During high school, Taylor Melhorn’s goal was to join the Marine Corps. However, right after graduation, she took a job in Jefferson Regional’s Environmental Services department, just to have a backup plan. Taylor worked hard, and before long, the Transport department reached out to her about joining their team, which she did. Then, a registrar position became available in Admissions. Taylor moved to that position and worked there until she was approached about an Information Systems position for Ambulatory Surgery, working for Amanda Scott. Taylor accepted that position in 2016, still not knowing what she wanted to do with her future, but she found a cheerleader in Scott.
“Amanda encouraged me to go to school, to start going to college,” Taylor remembers. “She said ‘You don’t have to know what you want to do yet, just go ahead and start going and get your basics.’ She pushed me for a while before I finally made the decision to go ahead and start.” In 2017, Taylor began slowly taking some classes at SEARK College, and along the way decided she wanted to do something in the field of Information Technology.
“I continued to get my basics, and once I decided that’s what I wanted to do, it kind of made it easier to decide where I wanted to earn that degree,” said Taylor. “In 2020, I started at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. They were willing to work with my work schedule, and through the whole process, Amanda Scott worked with my schedule, too. I was able to come in early or work through lunch, things like that in order to get the hours I needed. I continued to work my 80 hours and go to school – there have been plenty of times I’ve run down the road to take a class for an hour, and that would be my lunch break.” Taylor graduated May 13, 2022 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Information Systems, concentrating on Cyber Security.
“Right now, my job consists of bringing up new clinics, basically making computer programs personalized to fit each practice. For example, we recently brought up Oncology and Radiation, so we’re building order sets for all the orders they might use such as low dose CT, chemo, things like that. We’re making patient documentation programs and providing troubleshooting for the clinics, whether it’s a technical issue or something with a specific program, to try and help before sending them to a tech.”
In addition to Amanda Scott, Taylor has also found inspiration and support from other coworkers, including Network Engineer Leon Voltz. “Leon has been my one of my mentors here. He helped me so much with school, he also made it possible for me to call him from home when I had questions, so he has been a big role model for me. And now that I’ve finished school, he’s encouraged me to get certifications. He always says, ‘Your degree proves you have the ability to learn, but getting a certification proves that you HAVE learned.’ So every time I think about it, I hear Leon telling me that! He’s given me lots of advice and lots of things to think about.”
Despite all the staff support, Taylor benefitted greatly from Jefferson Regional’s tuition reimbursement program, which provides financial assistance to employees who attend school to further their career. “When I heard about the program, I talked with Human Resources to get all the details,” Taylor remembers. “The application paperwork is actually available on the website, which was great. You have to have everything turned in and approved 30 days before the semester starts, and you have to agree to work for Jefferson Regional after getting your degree. Then, as long as you maintain a C average, you’re good.”
“I think a lot of people don’t know how helpful tuition assistance is.” Taylor says. “It does kind of sound scary at first – ‘I’m signing a contract with this organization saying I will work for you if you help me pay for school.’ Plus, it does have to come out of your pocket at first, but you get that money back and you can use it the next semester.” In fact, Taylor was so grateful that she wrote to hospital administration to let them know how appreciative she was.
Taylor was recently promoted and is enjoying the chance to learn everything she can about the field of Information Systems. She is also preparing for a different kind of promotion: Taylor and her husband Zach are expecting their first child, a baby boy expected to arrive in September. After trusting her instincts along the way, Taylor is finally where she wants to be. “It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do, but I didn’t waste time or money on school until I was ready. That’s another reason I’m so blessed to have Jefferson Regional, because they’ve allowed me the time to figure it out.”