Many career paths require professionals to work a rigid schedule with little room for modification. The healthcare industry is no different, and many clinicians are bound by the work schedules set by management.
However, there are exceptions! Travel nursing roles sometimes offer something called block scheduling – a practice which allows clinicians to vary their shifts based on their personal preferences. This can be incredibly beneficial for many professions but especially so for traveling nurses. Read on to understand how block scheduling works and why it might be a factor to look for in your next travel nurse contract!
What is Block Scheduling?
Traditional scheduling involves a static work schedule that clinicians must adhere to, and they will typically be concentrated throughout the weekdays or weekends in the form of 12-hour shifts.
Block scheduling typically retains the 12-hour shifts, but nurses have more autonomy over the grouping of these shifts. Over the usual 3 month travel nursing contract, clinicians may have the opportunity to plan their shifts up to around a month out. They also often have the option to plan shifts as granularly as week-to-week.
Some block-scheduled nurses choose to retain consecutive work days seen in traditional scheduling and group their shifts for either back-to-back weekdays or concentrated on the weekends. Other block-scheduled nurses opt to space out their shifts so that they have 1-2 days of free-time between work days.
Benefits of Block Scheduling for Travel Nurses
While having increased flexibility in work schedules can be a bonus to any profession, block scheduling is particularly beneficial to traveling nurses.
These nurses work under a contract that often sends them far away from home, and the destinations can be attractive for those looking to explore or vacation. If the nurse is working a schedule set by management, the once-appealing nature of travel nursing contracts can get lost and feel like any other job, but with the extra inconvenience of being away from home.
With block-scheduling, you can plan your work shifts around the location you are placed in to maximize the benefits of being placed there. Does the city have a fun night-life to explore? Schedule your shifts for the weekdays! Does the weekend welcome overcrowding that makes tourist destinations difficult to enjoy? Tackle your shifts during the week!
Being away from home can also be very challenging for some travel nurses. Increased flexibility in scheduling means that a nurse could leave a large gap in the week to visit home or attend events without having to struggle with requesting time off. The week-to-week scheduling option means that you can make the most of your return visits and coordinate more easily with those you’d like to spend time with on your off-days.
Obtaining a Block-Scheduled Travel Contract
Not all travel nursing contracts have the option for block-scheduling. So, this is a factor that nurses must bring to the job search if they would like to take advantage of it.
Travel nurse contracts are most often secured through healthcare staffing agencies. When you begin your journey with the staffing agency, you will be speaking with one or more of their recruiters. Along with the typical conversations about role descriptions and your experience, you should mention your desire for block-scheduling. The recruiter can then assess the open travel roles at their agency for the option to block-schedule and work on getting you submitted for those roles.
This makes it all the more important to work with a competent healthcare staffing agency because they will have a stronger network, which increases your chances of finding a role that you like, one you are qualified for, and one that allows for block-scheduling.
Trust Us to Find the Right Role for You
At blueStone Healthcare Solutions, we value the preferences of our clinicians, and we work tirelessly to implement them into our staffing and recruitment efforts. With a wide range of top clients, our agency boasts a variety of specialties and employment options.
Speak with one of our recruiters today to see which travel nursing positions with block-scheduling you are eligible for!