Block Scheduling for Nurses: Expert Tips to Get the Schedule You Want 

If you’re considering working as a traveling nurse, you’re likely weighing the different types of nursing schedules available. If that’s the case, a block scheduling option might be on your list. 

The following article offers a one-stop shop for all the information you need to determine whether block scheduling is for you. It explores block scheduling for nurses and answers the question of how do block schedules work. We’ll also discuss how block scheduling benefits thousands of nurses. In addition, you’ll get some expert tips on creating the kind of schedule that works for your particular life circumstances. 

What is Block Scheduling for Nurses

Typically, when considering what is block scheduling at work, it will look something like this: 

  • You’ll sign on to 12-hour shifts in sequences that could include weekday or weekend days or nights. 
  • You’ll get to choose the shifts that work for you over a specified time. 
  • Depending on the employer, you’ll choose your block schedule monthly, weekly, or quarterly.

To illustrate how this type of work schedule might play out, consider the following nursing block schedule examples:

  • Monday, off
  • Tuesday, a 12-hour shift from 7 am to 7 pm.
  • Wednesday, a 12-hour shift from 7 am to 7 pm.
  • Thursday, off
  • Friday-to-Saturday: a 12-hour shift from 7 pm to 7 am.
  • Sunday, off

This schedule might work well for someone who likes having long weekends and a break after two back-to-back 12-hour shifts. 

Block Scheduling vs Traditional Scheduling

With traditional scheduling, nurses are still expected to work 12-hour shifts, exercising little control over which days they’ll be expected to work. And with travel nursing, you’re dependent on the needs of the hiring facilities. Typically, travel contracts work between 36 to 48 hours a week, depending on the employer. With block scheduling, professional nurses get to choose the work rhythm that benefits them and their families. 

Benefits of a Block Schedule 

This type of schedule benefits nurses and other healthcare professionals in many ways. Each person’s needs are different, so working with a staffing agency that will advocate for block scheduling for nurses is usually considered a big plus when seeking employment opportunities. 

Efficient Organization 

The ability to organize your work around your life — instead of conforming your life to an organization’s work cadence — is another excellent benefit of block scheduling. Getting to decide in advance which days you’ll work provides structure and stability to your schedule. 

One benefit of working a set 36 or 48-hour work week is a reliable source of income. These short-term roles at hospitals, clinics, and other facilities may offer different pay rates depending on location and urgency. Working with a staffing agency that offers competitive pay and transparency will help you maximize your experience as a travel nurse.

Work/Life Balance 

While some people live to work, most of us work to live. Although a few people may live to work, for most of us, work is simply a means to live. With block scheduling, you can embrace the freedom to fully immerse yourself in your new temporary home during your time off. By working for three days and having a full four days off, you can plan a staycation to explore your new city, invite your loved ones to visit, or simply dedicate ample time to taking care of yourself.

Block Scheduling Tips 

Like everything else, block scheduling has challenges. Read on for some tips to help you maximize this self-determinative working opportunity.

Know Your Calendar 

The flexibility of block scheduling comes with the responsibility of keeping track of where you need to be. Whether you’re blocking out your schedule on a weekly or monthly basis, you’ll want to keep track of all your obligations and ensure you mark your work days accordingly. Many healthcare workers use a nurse shift planner to keep track of their schedules.

Account for Weekends/Holidays 

Try as you might, there’s no avoiding having to work on some less-than-desirable days that coincide with major holidays, important weekends, and other must-attend events. It’s important to manage your expectations about your schedule. Travel nurses are there to fill a need at the facility, so they typically work holidays. That allows the staff nurses to take some much-needed time off. 

Since most organizations want to maintain a fair balance among staff, be prepared to do your part. If there are specific holidays you don’t want to work, ask a staffing agency to put those conditions in your contract.

Pick a Quality Staffing Agency 

When looking for the right staffing agency to support your needs, go with an organization like Triage Staffing. We have experience working with traveling nurses looking to maximize their block scheduling opportunities. You should spend your time working your shift and giving essential care, not constantly looking for work and dealing with red tape. 

Find the Best Travel Nurse Jobs at Triage Staffing

At Triage Staffing, we understand what it takes to find the best travel nurse jobs nationwide. Traveling for work has its challenges, especially in the demanding nursing profession. 

As a premiere staffing agency, we are committed to getting to know you and your unique needs so you can find the best position. Check out our travel nurse jobs, and get in touch to see how we can help you take the work out of finding your next opportunity.