Transform speaker 2012

To Just Put a Hand on Your Bare Shoulder, Means the World

Guest Post by Senior University of Minnesota-Rochester Student,UMR Student Writer Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith


Transform 2012 SpeakerRight from the beginning as Garrison Keillor stepped foot on the stage the audience knew that his speech was going to be far different from the rest. He wore a nice black suit and red tie, accompanied with bright red, worn out sneakers. He stood out from the rest of the speakers at the Transform Conference, catching the attention of the attendees with his wardrobe choices.

Keillor opened his mouth and spoke with ease and simplicity, pacing slowly across the stage speaking from the mind and heart. He had no script, prompt, or PowerPoint to accompany him, almost like he was going to speak about whatever came into his mind. He was the last speaker of the conference closing it out with questions about health care, the future, and what he has learned through his life. He spoke about Mayo Clinic and the experience it provides to their patients, stating proudly, “[Mayo has] international experience with small town manners.”

Transform speaker 2012

Click on Photo to see Garrison Keillor's Talk

For those who may not be aware of who Garrison Keillor is, he is the host of a classic Minnesota public radio show, A Prairie Home Companion. The hoarse, monotone voice and dry sense of humor Keillor possesses can be recognized anywhere. He is a Minnesota native; born, raised, and currently still living in the state. Mayo Clinic is intertwined with Keillor’s life and medical experiences, as with mostly any Minnesota resident. Keillor discussed how grateful he was for the cheer and happiness of hospital nurses as he laid in the hospital bed less than an hour away from his home.

One resounding statement Keillor made in his presentation was about the kindness and expression of humanity found at Mayo Clinic, different from any experience he has ever had in medical care and treatment elsewhere. “But, besides repairing my Mitral Valve, it also gave me an experience, it gave me a crucial experience. The kindnesses of extremely competent people… and in this unreal world to have another human being touch you with some feeling, just put a hand on your bare shoulder, means the world. To know that we are all people... the humanity, the kindnesses in the way things are done.” Mayo Clinic and the Center for Innovation are places that generate these personal touches in healthcare that provide patients with hope and connection.