Portrait of Kayla Taylor
Kayla Taylor is supervisor of pediatric scheduling.
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People of the U: Kayla Taylor

Published on Wednesday, September 2, 2020

By: Ruth Cummins

Whether it’s an annual check-up with a pediatrician or the first in a series of chemotherapy treatments, requests for appointments to Children’s of Mississippi caregivers keep schedulers’ lines constantly hopping.

Kayla Taylor oversees 19 schedulers whose job isn’t just to juggle who can see what child and when. Their mission is to be sensitive, empathetic and gentle with parents whose little ones might be in a fight for their lives.

“I tell my staff to put themselves into the parents’ shoes,” said Taylor, supervisor of pediatric scheduling. “What if this was your child or grandchild? How would you want to be treated over the phone, or given directions to campus, especially if you had never been here before?”

Pediatric schedulers arrange appointments for almost all pediatric divisions, including surgery, the children’s hospital, and outreach and specialty clinics across the state. “We have many outside providers who refer their patients,” Taylor said. “We also have providers inside UMMC who put in referrals, and we reach out to those patients.”

Schedulers are trained to address whatever arises during a phone call. “We have to keep a calm tone when giving directions,” Taylor said. “We might have a bad connection on the line. The parent might have an infant screaming. We still need to give them information that they need.”

Sometimes, conversations are about tough subjects. “We schedule patients for the Children’s Cancer Center and for the Safe Center,” Taylor said. The Safe Center provides services to children who have suffered abuse.

“A lot of the information we must get from parents can be sensitive, but we need it in order to schedule appointments appropriately,” Taylor said. “We must be sympathetic and empathetic, and to remember: How would we want to be treated?”

Taylor “is such a wonderful person and consummate team player,” said Elizabeth Beasley, director of ambulatory access for Children’s of Mississippi. “She is extremely invested in our Children’s scheduling team, and in giving the schedulers the tools and knowledge and direction needed to support our patients and parents calling for appointments with Children’s of Mississippi providers.  

“She knows it’s just as important to cultivate the quality and soft skills of a scheduler as it is for them to be diligent at making the correct appointment and ensuring we pre-register patients accurately,” Beasley said. “Kayla instills her passion into all of our schedulers, and her dedication is truly inspiring.”  

A married mom of three small children, Taylor lives in Brandon and is very active in her church, Daniel Lake Memorial in Jackson. She loves to bake and cook, but says that her family and her mission at UMMC take up most of her time.

“There’s always someone on the phone,” she said of pediatric scheduling. “I had to jump in on the phones yesterday because things were so busy. That’s what I’m here for.

“That’s the mentality that I try to relate to our schedulers. That’s the kind of person we need here at UMMC.”

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