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March 05, 2012

Some Mayo Clinic workers not happy with dress code change

Here's some from Jeff Hansel's Pulse on Health column today.

It seems Mayo Clinic is dressing things up a bit by requiring its desk employees to wear more upscale clothing.  Personally, I don't think I've ever been concerned about the clothing of a Mayo worker when I was going there for needed medical care or to refill a prescription. I could be in the minority there.

Anyway, this is kind of an interesting discussion:

Mayo Clinic leaders in Rochester might need to do some fence mending.
It doesn't matter who's right or wrong. Feelings have been hurt.

A recent announcement says about 900 desk employees will be required to get new uniforms, a Mayo spokesman said. Clinical assistants (who perform tasks like helping patients in the restroom) and desk staff will order on credit, switching from scrubs to black pants with light-blue shirts.

A Mayo Q&A says they'll repay up to $400 per worker for the cost of the uniforms over the course of up to two years.

The decision, based on months of planning by a committee, triggered a firestorm of online comments from Mayo workers.

"Mayo is a great place to work … with great wages and benefits," one said on an internal Mayo communication site. "It just seems like none of our opinions matter."

Lack of attention to how directly affected workers feel is a key complaint. There are others. For example, some are frustrated that an out-of-town company ships uniforms from an international supplier. They wonder, why not support local shops?

Commenters nicknamed themselves "LPEs" or low-paid employees, and said they struggle already paycheck-to-paycheck, making new uniform cost a burden.


"I think this is an incredible elitist and insensitive decision…," one commenter wrote.


No offense to the employees but most troubling of this is that the change was made without concrete evidence that there was a problem let alone a need for change let alone that this change would address that change and fix things.

I'm sorry, but if employees don't like it, leave. Even Admin Assts make good money and can afford a new uniform. The typical worker probably spends twice that on work clothes in 2 years. Patient complaints are taken seriously and employees are going to have to roll with the punches.

very interesting post! I guess dress codes were made to be hated. Bookmarked

Just to add they are not reimbursing 400$, it is required to be paid back withing the two years.

In North America we expect to see medical employees in scrubs --is this to appeal to the lucrative foreign clients? What's normal in the Middle East, etc?

The Mayo Clinic is a professional organization that is regarded as one of the most, if not the most, reputable medical institutions in the world. Is it really too much to ask that the first person that most patients, guests, and visitors encounter anywhere on the campus be dressed in a way that is representative of this level of prestige?

Scrubs are associated with healthcare professionals. Desk attendants are not trained to provide such care and are misrepresenting themselves by wearing scrubs.

This is a pretty basic dress code, I work at Starbuck's and can afford their required attire. I think it is important for patients to be able to distinguish who can help them quickly and that is easily done by attire, especially when laguage might be a barrior.

Interesting discussion.

I think both sides have valid points.

A well-respected and affluent organization like Mayo does have a reputation to keep up.

I assume hundreds of patient complaints were made about this to warrant the formation of a committee. And Mayo, of course, should respond to patient complaints.

As such an affluent organization, it doesn't seem out of line for it to either provide uniforms or financially help its employees that are not among its most highly paid.

Comments that upset workers can leave do not seem to fit with Mayo Clinic's reputation as a place that listens to its employees.

I don't know everything about this issue, but those are a couple thoughts based on what Jeff Hansel reported.

I agree that scrubs should not be worn by non-medical personnel, and that is for any medical facility not just Mayo. As for the black pants and light blue shirts, are the employees allowed to choose some options (i.e. long sleeve button down, polo, sweater set, etc)? I think if they are allowed some choice, there really isn't anything to complain about. Mayo is not obligated to reimburse anything for their employee's clothing so it is good of them to do so. Of course, they are likely going through a company that provides logoed clothing, and that stuff is not cheap (but pretty good quality, so a few shirts will last some time).

I were Zubas!

I think Mayo employees should take a look at the economy around them. Getting a $400 reimbursement for work clothing is pretty generous. Having a job at Mayo Clinic is a pretty sweet gig. I guess it's all about perspective.

Apparently if you have a job you should just shut your pie hole and take whatever is shoveled your way. :America:

I think it's reprehensible of the post bulletin to take comments from our internal (private) website and make it public news. The intranet site is there for employees to openly and honestly discuss their opinions on how to improve the best health care institution in the world.

If this site is now going to be public information it is going to limit the usefulness of the information people contribute. I think the post bulletin needs to up their standards in reporting.

Sounds like we need a union, like some Mayo employees have.

.....And cue the anti-union meetings from Mayo administrators!

I agree with Mayo resident. Exactly what public good was served by this article? All it did was give the Mayo haters and disgruntled employees a chance to take a shot at it. Does Mayo make mistakes? Sure it does, but if Hansel hadn't been so lazy in his reporting (cut and paste does not show a lot of creativity) he might have dug around a bit and found out that this decision was well vetted by supervisors, front line employees and administration before being finalized. Although in the end, I'm not sure what's worse--Hansel cut and pasting from the Mayo web or Kiger cut and pasting Hansel's article...

I have been a Mayo patient for about 4 years now. Not too long, I know. The very FIRST thing I noticed was how it was so refreshing to see the male doctors dressed in suits and the female doctors in either dresses or skirts and the occasional pantsuit. It gives a huge feeling of competency and class. The only time I have ever seen scrubs was in the oncology area (which I totally understand) and one time my plastic surgeon was running from the Hospital to the clinic with no time to change. I was happy to have her there on time so that was ok by me! Most of the reception and check in people are very nicely dressed too. I am wondering what sort of uniform they are talking about. Just a thumbs up for the professionalism that Mayo strives for. This patient finds it refreshing to not walk into a doctor's office and see a sea of scrubs.

My God, what on earth are they complaining about. They have good jobs with one of the best employers in the US, and they are bitching about what they are required to wear? Uniforms are cheap compared to street clothes of similar quality. If you have been without a job for two years, you might have something to complain about. Mayo's jobs are good jobs. Stop complaining, buy the uniforms, and thank God you have a good job with a great employer.

Many jobs require uniforms, I don't see what the big deal is. Did they have to buy their scrubs they wear now? What's the difference? Most people have to purchase their attire for work. In a professional setting, you have to purchase professional attire. In a labor job, you have to purchase maybe steel toed boots, etc. The only elitist angle I see at this point are the employees complaining as though they are elite and shouldn't have to be uniformed like us common folk. Give me a break!

The second paragraph of the article is horribly written. Does the Post Bulletin not have writing standards?

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