Nurse scheduling software is a cloud-based platform that allows nurses to create schedules and even predict staffing needs. Staff can also benefit from being able to access their schedule, request time off, and swap shifts using a web-based system.
The best nurse scheduling software can eliminate paper schedules, reduce the need for spreadsheet entry, and allow nurses and managers to make changes in real-time to their work schedules. We’ve reviewed more than two dozen of the best nurse scheduling software options, and the following are the top options based on costs, customer service, and functionality.
Best Overall : ShiftWizard
Why we chose it: ShiftWizard integrates with common electronic medical records (EMR) programs and has won recognition for cost efficiency.
Integrating with EMR makes patient assignments easier
Predictive scheduling with researched accuracy
Pricing not listed
Seems well-suited for larger organizations, not smaller facilities
ShiftWizard is a nurse-invented nurse scheduling software program. One of the key differentiators between this and other programs is the ability to integrate the scheduling software with electronic medical records programs such as Kronos, Epic, McKesson, Meditech, and Optimum. Doing so makes charting and working easier because the software will note who is on which shift for patient assignments.
The cloud-based platform offers a variety of dashboards that are color-coded and easy to read, and an app is also available for nurses to see their schedules. The scheduling system is customizable and allows for communications including text messaging, voice calling, and email. It also utilizes several tools to improve productivity, including staffing forecasting.
The company’s website offers several on-demand webinars about nurse scheduling that are beneficial even if you don’t purchase ShiftWizard’s product. ShiftWizard does not list pricing online, so you’ll have to contact them directly for this information.
While ShiftWizard does provide scheduling software for companies of all sizes, the platform and customizability do feel better-suited for a larger-scale organization. Smaller practices may not benefit from the customization opportunities or integration needs.
Independent research firm KLAS conducted a study of eight major nurse software scheduling programs and determined ShiftWizard was tops for reducing overtime and agency costs. ShiftWizard was also highly rated for its predictive scheduling accuracy, taking the number two spot for predictive scheduling accuracy. They also share case studies on their website regarding the platform’s achievements in cost-savings.
Best Budget : NurseGrid
Why we chose it: NurseGrid is a free, app-based scheduling software that also allows in-app messaging.
Available for small and large practices
Highly favorable user reviews
Not available as a web-based program
Paid version does not list pricing
The NurseGrid scheduling app is a free resource from Healthstream that’s designed for use in single offices, multiple offices, and even hospitals. The program is available for free download for iOS and Android phones, and the app has more than 62,000 reviews with a current rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars from its users on the Apple App Store.
The program features a calendar that has color-coded options for different shifts, such as day, night, or overtime shifts. A nurse can click on the shift and see who they are working with for that time as well as send in-app messages with colleagues about schedules or shift swaps. The app will also maintain images of a person’s certifications for easier credentialing.
While highly useful, the free program is exclusively app-based so it is not usable on laptops or desktops. However, the lack of a fee and usability can compensate for these differences.
If you need more functionality or prefer to use the software on a computer, there is a more extensive, paid version of the software called NurseGrid Manager that integrates with the free app. NurseGrid does not list pricing for this upgraded option, so you will need to contact the company to find out more.
Best for Multiple Locations : Shiftboard
Why we chose it: Shiftboard’s cloud-based platform is updated in real-time and can manage multiple locations.
Managers can text employees from the platform about available shifts.
Platform can take into consideration compliance and overtime rules
Healthcare platform demo unavailable online
Pricing not available online
When it comes to scheduling at multiple locations, the ability for employees to self-schedule, incorporate a float pool, and communicate about staffing needs is vital to managers. The shiftboard platform updates in real-time and allows managers to automatically generate text messages related to staffing needs, saving the need for a phone tree or last-minute calls to employees. Their scheduling software is also available via an app.
Another bonus is that shiftboard can enforce scheduling compliance rules, which ensures that nurses don’t work overtime or excessive shifts based on state and local labor laws. Managers do have the ability to override these presets, which makes shiftboard more user-friendly and helps managers working at multiple locations who may otherwise have difficulty tracking this data.
While shiftboard does utilize this software over a variety of fields, there are some healthcare-specific considerations, including being able to denote nursing staff’s ability to cover certain roles (such as charge nurse or preceptor). The software also has the ability to consider patient care ratios.
Shiftboard charges a monthly subscription fee based on the number of users. They also have implementation fees for setting up the product for a facility or office locations. However, these average fees are not advertised on the company’s website. You can request a demo of the product online as well as price quotes, but demos or examples of the healthcare-specific platform aren’t available unless you contact a shiftboard representative.
Best for Small Offices : Schedule360
Why we chose it: Schedule360 offers a customizable platform so small offices can identify the services they most need.
Customizable scheduling platform
Integrates with human resources and payroll platforms
No app; employees can sign on to online portal
No pricing available online
Schedule360 offers custom scheduling software, 24/7 support, and free training for what they advertise as an off-the-shelf price. This cloud-based product is scalable; the company advertises that it can provide a program for scheduling anywhere from 10 employees up to 500 or more. While the company can work from small to large practice sizes, the ability to customize a solution is a good fit for offices.
The platform enables nursing staff to self-schedule on a rules basis such as requiring nurses to sign up for a certain number of weekend shifts or not allowing overtime scheduling until all shifts are assigned. Schedulers can also send emails or text messages via the platform when they require shift coverage. The company does not offer an app but instead utilizes a mobile-friendly website, and the philosophy behind this is that they can update their site in real-time without frequently performing app upgrades.
The Schedule360 software can also integrate with payroll and human resources software to aid in these tasks. Their software also allows a practice to generate staffing reports related to time clocks, scheduling, and finances.
Schedule360 does not list their pricing online, but they do list that it is based on the number of employees and facilities. The company requires a year-long contract but offers a 30-day trial period before you commit. Contact the company for a free demonstration and pricing.
Best for Usability : Centricity ShiftSelect
Why we chose it: Centricity ShiftSelect features an easy-to-use platform for those with a range of technical abilities.
Color-coded tabs and drag-and-drop options make scheduling easier
Offers ShiftRewards points incentives for scheduling
Does not include information on platform pricing
Must contact company for product demonstration
Centricity ShiftSelect is a cloud-based scheduling solution that requires just a few weeks to effectively implement, according to the company’s website. They highlight their ease-of-use as a significant advantage of their platform for scheduling, along with open-shift management.
The platform allows nurses to self-schedule, if desired, and can also track time and attendance, payroll, and credentials to ensure nurses see shifts available to them based on their job role and training. Centricity ShiftSelect also offers outcomes analysis to provide reports on employee efficiency, utilization, and overtime costs.
Centricity ShiftSelect offers free demonstrations of their product if you contact the company, but they are not available via their website. Potential users can view several screen-grabs of the online platform, which show the ability to drag-and-drop names to a calendar as well as color-coded tabs to identify different shift tabs and personnel needs. These easy-to-use elements promise to enhance use for nurses and managers of all levels in software usage.
Centricity also has a unique program called ShiftRewards. If companies opt for this program, they can award points to staff members based on their willingness to pick up shifts or act in leadership roles such as preceptor. The program will track participant’s points and allow them to choose from a catalog of more than 3,500 items to redeem their earned points.
Centricity ShiftSelect does not list their pricing for their platform. You must also contact their parent company, API Healthcare, to obtain larger demonstrations of their product.
Best for Hospitals : Kronos
Why we chose it: Kronos’ scheduling platform is geared toward hospitals and large health systems.
Caters to hospitals, medical centers, and other acute-care settings
Demonstrations available on website
No pricing available online
Although Kronos is built for hospitals and hospital systems, the platform still takes budgeting and efficiently utilizing resources into account. The Kronos system enables nurses to self-schedule as well as also auto-generate a schedule based on nursing qualifications and floors or skills worked. Their system has a “whole-house” look at hospital-wide staffing designed to aid administrators in running the most efficient shifts each day.
We liked that Kronos features demonstrations of how their software works on their website. The demonstrations provide real-life scenarios such as how a manager can navigate scheduling when there is a call-in. These make understanding the platform’s functionality very easy to understand. Kronos also offers an app in addition to its functionality on computers and tablets, making it easy to schedule from anywhere.
The site gives several case studies about hospitals and medical centers Kronos has worked with to create scheduling solutions, including those with 500 or more patient beds. They offer consultations to help hospitals determine how they can best utilize the Kronos system. Kronos also offers timekeeping systems including installed time clocks on hospital floors.
While the Kronos system is cloud-based for scheduling and does not require computer installation or downloads, the company does offer on-premise deployment. This service can help educate administrators and managers and enable them to ask schedule-specific questions.
Kronos does not list its prices on its website. Pricing will depend upon each hospital system’s needs, so you’ll need to contact the company to get an accurate quote.
Best for Labor Law Compliance : Snap Schedule
Why we chose it: Snap Schedule allows you to set scheduling limits that comply with and monitor changes in labor laws as well as generate reports regarding overtime.
Ability to generate reports and set limits per labor laws
Pricing transparency for different product installation types
Not all pricing programs include complimentary upgrades
Snap Schedule is a nurse scheduling software that incorporates monitoring for labor compliance laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The software will provide staffing reports and set scheduling limits that allow schedulers to monitor national, state, and regional laws as applicable.
The program itself offers the opportunity to drag-and-drop nurses for shifts, ensure adequate shift coverage, and manage call-outs. The app will also act as a time clock and keep up with paid time off accruals. In addition to Snap Schedule’s software, an app is available for iOS and Android.
The company offers several different options of its product and is priced by type. You can view pricing by type using a slide calculator on the company’s website. You select the type you want, number of schedulers, and number of employees to determine a yearly price. Another option is to purchase a software license, which costs a certain amount per unit. Discounts are available for companies who purchase the license for more than five schedulers.
Snap Schedule will offer free, personalized demos and a money-back guarantee for its product for the first 30 days. The ability to purchase the software license for a one-time fee is helpful in understanding up-front costs, but can be concerning should the company issue upgrades or make fixes to the software at a later date. Some of the payment options include free upgrades while others do not.
Nurse scheduling software allows small and large facilities to shift from paper scheduling to usually web-or app-based platforms. Not only does this allow employees the potential benefit of self-scheduling, but many platforms also allow nurse managers to send out alerts or requests for covering shifts. Some software even includes predictive capabilities that allow managers to forecast their staffing needs based on past-used data.
Although the best system for you will depend on your needs along with the size of your staff, practice, or specialty, we recommend starting with ShiftWizard because it can integrate with EMRs, has a customizable scheduling system, and is cloud-based.
|Best Nurse Scheduling Software|
|Scheduling Software||Wins For||Type||Costs|
|ShiftWizard||Best Overall||Cloud-based||Must obtain a quote from company|
|NurseGrid||Best Budget||App-based||$0 for app, upgraded “Manager” version does have a cost|
|shiftboard||Best for Multiple Locations||Cloud-based||Must obtain quote from company|
|Schedule360||Best for Small Offices||Cloud-based||Vary based on practice size|
|Centricity ShiftSelect||Best for Usability||Cloud-based||Must obtain quote from company|
|Kronos||Best for Hospitals||Cloud-based||Must obtain quote from company|
|Snap Schedule||Best for Labor Law Compliance||Cloud-based or installed software, depending on package||Pricing depends upon package selected|
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Nurse Scheduling Software?
Nurse scheduling software is a platform that is either cloud-based or installed to a computer that creates weekly, monthly, and annual schedules for nurses. Some scheduling software allows nurses to self-schedule while other software allows a nurse manager or other scheduler to create and distribute a schedule.
In addition to creating a schedule, nurse scheduling software often allows a manager to track time-off requests, nurse productivity, and available vacation or sick days. Placing this information in a central location can streamline scheduling on the part of the nurses and manager.
Some nurse scheduling software also utilizes predictive capabilities. This means the software takes into account the census of a hospital floor, office visits, or surgical cases and predicts staffing needs for certain days of the week or certain months in the year. Predictive analytics are not always available for nurse scheduling software, and it’s important for a manager to identify their needs in terms of scheduling when looking for a product.
What Type of Offices Can It Be Used In?
Offices large and small can utilize nurse scheduling software. Virtually any practice that manages time-off requests and requires regular scheduling can benefit from nurse scheduling software.
However, a practice may find certain nurse scheduling software types or companies are a better fit for them. Some companies offer niche or specialty products that allow an office, hospital, or surgery center the opportunity to schedule more effectively. For example:
- Large versus small practice software programs
- Programs for certain nursing specialties, such as home health
- Programs that have predictive analytics versus those that do not
A manager must consider these factors when determining the best fit in terms of scheduling needs for a company.
What Is the Average Cost of Nurse Scheduling Software?
Many companies do not advertise the average costs for their software because pricing is typically determined based on the number of users, administrators, and facilities. Some software companies will charge a monthly fee while others will charge a yearly fee for their product. Others may sell a software license where a company pays a one-time fee to use the product.
Because there are so many potential variables to cost, it is difficult to estimate the average nurse scheduling software costs.
Is Nurse Scheduling Software Worth It?
Patient scheduling software has the potential to streamline the nurse scheduling process as well as use predictive capabilities to help make scheduling more accurate to meet staffing needs. In a study of 85 nurse managers, finance managers, and registered nurses, 60% said advanced scheduling technology would be “very helpful” in meeting staffing needs, according to Becker’s Hospital Review. Another 33% said the software would be “somewhat helpful.”
Patient scheduling software would be worthwhile to the manager who would utilize the software to the extent of its abilities. For example, allowing nurses to request time off via the software, to track productivity, or to predict staffing needs would all be effective uses of nurse scheduling software.
Is Nurse Scheduling Software Easy to Use?
Nurse scheduling software designers typically craft their software with the intent of making it as user-friendly as possible. However, there is understandably a learning curve involved in utilizing any new software. One of the key considerations for purchasing nurse scheduling software then becomes how much training staff may need to utilize the software and the degree of training the company offers.
As a general rule, a manager can expect they will have more questions and may require more training in scheduling software when they manage a larger staff versus a smaller one because there are more entries and staff schedules to organize,
To select the best nurse scheduling software options, we reviewed 25 companies before narrowing down the field to seven. Each company had to offer a nursing-specific scheduling platform to be considered. We then evaluated the companies based on their platform, projected ease of use, functionality, and communication abilities among staff.
We also considered mobile apps and if the software could integrate with a company’s other pre-existing software to streamline payroll or other key functions. Finally, we considered whether the company offers the ability to assess the platform’s look and function.
All of the products we reviewed have multiple scheduling functions, are easy to implement, facilitate communication among staff, and integrate with other features.