we use self-scheduling...& have for years!
all are on 12 hour shifts.......7a to 7p to 7a
we have a few basic rules: full-timers work every other weekend.... half the "major" holidays/year...That's it! VSP/pool work one weekend a month....and 1/4 the holidays! The RN assigned to coordinate the schedules is "the final word," however.
We are given a blank, four-week schedule about four weeks in advance...we are given a week or two to pencil in our preferences (w=work, x=off, R=we reallly, really need that specific date off...like kids are in a play or court or anniversary or nursing conference) At the bottom of each day's column is the # of RNs needed to staff that shift (we try to run 12-14 on weekdays and 10-12 on weekends) so, if there are already four nurses putting in special requests for a certain day off, it would be a good idea to volunteer to work that day if you can.
In L&D, we work so closely together that we very rarely have much difficulty getting all the days covered. If, at the end of a week the days are still way "lopsided" the scheduling RN makes a few phone calls requesting people switch...& has the right to "assign" if necessary...which happens very, very rarely!
good luck! It's nice to be in control of your own schedule! Haze