Why the Ultimate Diplomat? Because, in the words of Daniele Vare, "Diplomacy is the art of letting someone have your way!"
We recognize and respect the need for Schedulers and the skills they must poses to survive in the position long-term. Regardless of the scheduling system a Group uses, here are some of the most important qualities in a physician scheduler and why are they important to the position:
1. Great Communication Skills
This includes being a good listener and “first seeking to understand” as Steven Covey would say. Schedulers constantly communicate with Physicians, the Physician’s office staff, other clinics and possibly the hospital Medical Staff Office or Emergency Department to coordinate the on-call schedule assignments. They are also communicating internally with various managers, office staff and leaders to ensure on-call and other coverage.This is truly a position where the person must have a mature, balanced personality with a dose of can-do attitude. Mess up the human-factor, and there goes the cooperation essential to get the job done.
The on-call coverage is always changing; a sort of “never-ending” job. Since the Scheduler is also responsible for noticing potential scheduling issues and communicating them to administrators, he needs to stay on top of the situation. He needs to know the individual Providers, their preferences, and the Group’s scheduling rules extremely well. Getting along with everyone and knowing whom to call for a favor requires more than a “dial and pray” relationship.
2. Flexibility, Tolerance, and Negotiation
Physicians understand that as much as they would like assignments to be written in stone when there is a change in
The Scheduler needs to understand this too, and should be reviewing the scheduling process with the Physicians at least annually and when a new Physician is recruited.
Master Schedulers know the most efficient way to cover a schedule “shuffle” with a minimum amount of “pain” to get it done. “S@*#t” happens, and the On-Call Scheduler needs to step into the breach with grace, sometimes taking the heat of distressed Providers.
3. Positive and Proactive Attitude
On-Call Schedulers also need to be familiar with acceptable lead times for collecting information that precludes scheduling On Call assignments, so they can work efficiently. They need to be comfortable with gently confronting other professionals who may be Physicians or Managers “above their pay-grade”. Keeping the on-call scheduled covered may mean saying “No” to vacation requests... or calling in favors, not an easy conversation to have!
4. Mature Sense of Responsibility
Physician-owners trust their Schedulers with a vital part of their business. Possible EMTALA violations, family/work-life issues, a sense of fair-play regarding the on-call schedule... these impact a Physician’s decision to stay or leave the Group. Replacing a disgruntled Physician is costly in time, money, staff patience, and patient satisfaction. This position is really important and while it doesn't require someone who is great at the computer, it does require someone who understands the high level of responsibility and can take ownership of the position.
5. Compassion for Physicians AND Passion for Healthcare
6. “Ownership” Attitude vs “Employee” Attitude
Those who ask “is there a better way” should be encouraged to explore options to improve On Call schedule results, whether it be reviewing the Group’s rules, taking leadership classes, or investigating on-call software solutions. When properly encouraged, your Master Scheduler can be a real asset in driving the change needed for successful implementation of agreed-upon improvements.
The overall takeaway is that a Master Scheduler is a vital link to on-call scheduling success that cannot be supplied in a software package. We recognize the importance of