect and what I'm doing each step of the way. I will sometimes tell them, "I've had this same thing done, and this is how it went for me." I will walk you through it the same way. I feel like walking patients through one step at a time tends to ease fear and instill trust.

What would you like others who are going through a similar experience to know? 

We're here for you. Caring is at the center of all that we do, and we're glad you're here.


Tags: Staff Stories

Please sign in or register to post a reply.
Contact Us · Privacy Policy