The Mighty Mayo Clinic: My Rochester Experience


I recently returned from a week at the world-renowned Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. My current healthcare provider recommended the visit to tap into the expertise that exists there. What an eye-opening experience!

People from all walks of life, from all corners of the world, make their way through the doors of Mayo Clinic in the hope of finding answers. Ranked the number one hospital in the nation, Mayo sees over 1 million patients a year. The hospital and research center exists to solve the most challenging medical problems, one patient at a time. I am grateful to have felt the individual attention we all seek when it comes to medical care.

Getting an appointment at the Mayo Clinic is not easy. During my initial phone call, I explained that my physician referred me, which alone was not enough to convince them I needed an appointment. When I mentioned a previous failed parathyroidectomy with bilateral neck exploration, they immediately connected me to the Endocrinology Department for an appointment! Of course, there were no openings, so they advised me to call at 7:00AM on Monday mornings since that’s when they open another week, three months ahead, on their calendar. I finally got an appointment for the 16th of January due to a cancellation. January? Really? I suspect only those seeking care at Mayo Clinic go to Rochester, Minnesota in the middle of winter!

Once I got the appointment, arrangements were simple to make. We decided to fly instead of drive because of expected snow. Mayo has their own travel department, so with one phone call, I secured flights to Minneapolis for my husband and me, shuttle service from Minneapolis to Rochester, and reservations at a hotel connected to the clinic via skyways and subways. My appointment was on a Monday afternoon at 1:00 and since I didn’t know when to schedule the flight home, I took their advice and booked it for Friday. They promised me there would be no fee if I needed to change the flight, but Friday turned out to be perfect. Hmm, do you think they’ve done this a few times?


The biggest advantage of staying at a downtown hotel is the pedestrian skyways and underground walkways which all connect to the clinic. The extensive labyrinth made getting around effortless and enjoyable, with restaurants and shops all along the way. In the middle of January, Rochester still had Christmas lights on display, which made the skywalks pretty at night. Also beautiful was the 5-6 inches of fresh snow we woke up to one morning. It was fun to step out into the climate-controlled walkways and watch it snow… no coats, hats or gloves required!

Because Mayo Clinic is so huge with many buildings all attached to each other, I wondered if I would ever be in the right place at the right time. I need not have worried! They gave me detailed directions to each appointment, and the posted signage was easy to follow with helpful people at every turn. The place is truly a well-oiled machine! The lab, for example, was a remarkable display of efficiency. We walked into a room the size of a football field with chairs lined up 6 rows deep and someone sitting in nearly every one of them. We assumed this was going to take awhile, but every few minutes a lab tech from each of four different corridors would call out a name. It was like four different revolving doors constantly moving people in and out. We waited approximately 10 minutes! This is just one of many customized approaches to competent medical care and customer service.

Mayo Clinic is a surprisingly pleasant place. Although the Rochester facility has been providing patient care for over 100 years, it has a modern feel. I loved the natural light which flowed through a magnitude of skylights and windows whenever possible. The interior made use of stone, wood, colored glass, home-like furniture, and beautiful artwork to rival any modern art museum. There are even docent-led art tours and self-guided audio tours to fit almost any schedule. It all combines to deliver a comforting ambiance in a place where many are facing serious illness or complicated challenges.

When not at a test or an appointment, we spent our days exploring the walkways to places like the Civic Center, the Government Center, and the Public Library. We took the skyway overlooking the river walk, we shopped, and we found wonderful places to eat.

We also had enough time to visit Heritage Hall at Mayo Clinic, which is both a museum and a welcome center. Through displays, films, and artifacts, Heritage Hall explains the history of the Mayo brothers and their mission of excellence in patient care, education, and research.

As for me personally, I feel confident I finally have an accurate (though unexpected) diagnosis. My specialist at Mayo was kind, generous with his time, and had a way of explaining things that was easy to understand. The technicians who ran my tests exuded competence and friendliness. The entire Mayo Clinic experience was a perfect example of how healthcare should be. So, Kansas City, I’m on the hunt for a new doctor (my current one got so many things wrong), and I want someone with Mayo Clinic knowledge and values. Who’s up for the challenge?


Most of the photos are mine, but a few are from Mayo web search

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Orientation


  1. Wow! Sounds like a great experience, other than the fact you needed to be there. We are experiencing sort of a similar experience at Karmanos Cancer center in Detroit. We feel the well oiled machine, the helpful people. No hotel or shopping or heated walkways, but definitely a step up in customer service.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad to hear you have experienced expert medical care as well. I know it exists, but it seems like all we ever talk about are bad doctors and sub-par care. Great facilities need to be acknowledged, so thanks for sharing yours.


  2. Wow, the size of the building is something else and it is quite amazing what can be found there under one roof. Given they have world-class experts working together across specialities to give patients the unparalleled care they deserve, I can understand why Mayo Clinic is the destination for all who need certainty, options and hope. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I agree with Aiva – the MC is an impressive facility. Also great to hear an account of a personal, positive experience. My father spent three days at the MC once, claiming they gave him a head-to-toe wellness checkup with all sorts of tests and such. Not sure I believe it was really the reason he was there (or maybe the MC really does offer that sort of thing?) He always kept his conditions close to the cuff so maybe “checkup” was just his way of covering up something more serious.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had people tell me I’d probably see 4-5 different doctors and have more tests than I could count, but I saw one doctor the first day, had a few tests the next couple of days, then saw the same doctor again when the results were in. I’m thankful Mayo accepted my insurance, but I would have hated for them to paid for more than was needed. Take care, Dave!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. WOW! So impressive!! Thank you for sharing your experience. I’m sorry about the circumstances you needed to go there but it sounds like you will get the help you need now, which is worth the trip and thankful you have a better diagnosis. ❤️

    My son is working at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, AZ campus. He works in the proton radiation department as a medical physicist and absolutely loves working for them. I saw a very good documentary on the Mayo Clinic and it’s rich history. Thank you for the photos too. I enjoyed your post immensely! 💞

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was definitely worth the trip! You must be proud of your son for earning an important position at the Clinic in Scottsdale. I’m not surprised to hear he loves working there. We saw a good film at Heritage Hall – I wonder if it was the same documentary you saw? Thanks so much your kind words!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Fascinated reading this post – thank you for sharing your experience! I once spent a January week in Rochester MN (back in my IBM career days) and came down with severe laryngitis – everyone joked I should “go to Mayo”. Now I know what I missed! And as I knew back then, my needs did not justify the attention of Mayo staff.
    So glad you got a fresh view of your condition. That encourages me to keep poking at my elusive issues.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! Funny thing is, they probably would have been happy to help you through your laryngitis! “Patients first” they say. Mine was certainly an experience I won’t forget. Do keep searching for answers to your issues! Take care – and thank you!


  6. Very interesting post! I hope that you got answers that you needed to be on the path to wonderful health. It is great that you made the extra effort to seek out excellent health care. Obviously it made a difference.

    Liked by 1 person

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