Wed, Jul 12 2023 | People Management 5 Best Nurse Scheduling Software (2024 Guide)

Wondering which nurse staff scheduling software is the best? We’ve done the research for you. Check out this list of the top 5.

Have you ever wondered how healthcare facilities manage to schedule all their nurses?

It's no easy feat, especially for bigger hospitals and clinics.

But thanks to technology, nurse staff scheduling software can transform chaotic, time-consuming scheduling to streamlined simplicity that promotes work-life balance.

Scheduling software revolutionizes the scheduling process, making it easy for RN managers to manage their nursing staff and optimize their operations.

Not only does it save time and money, but it also boosts staff morale and improves patient care.

Nurse staff scheduling software is a game-changer for healthcare facilities that want to provide top-notch patient care and prioritize their staff’s work-life balance.

However, choosing the right scheduling software for your operation can be overwhelming. Not to worry, we’ve compiled a list of the 5 best nurse scheduling solutions on the market.

What is Nurse Scheduling Software?

Nurse scheduling software helps healthcare facilities create and manage nurse schedules.

It simplifies schedule creation and management.

You can assign shifts to nurses based on availability, and it allows for easy modifications, swaps, replacements, and schedule access.

A survey conducted by AMN Healthcare in 2020 found that 71% of nurse managers reported using some form of scheduling software to manage their staff.


Any nurse scheduling software worth its salt makes life easier by addressing:

  • Schedule creation — Simplify schedule creation with easy access to nurse availability and skill levels.
  • Time-off requests — Nurses can request time off directly through the software, and managers can approve or deny requests on-the-fly.
  • Shift swaps — Nurses can swap shifts within the software with manager approval.
  • Communication — It allows for smooth communication between managers and nurses, including notifications of schedule changes, open shifts, and shift reminders.
  • Mobile accessibility — A mobile app makes viewing and managing schedules easy and meshes well with nurses’ lives.

Nurse scheduling software saves time, reduces scheduling errors, and meets staffing needs.

It can also boost nurse satisfaction because they have more control over their schedules while reducing the administrative burden on nurse managers.

Scheduling Issues Solved With Nurse Scheduling Software

When it comes to scheduling, it’s a delicate balance between managing the needs of your nursing staff and your healthcare facility.

A study from the Journal of Nursing Management found that 66% of nurse managers reported scheduling as the most challenging aspect of their job.


The study also found that utilizing scheduling tech directly improved outcomes, like less nurse burnout and increased job satisfaction.

There’s a slew of scheduling issues specific to the nursing industry that scheduling software can solve.

Scheduling Issue #1: Complex Scheduling

Nurse staffing can be complex and challenging, especially in hospitals and other healthcare facilities that operate 24/7.

Nursing shifts come in all shapes & sizes, which makes them a unique scheduling challenge:

  • Day shift — Typically runs from early morning until late afternoon and is usually the most desirable shift.
  • Evening shift — Generally runs from mid-afternoon until late at night and may be preferred by nurses with other daily obligations.
  • Night shift — Usually runs from late evening until early morning and may be preferred by night owl nurses or those with other obligations during the day.
  • Rotating shifts — Some nurses work rotating shifts, which means they alternate between working days, evenings, and nights. This schedule can be challenging for nurses because it disrupts their sleep patterns and makes it tough to maintain a regular routine.
  • 12-hour shifts — Some nurses work 12-hour shifts during the day or at night. While this schedule can provide more days off, it can also be physically and mentally taxing.
  • On-call shifts — Some nurses may be required to be on-call, so they’re available to work at short notice when needed. This can make scheduling difficult because it requires flexibility from both the nurse and the manager.

Nurse scheduling software can help automate and streamline the complex scheduling needs of nurses. It can also relieve the workload for nurse managers and ensure shifts are adequately staffed.

Scheduling Issue #2: Shift trading and scheduling conflicts

Nurses may need to swap shifts or request time off, which can create scheduling conflicts and make it challenging to maintain a balanced schedule with qualified nurses on each shift.

Nurse scheduling software provides a platform for nurses to request time off, trade shifts, and communicate with each other, making it easier to manage scheduling conflicts and ensure all shifts are adequately covered.

Scheduling Issue #3: Compliance with labor laws

Nurses work in a highly regulated industry, and healthcare organizations must comply with labor laws, like the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which regulates minimum wage and overtime pay.

Nurse scheduling software can help ensure that your facility complies with these laws by correctly monitoring employee hours and calculating overtime pay.

6 Benefits of Utilizing Nurse Scheduling Software


1. Improved work-life balance

Nurse scheduling software gives nurses more control over their schedules, allowing them to request time off or swap shifts with other nurses as needed.

This can help improve their work-life balance because they can better plan their personal lives and reduce the stress of last-minute schedule changes.

2. Reduced overtime and burnout

By optimizing staffing levels and preventing understaffing, nurse scheduling software can help reduce the need for overtime and minimize nurse burnout.

This can lead to a more sustainable and enjoyable work environment and better patient outcomes.

3. Increased job satisfaction

Getting nurses more involved in schedule creation with scheduling software can help improve job satisfaction and lower turnover rates.

Nurses are more likely to feel engaged and motivated when they have a sense of control over their work schedules.

4. Improved communication

Nurse scheduling software can provide a unified channel for easy communication between nurses and their managers.

This can help ensure that nurses know about schedule changes, open shifts, and other important information that can impact their work.

5. Time savings

By automating the scheduling process, nurse scheduling software reduces the time and effort required to create and manage schedules.

This frees up time for nurses and managers to focus on other essential tasks, like patient care and quality improvement initiatives.

6. A leg up when recruiting

Adopting nurse staff scheduling software can be a competitive differentiator when recruiting nursing staff because it demonstrates that you value and invest in tech to support the well-being and work-life balance of your staff.

In addition to competitive pay and benefits, intuitive scheduling can be a draw for your facility.

Nurses want to work for a facility that values and supports their needs.

By offering a user-friendly scheduling system that allows for flexible scheduling and reduces the burden of manual scheduling, you can attract and retain top nursing talent in a highly competitive labor market.

5 Top Nurse Scheduling Software of 2024

Choosing the right nurse scheduling software is crucial because staff scheduling directly affects the quality of patient care and how efficiently your healthcare organization operates.

If scheduling software is poorly designed or inadequate, it can lead to understaffing, which could harm patient safety and contribute to burnout among nurses.

However, well-designed nurse scheduling software can optimize staffing levels, prevent understaffing, and make it easier for nurses and managers to communicate.

It can also save time, reduce administrative burdens, and boost job satisfaction.

By doing your research and selecting the best nurse staff scheduling software, you can provide top-quality care for your patients and maintain a happy, productive workforce.

Here are our top 5 picks for nurse scheduling software:

1. MakeShift

MakeShift was developed specifically to fix scheduling in the healthcare industry and began with a nurse and her frustrating experience with scheduling.

She was constantly scheduled when she wasn’t available and could never access her schedule on her phone while on the go. As a result, she couldn’t easily swap shifts with other nurses or see available shifts that she preferred.

Scheduling was manual, error-prone, inefficient, and downright painful.

MakeShift was built on a people-first approach — we streamline scheduling, making it more straightforward for managers and employees. We’re proud to say that using MakeShift results in a 50% reduction in time to build a schedule and an 83% reduction in time to fill shifts.

MakeShift was recognized as a Leader in Employee Scheduling Software and for the Highest Adoption Rate in G2’s Winter 2023 Grid® Reports.

Highest Adoption Rate

Key Features:

  • Available Shifts — Your nursing staff can readily view available shifts when they want to pick up an extra shift or trade shifts.

Available Shifts Access

  • Rotation-Based Scheduling — Easily create a rotating shift schedule to distribute the workload evenly.

Rotation-Based Scheduling-2

  • Employee Shift Exchanges — Your nurses can easily request shift swaps, and you can approve those requests on the go.


  • Overtime Alerts — Fatigue management rules and alerts help prevent employee burnout.

Overtime alerts

  • Time Off & Employee Availability — Nurses can request time off and set their availability. You can easily approve requests and create your schedule with your nurses’ availability at your fingertips.


  • Team communication — Send all-staff announcements and receive push notifications when your nurses clock in on their phones.

Team communication app

  • Payroll integration — MakeShift integrates with leading HR and payroll systems like SAP® SuccessFactors® and ADP to offer an intuitive scheduling solution that automatically syncs schedules and timesheets. They also offer a public API that allows integration to a vast number of systems.

Payroll Integration

  • Mobile App for nursing staff and managers — Our app provides on-the-go flexibility for accessing and managing the schedule.

Mobile app for staff and managers

  • Skills-based scheduling — Ensure you have the most highly skilled nurses in the right place and time.


From $2.75 / user/month + a Free Trial



  • Customizable and intuitive scheduling
  • Mobile accessibility
  • Easy shift swapping and communication


Certain features like Predictive Analytics aren't available out of the box and may require integrations. However, MakeShift's public API and seamless integration with enterprise-grade analytics software like SAP Analytics Cloud Platform makes configuration easy.

Capterra Customer Review:

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2. EasyShifts

This software was created by an RN specifically for nurse scheduling. With EasyShifts, you can easily create and manage schedules that fit your needs and staff preferences.

Key Features:

  • Shift scheduling
  • Time tracking
  • Schedule Template
  • EasyShifts App Calendar
  • Mobile app
  • See staff availability
  • Shift swapping
  • Customized notifications


Starts at $2.99 / user/ month + Try it for 90 days

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  • Designed for healthcare workers — easy access to schedules, shift swapping, & time off requests.
  • Easy software training


  • You’re not able to change/correct absences, sometimes nurses get something worked out and can come in later, but it seems that’s not easy to correct.

Capterra Customer Review:

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3. Nurse Grid

NurseGrid is a healthcare staff scheduling solution that targets short-staffing (healthcare’s most prominent issue), empowers nurses to take control of their schedule, and helps healthcare facilities communicate shift changes in real time.

Key Features:

  • Float Pool Management
  • Messaging/Shift Dispatching
  • Overtime Calculation
  • Shift Scheduling
  • Shift Swapping
  • Vacation/Leave Tracking
  • NurseGrid mobile app


Reach out to NurseGrid for a quote — No Free Trial at this point (find this page under “ Learn More” on their site to request a quote)

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  • Highly customizable
  • Export schedules to Google Calendar, Outlook, and iPhone calendar apps.


  • Limited Day Off options
  • The app can be a little quirky

G2 Customer Review:

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4. ShiftBoard

Shiftboard helps you manage nurse scheduling and float pools more efficiently.

With day-of-shift coverage tools and fast, efficient scheduling, Shiftboard helps you save time and make schedules more accessible to your nursing staff.

Key Features:

  • Employee Timeclock
  • Shift Swapping
  • Workforce Forecasting
  • Real-time Reporting
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Compliance Tracking
  • Reminders


Plans start from $3 / user/ month

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  • Great for mass communication
  • Trade shifts within the same roles without management approval


  • Visualizations available for the calendar leave something to be desired
  • Interface and controls aren’t the most user-friendly

G2 Customer Review:

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5. Smartlinx

SmartLinx optimizes workforce management by connecting real-time data and processes across multiple facilities so you can visualize staffing and expenses and make smarter decisions.

Designed specifically for skilled nursing and senior care, SmartLinx streamlines operations, closes scheduling gaps, reduces overtime, and ensures compliance.

Key Features:

  • Shift scheduling
  • Time & Attendance
  • Payroll integration
  • Workplace Analytics
  • Skills-based scheduling
  • Mobile app


Reach out to Smartlinx for a quote — They offer a free demo (go to the “Contact Us” page to request a quote).

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  • Nurse Schedule App to manage on the go
  • You can manage payroll inquiries, verify work and salary history, and request time off without having to contact HR.


  • Just be aware — The app doesn’t always display the correct schedule, and it can be difficult to distinguish which month’s schedule users view.

Capterra Customer Review:

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Nurse Scheduling Software Checklist

Choosing your nursing staff scheduling software is a big decision. We’ve created this checklist to help you select the best scheduling solution for your healthcare facility.

  • Functionality — Does the software offer the features necessary to meet the specific scheduling needs of your nursing staff, such as mobile access, availability, shift scheduling, time-off requests, and skill matching?
  • Ease of use — Is the software user-friendly and intuitive, with an easy-to-navigate interface and clear instructions?
  • Implementation time — Many solutions on the market can take up to a year to implement. That’s way too long. A shorter implementation time minimizes disruptions to daily operations, reduces the risk of cost overruns, and allows your facility to reap the benefits of the new software sooner.
  • Change management — What type of change management does the software provide? Is there stellar training for you & your staff? What does the software rollout look like?
  • Vendor/Team experience — It’s important to vet the experience of the vendor team by asking for references and reviewing their track record with similar implementations.

An experienced team is more likely to have previously encountered and resolved issues that may arise during the implementation process, reducing the risk of delays and disruptions to operations.

  • Customer support — How do they handle customer support? Do you get a dedicated account manager?
  • Customizability — Can the software be customized to meet the unique needs of your healthcare facility, like adding custom fields or modifying scheduling rules
  • Integration — Does the software integrate with other systems used by your facility, such as payroll or electronic health records?
  • Mobile access — Does the software offer mobile access, allowing nurses to view their schedules and make time-off requests from their smartphones or tablets?
  • User feedback — What do other healthcare facilities and nurses who have used the software say about their experience with it? Read reviews and conduct reference checks before making a final decision.

Nurse Scheduling Software is Smarter Scheduling

It’s no secret that nursing staff scheduling needs a fix — it needs smarter scheduling.

Nurse scheduling software can help alleviate burnout and ensure safe staffing numbers for high-quality patient care.

Scheduling software is not only more efficient — you’ll have happier nurses, more work organization, and safe staffing numbers on each shift.


Ready to Make the Shift?



Asher Fredricks

Written By: Asher Fredricks

Asher has been helping businesses improve their staff scheduling and human capital management systems for over 4 years. Before setting out to improve HR departments with people-first initiatives and technologies, he earned his MBA in Business Management.