Nursing schedules

  1. Question: What are typical nurse schedules like? I don't so much mean 8/10/12 hour, day or night shifts, what I mean is do nurses have fixed schedules? I am mainly speaking about hospitals, but lets say you graduate school and are hired into an evening shift, are your days off the same throughout your enitre career at that hospital?

    Do nurses bid for schedules? Or can you pretty much count on the same shift with the same days off unless you initiate a change to your own schedule? I accept the fact that nurses work all hours of the day and night, 7 days a week, holidays or not, but can nurses hold fairly consistent schedules throughout the duration of their employment understanding that shifts and days off will never be the typical Monday through Friday, 9-5 schedule? Despite my username, I would be especially interested in hearing from anyone who works in a hospital in northern New Jersey... thanks!
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   Tweety
    Most of the time I've pretty much had a consistent schedule with the same days off over time. We do self-scheduling, meaning we sign up for the days we want to work and if it works out for the floor we get what we sign up for. Sometimes in order to balance the schedule and meet the needs of the unit, we have to be flexible.
  4. by   TazziRN
    Depends on the facility. I always had a set schedule but I knew nurses who didn't....they never knew from schedule to schedule what their days off would be. The only thing they could count on was which weekends they would have off, because in nursing that's every other weekend.
  5. by   StrwbryblndRN
    We have our schedules for 4 weeks at a time and usually know what we are going to work a minimum of two weeks in advance for those four weeks.
    I opt for weekends only due to children in school. A couple of other nurses do too. Because of this some nurses do not have to work weekends. My manager has even stated that we have more help on weekends than weekdays. (this is specifically overnight nurses)
  6. by   luvmyboys
    I'm getting ready to start my first nursing job since graduating in August and my schedule (after orientation) will go something like this:

    fri-sat-sun ON
    mon-tues-OFF
    wed-thurs-ON
    fri-sat-sun-OFF
    mon-tues-ON

    and so on. It's a regular but rotating schedule - one week I work 24 hours and the next is 32.
  7. by   Arizonarn
    On night shift in one facility (8 hr shifts) we worked 6, off 2. It was by a concensus vote by the entire night shift. While the schedule meant we worked 5 weekends in a row (the down side), the two weekends off were both 3-day weekends, we could schedule doctor and dental appointments far in advance, and by scheduling 5 days off between weekends off we could get two weeks' vacation using 1 weeks vacation time (the up side). As a traveler, I found a wide mixture of rotations. In a hospital in Maine, working 12 hr shifts, we worked three, off 2, worked 2, off 3. The 3-day stretches were the weekends (F, Sa, Su). Working 8 hr shifts, I have worked schedules that give every-other-weekend off, with given weekdays off; very predictable. I have also worked in hospitals where we were scheduled a month in advance, but the schedule itself could change month to month. At a facility in my home town, some nurses work weekends and other never work weekends; it is a choice and one knows upon hire to which schedule he/she is assigned.
  8. by   Arizonarn
    On night shift in one facility (8 hr shifts) we worked 6, off 2. It was by a concensus vote by the entire night shift. While the schedule meant we worked 5 weekends in a row (the down side), the two weekends off were both 3-day weekends, we could schedule doctor and dental appointments far in advance, and by scheduling 5 days off between weekends off we could get two weeks' vacation using 1 weeks vacation time (the up side). As a traveler, I found a wide mixture of rotations. In a hospital in Maine, working 12 hr shifts, we worked three, off 2, worked 2, off 3. The 3-day stretches were the weekends (F, Sa, Su). Working 8 hr shifts, I have worked schedules that give every-other-weekend off, with given weekdays off; very predictable. I have also worked in hospitals where we were scheduled a month in advance, but the schedule itself could change month to month. At a facility in my home town, some nurses work weekends and other never work weekends; it is a choice and one knows upon hire to which schedule he/she is assigned. The worse schedule for night shifters is the one that provides only 1 night off at a time; murder on the sleep cycle. Also murder on the sleep cycle is the "mandatory nurse meeting" held at 1pm routinely. How about "mandatory nurse meeting" that rotates through the shifts, so that sometimes dayshifters or evening shifters have to interrupt their sleep to attend ?

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