Block Scheduling in Travel Nursing: Is It Right for You? 987839088534212 [9:30 AM] Katie Iglewski

You love working with your patients. And ideally, the travel nurse lifestyle allows you to explore different sights and locations. 

But with your current schedule, you don’t have much time for sightseeing or even going home for a few days to see your family. 

Maybe it’s time to look into block scheduling. Many travelers like block schedule nursing because it gives them time to see all the local attractions that brought them to the area; others like that they can return to their home base for a few days each week if they want to. 

Whatever your reason, a block schedule may be just what you need. 

Keep reading because this article will discuss block schedules for nursing, travel nursing and block scheduling benefits, and tips to make it work for you. 


what is block scheduling for travel nurses


Table of Contents


What Is Block Scheduling in Travel Nursing?

Block scheduling in nursing — also known as block booking — is a convenient way for healthcare workers to set up work schedules that benefit their current lifestyles.

With a typical schedule, nurses (especially ones newer to the field) get set schedules of 12-hour shifts across days and nights, including weekdays and weekends. But block scheduling allows nurses to pick the shifts they want in advance over a specific span of time, usually one month.

This means that nurses not only know their schedules well in advance, but they can also set them up in a way that works best for them. For instance, they can plan to work all their shifts for a week consecutively, which allows them to have lots of days off in a row to allow for travel or exploring.

Or, if they know that they’ll want more downtime to relax and unwind between each shift, they can use block scheduling to make that work. Travel nurses can change things as needed and stay in charge of their time. 

Even though block scheduling may not earn you more money or bonuses, it can certainly help give travel nurses happiness and peace of mind. Most people believe that those things are worth their weight in gold.

Trusted Nurse Staffing can help you find the right travel nursing position — and a schedule that works for you. 

Your career is in the best possible hands when you work with us. Our mission is to provide exceptional customer service and a personal experience every step of the way. You are not just a number to Trusted Nurse Staffing. 

And with the Pronto job search, it’s easier than ever to find the position you’re looking for. Pronto helps you find jobs, compare pay, and get to work!


travel nurse block schedule


Example of a Regular Schedule for Travel Nurses

You will find that different facilities have varying policies and processes regarding scheduling for travel nurses. Your working schedule, traditional or block, will be included in your contract. 

Contracts are part of every travel nursing job, and they typically specify the:  

  • Shifts
  • Shift lengths
  • Assignment durations; and
  • Any time off that has been mutually agreed upon between you and the healthcare facility

The most common scenario is working three to four days a week, with most shifts lasting 12 hours.


Example of a Block Schedule for Travel Nurses

A nursing block schedule is typically three or four days scheduled back to back. 

For example, a travel nursing block schedule may look something like this:

  • Monday, off
  • Tuesday, off
  • Wednesday, on
  • Thursday, on
  • Friday, on
  • Saturday, off
  • Sunday, off

There is also the possibility for block schedules to change every week if needed. 

For example, the first week’s block may be Wednesday through Friday, while the second week’s block may be Monday through Wednesday. 

When you block your schedule, you should have several days to relax and recharge over your days off, which can help keep you from burning out. Burnout can be a huge issue in the nursing profession, which may be one reason so many facilities are embracing the block scheduling model.


Why Is Block Scheduling Good for Nurses?

Block scheduling is good for nurses because it lets them take more control of their lives, both at work and in their downtime. Block scheduling in travel nursing allows for more:

  • Flexibility
  • Work-life balance
  • Travel opportunities
  • Consistent income; and
  • Schedule efficiency


5 Benefits of Travel Nurse Block Schedules


#1: Flexibility  

Some nurses may have a very routine schedule. For example, they may work eight-hour shifts every Monday through Friday. This type of schedule is typical in a facility with regular office hours, like a pediatrician’s group.

But nurses who work in hospitals, care facilities, and other places where patients need care around the clock may find themselves working nights and weekends or being scheduled without much consistency.

For these nurses, having more control over when they work is a big plus. If you’re a travel nurse who needs a more flexible schedule, block scheduling might be a perfect fit for you. 

In contrast to traditional scheduling, block scheduling lets you switch shifts between weeks. If needed, you can choose different shifts each week to accommodate your varying availability throughout the month. 


#2: Work-Life Balance 

Burnout among healthcare workers has become increasingly prevalent in recent years. Research shows that more than 40% of registered nurses reported high burnout due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Adequate time off is crucial to staying robust and motivated as a healthcare worker — and block scheduling can provide it at no sunken cost. 

With block scheduling, it’s possible to create time for yourself, helping you to achieve a work-life balance that can seem difficult to find when you’re overwhelmed by your job. 

Spacing out your shifts over the week can allow you to make time for self-care activities, such as: 

  • Exercise
  • Family time
  • Socialization; and
  • Sleep


#3: Travel Opportunities

Do you have an upcoming beach vacation planned but are considering taking a per diem nurse job in the meantime? If you have block scheduling built into your travel nurse contract, it’s possible not to lose pay while on vacation.

In a typical nursing schedule, you may work five days a week, every week. You’d have to request time off and lose potential pay to take a short vacation. 

You can, however, space out your shifts for substantial time off without losing pay if you use block scheduling. 

Travel nursing and vacations without losing pay become possible with block schedules. 

An example of a vacation-friendly block schedule would be as follows:

Week 1:

  • Monday, on
  • Tuesday, on
  • Wednesday, on
  • Thursday, off
  • Friday, off
  • Saturday, off
  • Sunday, off

Week 2:

  • Monday, off
  • Tuesday, off
  • Wednesday, off
  • Thursday, on
  • Friday, on
  • Saturday, on
  • Sunday, off 

While you work the same number of shifts each week, you get seven consecutive days off within two weeks without losing income.

As you can see, the block scheduling method is your best choice if traveling is a top priority.


#4: Consistent Income  

If you are a travel nurse working per diem, you must count every shift toward your desired income. With typical scheduling, this type of travel nurse may be short on money and unsure whether they will get enough shifts the following week.

Block scheduling ensures that you have a set number of shifts in the future, which means a set salary. 

What’s even better? During those weeks when you may need some extra income, block scheduling allows you to pick up more shifts.  


#5: Schedule Efficiency

Being able to pick your shifts in advance means that you don’t have to request days off and hope that nobody else is taking a vacation at the same time. It also means that you — not your supervisor or an administrator — get to decide when you work.

With block scheduling in travel nursing, you can fit your work schedule around your obligations instead of trying to squeeze in what you want or need to do between shifts.

Some savvy travel nurses even use block scheduling to help them achieve a “two location” system. They work for a few consecutive days each week and stay at a nearby location, then commute back to their home base for days off. This can be helpful for travel nurses who tend to get homesick and may also save you some money on accommodations.


travel nurse block schedule


FAQs About Travel Nurse Block Schedules

Have we convinced you that block scheduling in travel nursing is the way to go? Maybe you think it sounds like a great idea, but you still have some questions. 

Here are some things people most often ask about block schedule nursing.


How Do You Get a Travel Nurse Block Schedule? 

Tell your recruiter what you are looking for!

You have the benefit of working with flexibility as a nurse. Nursing contracts with block schedules are highly flexible and can be found in various settings. 

How can you combine the flexibility of a travel assignment and block scheduling? You should find a reputable recruiter, such as Trusted Nurse Staffing. 

Trusted Nurse Staffing was named one of the Best Travel Nursing Companies in 2022 by BluePipes. 

We will work hard to find the perfect setting and schedule for you. 

Why trust your career to anyone else? Use the Pronto job search and contact us today.


travel nurse block schedule


Do All Hospitals Offer Block Scheduling? 

Unfortunately, no. This is where a quality recruiter can help! 

If a block schedule is a priority, talk with your recruiter about having it written into your contract. 

If one hospital does not offer block scheduling, a nearby one may. Your recruiter should be able to find you what you are looking for. 


Can You Get Per Diem With Block Scheduling? 

Yes. Per diem and a block schedule is possible!

In fact, a block schedule simplifies per diem scheduling and ensures consistent patient care. 

Since working per diem nursing jobs means you will only get paid for your work days, it makes it a win-win for you and the facility.  


Can You Go Home on Your Days Off?

Yes, of course! This is one of the many advantages of working a block schedule. It allows you to go home for the several days in a row you are off because you are working so many days together. 

Work with your recruiter to find facilities willing to accommodate block scheduling so you can work shifts and enjoy your free time at home. 


4 Travel Nurse Block Schedule Tips


#1: Consult Your Calendar 

It doesn’t matter what setting you work in; block scheduling requires you to book your shifts in advance. You must know your calendar from front to back, with no exceptions.

Prior to picking up any shifts, consider anything that may require days off over the block, such as:

  • Conflicts
  • Holidays
  • Vacations; or 
  • Any other priorities

To remain on good terms with your facility, you must ensure there are no mishaps.


#2: Consider Your Personal Preferences 

Would you describe yourself as a night owl? Do you like getting up early in the morning? Are you a one-day-off, one-day-on worker? 

When you block schedules, you can build an agenda that suits your preferences, so you should know in advance what you prefer. 

Nursing can be exhausting, but you can feel refreshed and prepared for every shift when you plan ahead.


#3: Communicate Your Scheduling Preferences 

It is your responsibility to share your scheduling preferences with recruiters and administrators, so don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. 

Your travel nurse agency should stand up for you and what you need. 

This includes things such as: 

  • A preference for block scheduling
  • Not switching night shifts to day shifts; or
  • Not changing settings at the last minute

Whenever you are considering an assignment, make sure you express interest in block scheduling and any other scheduling requirements (i.e., nights only, weekends, every other weekend, etc.) you desire.  


block scheduling travel nursing


#4: Partner With a Staffing Agency That Listens to Your Preferences 

You should have a good relationship with your nurse recruiter because they will act as your advocate. 

Great recruiters listen to their candidates and help them reach their goals. To help job seekers prepare for their next assignment, a great recruiter will make several phone calls to get to know them. 

In addition, they will assist you in: 

  • Navigating state licensure requirements
  • Preparing you for interviews; and
  • Connecting you with human resources


Trusted Nurse Staffing: A Staffing Agency Dedicated To Finding the Right Schedule for Your Dream Job

Do you want to work a block schedule? Is having flexibility important? With Trusted Nurse Staffing, we will do everything we can to make sure that happens

With the help of our representatives, you can customize your resume and meet hiring managers whose interests and objectives match your own.

When you find the right travel nursing assignment, we will assist you with your: 

  • Certifications
  • Training; and 
  • Other compliance requirements 

Our experienced staff works hard to find you a good contract that pays well. 

In addition, while traveling, we: 

  • Offer assistance
  • Answer questions; and 
  • Address any concerns you may have

Whether you are a seasoned travel nurse or new to the field, we are here to help you find your dream job. 

We have a wide variety of placements for nurses in all 50 states and would love to help you find the travel nursing job of your dreams. Check out Pronto and contact us today.


travel nurse block schedule