Experience at the Mayo Clinic
Academic Exchange Program CAU – AUA, 2015
Dr. Katherine Henríquez
Urologist from Panama
Through periodic visits to the website of the American Confederation of Urology, I applied to the exchange scholarship with the American Association of Urology. Few Central Americans have been able to earn this academic privilege. It was then that I received the incredible news of my acceptance and granting of a scholarship by Dr. Humberto Villavicencio, at that time Secretary General of the CAU.
I applied to three hospitals with my related subspecialties, which due to availability I was accepted to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota during two months of spring before the annual congress of the AUA. It was an unforgettable and enriching experience both academically and culturally. My first impression of the hospital was the magnitude of places with subspecialized areas and designed to provide the best comprehensive care to patients and their families. I made a rotation in Endourology with Dr. George Chow and Andrology with Dr. Landon Trost.
Every day I participated in morning academic sessions that included clinical rounds and presentation of clinical cases. I was on several occasions in the house of the founder of the Dr. William J. Mayo Hospital called “Mayo Foundation House”, built in 1916 in which I had the opportunity to meet special guests such as Prof. James Catto, Editor-in-Chief of the European Urology and discuss scientific articles and service research. The dinners with exquisite food were made in the Balfour Room, inventor of the abdominal retractor. The Mayo Clinic was a pioneer worldwide in establishing medical specialties in private practice and inventing various surgical instruments. It was exciting to enjoy this house for its history of more than a century of doctors sharing knowledge and learning from each other.
I was present in the operating room several times a week alternately with clinical consultation and minor procedures. In the operating room I observed robotic, laparoscopic, percutaneous, endourological and open surgeries. There was a diversity of daily surgeries with an impressive volume of cases and he could ask technical details with the urologist during the surgery. I was present in the first Studer orthotopic robotic intracorporeal urinary diversion performed at the Mayo Clinic. All were attentive and friendly, willing to teach me practical advice and clarify questions in their daily work.
Dr. Charlie Mayo said that the key to progress is system and organization, in other words, teamwork. This was what most fascinated me at the Mayo Clinic, to experience this extraordinary team work whose sole objective is to provide the best patient care and service. In the Urology service there were more secretaries, medical assistants and nurses than urologists and residents / fellows. They emphasize patient and family education either with interactive scheduled talks and providing various types of educational material. The Mayo Clinic was considered in the last year the best hospital in the USA and this success is attributed in first to satisfy the need of the patient: “the needs of the patient comes first”. It feels a cozy, comfortable and orderly environment willing to provide the most favorable place for the recovery of the disease.
It was a pleasure to have completed this scholarship and be the first urologist in Panama to be able to rotate in this hospital. I will always be grateful to the American Confederation of Urology for all its support, to the American Urological Association and the Urology team of the Mayo Clinic for all their hospitality, for making me feel at home by showing me the second best urological center in the USA. The best education learned is that unity makes the strength to make this achievement and changes, a reality in my country.