Making a consistent staff schedule at an assisted living facility can be a challenge. Reliable and adequate care is paramount for a successful long-term facility. The staff at an assisted living facility is present to help residents manage their daily living activities, such as dressing, bathing and eating. These needs cannot go unmet, so a scheduler plays an important role in this setting to ensure residents receive proper care.
A high degree of professionalism and ability to handle a stressful environment is important for an assisted living staff scheduler. A scheduler needs to have good communication skills as well because she'll regularly interact with various staff members about the schedule. An organized nature serves an assisted living staff scheduler, as she will calculate hours and determine how the puzzle of the schedule fits together. In addition, a long-term care facility is home to its residents, so a scheduler should be friendly and welcoming as she interacts with them.
The Big-Picture Duties
An assisted living staff scheduler sets the initial calendar for the week or month at a facility and makes sure all of the times are filled accurately and that there are no gaps. In doing so, schedulers honor the collective bargaining agreements that are sometimes formed when staff members are hired. Bargaining agreements set the tone for determining how many staff members can work on each shift and are made to ensure enough nurses and medical personnel are available to meet the needs of patients. Depending on the facility, factors like seniority and rank can play a role in which staff member is tasked with which responsibility or who is given certain shifts. In addition, a certain number of registered nurses and licensed practical nurses are required on late shifts, and schedulers take ranking into consideration when covering nights.
The Day-to-Day Tasks
After schedules are set, an assisted living scheduler has the challenge of making sure shifts are covered so the residents do not suffer due to staff absenteeism. Schedulers work defensively and offensively when it comes to coping with call-ins. For example, if a scheduler anticipates there could be absenteeism, such as around holidays or during a cold and flu season, he would think ahead about how to cope with this issue. Schedulers also handle administrative duties like answering emails and preparing reports pertaining to their jobs.
A staff scheduler is typically required to have education beyond high school. You will likely find that at least an associate degree is required, with a bachelor's degree preferred. Related experience in a medical atmosphere and a background in scheduling may also be favorable. There is usually no specific certification required. Any experience working in a retirement or assisted living community is also a plus.
- Long-Term Living Magazine: Staff Scheduling Strategies for Better Care and Better Business
- McKnight’s Long-Term Care News & Assisted Living: How Windgate Healthcare Resolved Every Eldercare Provider’s Worst Nightmare
- The Urgency Room: Medical Provider Staff Scheduler
- G & G Living Centers, Inc.: Activity Center Coordinator/Scheduler
- National Nurses United - Washington Hospital Center Nurses: Collective Bargaining Agreement
- UCSF Nursing: Six Long Pediatric Acute Care Unit Staffing Guidelines
- Siri Stafford/Digital Vision/Getty Images