April 6, 2017

Brumbelow’s calm nature helps keep busy clinic rolling

Taylor Brumbelow has a gift for quickly putting people at ease.

Taylor Brumbelow, a patient services representative at the Vanderbilt Rheumatology Clinic in Franklin, is an expert at putting smiles on people’s faces. (photo by Anne Rayner)

Editor’s note —
This is the fifth in a series of profiles on some of Vanderbilt’s most dedicated employees. All VUMC faculty and staff are encouraged to attend Celebrate — The difference YOU make every day on April 20 or 21 at Vanderbilt’s Memorial Gymnasium. Please sign up for one of three sessions at VUMCcelebrate.com.

Taylor Brumbelow has a gift for quickly putting people at ease.

Whether it’s his calm presence, easy smile, unfailing politeness or eagerness to help, Brumbelow has a way of making the people around him feel like everything’s going to work out just fine.

As a patient services representative (PSR) at the Vanderbilt Rheumatology Clinic in Franklin, that ability comes in handy and is valued deeply by the clinic’s patients and Brumbelow’s co-workers.

He and the other PSRs are the first people patients interact with when coming in for an appointment. He checks them in and out, verifies their documentation and insurance, takes copays, makes sure they have the appropriate referrals and forms, schedules follow-up visits, reschedules appointments and basically does whatever is necessary to help a patient’s visit go smoothly.

“I’ll get them some water or coffee if they want it, help them connect to the clinic’s Wi-Fi. Basically anything I can do to help. I like making the patients happy, and the nurses and doctors like when the patients go in happy,” Brumbelow said.

Patients coming to the Rheumatology Clinic are dealing with conditions such as rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, lupus and various autoimmune disorders — chronic, long-term issues that can test their patience and wear them down. Sometimes a patient may not be in the best of moods when they come in, and that’s where Brumbelow’s easygoing, positive nature shines.

“Taylor has a kind, welcoming presence that puts people at ease as soon as they walk in the door,” said Meg Wayss, MBA, the clinic’s manager. “We have an elderly patient who is a bit short tempered with everyone except Taylor. Something about his voice, his manner, the way he interacts just connects with her and her mood improves.

“His demeanor helps make people calm, and it’s amazing to watch him defuse a potentially tense situation. There’s a reason that we have him at the first window in the reception area — we want him to be the first one patients talk to,” Wayss said.

When it comes to interacting with patients, however, it isn’t always about easing a stressful situation.

“Oh a lot of our elderly women patients just love Taylor,” said co-worker Kim Crockett, pre-appointment coordinator. “They think he’s just the cutest thing.”

With a slight blush Brumbelow admits that yes, he’s had his cheeks pinched more than a few times.

Brumbelow grew up in Middle Tennessee, mostly, and now lives in Thompson Station with his girlfriend and their three cats. In addition to movies, video games and spending time with friends, he enjoys playing the guitar, which he started learning in middle school.

He graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 2015 with a degree in aerospace administration, and he brings an analytical perspective to his role in helping the clinic run smoothly.

“If Taylor sees something not working right or that could be improved, whether it’s a process or a system, his engineering mind kicks in and he figures out a way to make it better,” Wayss said. “He really just loves to help, whether it’s his primary responsibility or not.”

He’s also more than willing to take on other roles outside his PSR duties, such as serving as a backup to the billing coordinator, helping to train new staff members, fixing computer and printer problems and hanging holiday decorations.

Taylor Brumbelow, center, and his co-workers at the Vanderbilt Rheumatology Clinic in Franklin strive to make their workplace a positive and supportive environment. (photo by Anne Rayner)

Brumbelow is among the younger staff members at the clinic, which on an average day sees approximately 100 patients.

They’re a tight-knit group that celebrates holidays, has a special birthday gift program and arranges contests to see who can generate the most steps on their fitness trackers. They genuinely like and care about each other and embody Vanderbilt’s commitment to teamwork and to putting patients and families first.

They’re like a family. And like many families, they enjoy giving each other a hard time.

This past Christmas, Brumbelow dressed up as Santa and spent the day having his picture taken with patients. It was such a hit that his co-workers said they wanted him to do something similar for Valentine’s Day, complete with heart-shaped bow and wearing a white diaper.

“Um, no,” Brumbelow laughed. “That’s where I had to draw the line.”