Tia Spears brings a warm smile and an empathetic personality to clinics in her role as Patient Services Representative.
On one of Tia Spears’ first days as a patient services representative at MU Health Care’s Pediatric Urology Clinic, she asked a patient’s mother for her insurance card during the registration. The woman had forgotten her card and was getting frustrated. That’s when Spears used a smile and a few kind words to turn a tense situation into a chance to bond with someone having a bad day.
“I said to him, ‘We’re asking for these things because we want to make sure everything is okay on your end so you don’t get a surprise bill, but you can bring it to the next appointment. It’s not no big deal,” Spears said. “She ended up telling me what was going on in her life and her family and why she was so upset. Being able to talk to her about it helped me realize that’s why I am here.
Spears, who grew up in Steele, a small town in Missouri Bootheel, knew she wanted to be a doctor after watching videos posted by Sandra Lee, MD, a Californian dermatologist with an unforgettable nickname.
“I started watching ‘Dr. Pimple Popper’ on YouTube with my mom, and I was like, ‘I want to do this,'” Spears laughed.
While a medical student at the University of Missouri, Spears landed a job with MU Health Care as a Patient Services Representative (PSR). After graduating in May 2021, she decided to stay on as a PSR to gain more experience in the healthcare field before applying to medical school.
As PSR, she is usually the first person to greet patients in a clinic. She registers them, answers all questions and enters their information into the computer system. Spears works in the float pool, which means you won’t find her at the same clinic every day.
“I’m learning a lot, and being in the float pool, I’m going to different clinics and learning even more,” Spears said. “I am a person who likes to try a bit of everything. I will definitely go back to school at some point, but I want to know where I can see myself working. Can I see myself in neurology or psychiatry? Working with the doctors, nurses and patients at these clinics helps me know it’s not out of reach. Also, I love being in Colombia.
Tiffany Nash, the clinic’s float pool supervisor, praised Spears for her work ethic, her ability to adapt to new environments and the empathy she has for patients.
“Tia brings this sense of peace and calm and comfort,” Nash said. “She worked at the drive-thru COVID-19 testing site when I was a supervisor there, and if we had a busy time or had difficult patients – because nobody likes having their noses swabbed – she was really a broadcaster. I’m so grateful to have her in the float pool and I think she’s going to go on to do great things.