Question About Hospital Scheduling

Updated | Posted
by cameron5575 cameron5575, BSN, RN Member

Has 1 years experience.


Hi there,

I'm a student. I'll be graduating soon and will be applying to various positions in the coming weeks. I feel silly asking this question as it's probably something I should have known eons ago but how exactly rigid is hospital scheduling? For example, if I have a commitment every Wednesday night, would I still be able to be hired to a med-surg floor? Any other day would work fine (assuming I get hired to work nights or evening shift as a new grad) however I would not be available Wednesday night. Do hospitals expect employees to be available to work any of the 7 days of the week? Or are nurses allowed to have a specific day where they can't work?

Thanks in advance!

MunoRN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 10 years experience. 8,058 Posts

It depends, individual job postings are usually for an already defined schedule.  When there are multiple positions for the same shift being filled at once there may be some room to reorganize the schedules of positions based on preferences.  

But either way keep in mind that part of the deal is that the hospital may need to rearrange your schedule every once in a while, which may include working a Wednesday even if that's not part of your normal schedule.


Specializes in New Critical care NP, Critical care, Med-surg, LTC. Has 10 years experience. 4 Articles; 2,290 Posts

It's probably going to be specific to the hospital programs to which you apply, but asking for flexibility as a new grad employee isn't always the best way to get started. Not knowing what your commitment is on Wednesday nights, it might also impact the situation, but hospitals are generally going to prefer new grads that come without conditions. These days, however, hospitals are becoming a little more flexible as they fight to hire a workforce to keep up with demand. good luck. 

SilverBells, BSN

Specializes in Rehab/Nurse Manager. Has 7 years experience. 1,014 Posts

I would think it would be dependent upon the hospital or even the specific unit you are applying for.  Your request doesn't seem unreasonable since I can't imagine there are a ton of people wanting Wednesday nights off (I would think more people would be aiming for Fridays, weekends, or Mondays), but again, it depends on the needs of the hospital/unit.  Some may automatically schedule you for Wednesday nights off in exchange for working a different day, while others may be okay with you taking the night off if you can find your own replacement or trade with a coworker.  It may also be helpful to consider other departments/units than med-surg in the event one of them could offer you more flexibility. 

Good luck and congratulations on your upcoming graduation!  


cameron5575, BSN, RN

Has 1 years experience. 47 Posts

@MunoRN @JBMmom @SilverBells Thank you so much for all of your helpful replies. And in response to JBMmom, sorry I didn't specify - I have a religious meeting on that night. 

Thanks again!

Sour Lemon

Has 12 years experience. 5,016 Posts

Along with what the others have said, orientation for new graduates is typically several months long. You may be following someone else's schedule during that time.