Britney O’Neal: Craving to Learn
When Britney O’Neal first joined the Information Systems (IS) department at Hattiesburg Clinic in 2018, she was relatively new to the world of computer troubleshooting.
“When I got in the IS department, I had never messed with the inside of a computer,” says O’Neal. “I’ve used computers, things like that, but as far as working on them or fixing them, I had never done it. ”
The 31-year-old mother of three says her foray into the tech world started when she “accidentally fell into working in cell phones” years ago.
After six years in the telecommunications industry, O’Neal’s baby boy faced a life-threatening medical situation that required her to switch to a more routine weekday schedule. That’s when she landed a job at Hattiesburg Clinic’s Account Services department, where she worked for the next couple of years.
In 2018, she joined the IS Help Desk staff, where she was able to revisit her love of technology and use her years of experience in telecommunications. O’Neal says while there’s a lot to it, the mission of the Help Desk is pretty straightforward.
“If a computer breaks, if a printer breaks, it’s our responsibility to fix it,” she explains.
O’Neal says that includes any technology needs at any of the clinic’s numerous satellite locations throughout its 19-county service area, as well as overseeing ongoing clinic-wide upgrades.
“If it has to do with a computer, we pretty much do it.” She says there are two things she enjoys most about the job.
“I love meeting new people. I love the challenge of the tech side of things, because there’s always something new, always something to figure out.”
O’Neal compared it to the human body in that when a body part or organ doesn’t work properly, a physician must investigate the problem and fix it. It’s the same concept by which the IS Help Desk operates.
“I love…figuring all that out and knowing what the piece means and why it exists.”
Meanwhile, O’Neal says her sassy persona and take-charge attitude is what she’s known for in her department. She adds that her fellow Help Desk/IS team members are very supportive.
“I see these people more than I see anyone at my own house. I’ve grown very close.”
She jokes that her coworkers stay on her good side with one of her favorite guilty indulgences: sweets.
“I could eat a whole container of chocolate chip cookie dough. I’m all about the sweets,” she says. “I could be gone and when I come back there are cookies or cakes on my desk…I just eat it.”
As the tech world continues to grow, so does O’Neal’s craving to learn. She says she’s excited to see the clinic take on new technology in its day-to-day functions, such as iPads and tablets. It gives her a chance to exercise the part of her brain that thrives on investigating the problem and how to fix it.
And if a cake or cookies are waiting for her at her desk when she returns, well then, that’s just a sweet bonus.