Somebody's Gotta Do It: Hospital staff coordinator

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Imagine having to coordinate work schedules for 600 employees at a business that never closes. It's challenging, stressful and it keeps staffing coordinator Tiffanie Hayter on her toes.

The dreaded call-in. Any working person can relate to the call, whether you're on the receiving end, or the one having to call in and notify your supervisor that you won't be coming to work. It's a call that can send the stress level up.

Just ask Tiffanie, staffing coordinator for Memorial Health System. She has to juggle the work schedule for more than 600 people.  "I'm hustling trying to get that shift covered, calling, I may call anywhere from 10 to 15 people to try to cover that shift," said Tiffanie.

In anticipation of that inevitable phone call, Tiffanie says staying organized is a must. That means the first thing she does when she arrives and before she leaves is do a staff head count.  "I get in around 6 and the first thing I do is do a head count.  Which is, I'm going through making sure all of the staff is accounted for.  Any call-ins, anything like that, I'll go ahead and find staff to replace those so that we can make sure that the floor is covered."

The reasons for missing work vary. Ironically, says Director Norma Sanford, the biggest problem with employee absenteeism is childcare, "because we have so many mothers and when their children are ill they have responsible at home, home responsibilities that we have to assist them with."

Absences are especially high on Mondays. But, the highest absenteeism occurs on "payday Friday."  "I truly dread pay day weekend because I know that she's going to be stressed and I'm going to be stressed because we're going to have call-ins, we know that," said Sanford.

Having a person who is calm, has a level head, handles stress well, is able to handle multiple tasks and good organization and planning skills are a must.  When Tiffanie's not on the phone with an ailing employee, she's caught in the middle with managers.  "I feel like I'm a pin-pong ball sometime, but we have to just do what we have to do.  If it's the nurse manager, I have to do whatever I have to do to make her comfortable, to make the staff comfortable, so that we can take care of the patients."  Dealing with worker shortage, employees calling in sick, personality conflicts, personal schedule conflicts are all just part of the job of staffing coordinator.  Sanford says Tiffanie is definitely the right person for that job.

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