What group within the Mayo Clinic complex most directly influences the general public’s impression of this institution—other than the medical staff? If you answered “the General Service section,” you would probably be right.
In 1977, General Service (GS) employees were well likened to a full-time public relations staff of 70-plus people—goodwill ambassadors who shared major responsibility for creating and maintaining Mayo Clinic’s image to patients, visitors, and fellow employees alike.
The variety and number of jobs performed by GS personnel was staggering. They were responsible for escorting wheelchair patients to and from appointments, providing information to patients and visitors, conducting Clinic tours, running the elevators, providing transportation for employees and guests, updating the lobby weather map, staffing various reception desks, operation the Clinic’s parking ramp and lots…the list goes on and on.
Statistically, in 1977, about 300,000 calls were received annually (1,200 daily) at the GS Dispatch Desk, nerve center for all GS activities. Over 50,000 of these calls were requests for wheelchair service. Many of the rest were for routine and miscellaneous services, such as the pick up and delivery of emergency laboratory specimens, biopsies, patient histories and mail.
Almost all job descriptions for GS positions required that the employee be “neat appearing, speak clearly, and be friendly and tactful in dealing with others.” He or she must seek to “establish and maintain a pleasant, helpful relationship with the patient and visitor.”
When talking with GS employees one quickly notices that these requirements are well met, and that GS employees exhibit a certain pride in the type of services they perform.