Mayo Clinic’s inclusive onboarding sets new standard in lab accommodations

Conor Peck and Brigette Baig

After Conor Peck cleared the preliminary interview panel for a medical laboratory technologist position in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, it did not take lengthy for him to catch Brigette Baig’s attention.

“He has a biochemistry degree, and we like chemistry people in our lab,” says Baig, supervisor of the Metals Laboratory. “I called him to just give him an informal tour of the lab using FaceTime.”

She was impressed by his response to the expertise.

“When you do an informal walkthrough and lab tour through FaceTime, it can be very awkward and overwhelming for the other person,” Baig says. “But Conor just seemed to take it in easily and naturally, and he had great follow-up questions.”

Toward the top of the tour, Peck disclosed one thing to Baig: He is a self-described “seasoned paraplegic” and makes use of a wheelchair.

“He didn’t have to disclose any of that,” says Baig.

The disclosure did nothing to dim Baig’s enthusiasm for Peck’s candidacy, and he or she finally provided him a place, which he accepted.

But earlier than he might start, he’d must undergo a novel onboarding course of.

All onboard

The onboarding course of started with a Post Offer Placement Assessment, the place Peck shared the office accommodations he would wish. He then started assembly with Mayo workers, together with an ergonomist and a senior incapacity compliance adviser, to make sure the accommodations could be met.  

Those accommodations included determining incorporate a wheelchair into the Metals Lab, which is an ISO class 7 clear room. That means there are stringent necessities for maintaining particles and contamination to acceptable ranges in the room to make sure correct testing. To meet that requirement, Peck would wish a devoted wheelchair that could possibly be sanitized and left on-site for lab use solely.

“Our vision from the wheelchair perspective was to just treat it like another piece of equipment,” Baig says. “We already have chairs in the laboratory that we wipe down and clean.”

Peck owned a second wheelchair that he was prepared to maintain on the lab.

“I had a spare one, and I did some real surface-level research to see if converting it would work,” Peck says. Additional analysis and conversations with workers in the Metals Lab revealed that it could. “We got some new wheels, a cushion and a back that are more resistant to chemicals and contamination.”

Conor Peck in the lab apparel

Next, Peck wanted to discover a solution to robe up. While his colleagues put on hazmat fits — coveralls with a hood that Baig likens to a onesie — that possibility would not work for Peck. Baig ordered totally different robe choices for him to attempt, and he selected what labored finest for him: separate jacket, pants, shoe covers and head protecting.

Finally, the lab itself needed to be wheelchair accessible. Before Peck arrived, Baig organized a full evaluation of the workspace so she might start placing in any vital development requests.

“We did a walkthrough and measured all of our aisles to make sure that they were accessible for him,” Baig says. “We put a checklist together that examined every area and made us ask questions like, ‘Is this an issue?’ ‘Is that an issue?'”

Peck is grateful for the efforts of Baig and others he met throughout his onboarding.

New prospects

Peck is the primary and, up to now, solely wheelchair person on workers in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology in Rochester. But he hopes which will change — that he and the Metals Lab have helped pave the way in which for others with comparable seen disabilities to observe in his tracks.

“What they did for me was just really something that I hadn’t experienced before in other positions and other labs,” he says. “How people, without knowing me, cared enough about the situation to make those accommodations for me.”

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