no regular schedule


I'm about 5 months into my first nursing job on a monitored bed floor in an acute care hospital and am growing discouraged by the lack of quality of life and stress & strain on my family by not being able to plan anything with them. Though I'm thankful to be employed as a new grad with good pay & good benefits, I have no predictable schedule other than that I work 12-hr nights. Most of the time my schedule isn't released until less than 2 weeks before I am required to work. My manager is a pleasant person, but he has delegated work scheduling to one of the night nurses and doesn't like to confront people or get involved after he has delegated a task (by his own admission). The scheduling nurse is not receptive to my requests to be placed on one of the two night teams, so I can know more predictably when I will be working. Instead I am being used to fill in wherever needed, which means if someone on one team wants a night off, then I am switched to that night, back & forth. I am scheduled to work overtime without being asked, and my schedule is changed without anyone telling me. I literally have to check every time I go in to work to make sure that I haven't been "written in" to the book for the next night without any notice. When I have spoken to my manager about this, he says that it's hard to cover all of the scheduling needs and that "next month it will probably get better" because so-and-so will be back from being out sick/having surgery/on vacation/on family leave/etc (endless problem list & excuses - I don't see any end to this).

Does anyone else reading here have experience with this problem and/or can offer me some constructive suggestions?

Jules A, MSN

8,863 Posts

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

The adding of differerent days would be a bit much but all in all this doesn't sound unusual. We are scheduled based on our shift but we don't know which days we will work and ours only comes out a week or so early. Unfortunately imvho your family will have to adjust to the fact that this is they way your job is right now and be thankful for all the good parts of it you listed.


985 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg, ICU, educator.

welcome to nursing dear!

RNperdiem, RN

4,581 Posts

Has 14 years experience.

Sigh. I don't see any easy fix for this problem.

Self-scheduling is an underestimated perk. The schedule book is laid out for staff to fill in their schedule with basic rules of required numbers of weekends and holidays. There must be a certain number of nurses for each shift, and it is left up to the nurses to have the schedule balanced.

Pediatric Critical Care Columnist / Guide

NotReady4PrimeTime, RN

16 Articles; 7,358 Posts

Specializes in NICU, PICU, PCVICU and peds oncology. Has 25 years experience.

Self scheduling can be very complicated. On the surface it seems pretty simple and straight-forward, but when you throw in staff mix and specialty teams, it can be a nightmare. My unit does it and no one is really happy with it. I know my schedule always ends up very different from what I submitted and I often find myself the only senior nurse out of 15. Our nights and weekends are still terribly short, despite clearly stated rules. I'd rather have a fixed rotation but none of the ones designed by our manager for my FTE are really workable if you want to have a life, so I self-schedule in the hope of ending up with something I can live with.

NeoNurseTX, RN

1,803 Posts

Specializes in NICU Level III.

We self schedule and sometimes the schedule isn't out until two days before the start of the next schedule. Same story with last place I worked. I joined the weekend program so now I don't even have to bother with it and that's nice.


78 Posts

We self schedule and so far I haven't had anything to complain about. I work 3 12's, mostly nights, and try to only do 3 in a row on my weekend which is every 3rd. As long as I get my schedule requests in on time, I usually end up with pretty much what I want. If I end up with too many day shifts,it isn't hard to find someone who wants them. Our schedule comes out 8 weeks at a time about 4 weeks before it starts. Self scheduling works for my unit.

Specializes in Oncology, Med-Surg.

my manager does the schedule. im a new grad RN hired for call-in rotating shifts. i work mostly 40 hours a week, 8 hour shifts, mostly days and evening. it seems unfair but i just suck it cuz i have no seniority and im a new grad. i never get to see my schedule, by the time i see the draft i dont even have time to plan my life, because the my manager will post the final schedule. sometimes i work every weekend and it hard for bonding and spending time with family.

oh well welcome to nursing. hopefull you can always switch with the other nurses on the floor if you have any other obligation/commitments. if not try to let you manager know in advance. hopefully she is not the devil and will let you off.

Hoozdo, ADN

1,555 Posts

Specializes in ICU, Research, Corrections. Has 15 years experience.

I work 12 hour nights and have self-scheduling also. My schedule often comes back with me NOT getting the nights I asked for. As long as I get 3 nights in a row - I consider that good.

We can schedule certain days that we absolutely can not work. I use this feature to schedule doctor appointments.


263 Posts

Same boat and it sucks. Just started my first job a few weeks ago and I dont get my schedule until a day or a couple days before I work. Example- worked yesterday(friday) was told I will beon by myself for the first time on monday. Didnt get any sort of schedule for the following days after that. Sure i will find out on Monday whether or not I am supposed to work tuesday- I guess well see. But definitly gonna bring this issue up on monday. I have a small child that I need to arrange care for after daycare if I am going to be working, and it gets hard to do on the drop of a dime, especially after havin to call upon everyone for the last few weeks. Hang in there. Hopefully itll work out- I think two weeks is a good enough time frame- and if you need a day off then you should be able to notify them ahead of schedule, more than the two weeks notice they give you- so they can arrange for anotehr person to work your shift. But if thats not happening Id speak up, and I am normally not one to- i usually sit back and keep quiet and take it, but thats how you get taken advantage of. Yes you are a nurse, but you are also a human being and many other things outside of work. And you do have other things going on besides clearing your 24 hr/7day a week schedule to work for 40hrs/1 week. Compromise is necessary on both ends.

I am in the same frustrating situation and I just want to ask the senior nurses and/or managers on this forum what is the rationale for not having a set schedule? We are educated health care professionals and are at the mercy of our schedules. I feel like nursing owns me.


44 Posts

Well I guess i'm not the only one with a lousy schedule! The schedules are posted for a month (new schedule is only put up 1-2 days before it starts!) I really dislike this current schedule..I work 8hr night shifts 5 days a week and somehow I have managed to get EVERY weekend and I have no more than 1 day off at a time! Plus this thanksgiving week i'm working 6 days (still have my regular 5 next week though!). The schedules don't even make sense, one night there will be 6 nurses the next night 3....leaving us under or overstaffed!

I am a full time staff member and when I was hired I was told that I would have to work my scheduled weekend every other week..but apparently only day shift has a set rotating schedule...nights is a whole other animal. Why don't they set a schedule...we are fully staffed on nights!

lol, I feel a little better after venting :)

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