What Is a Baylor Shift? Overview and FAQ

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Written by Alexa Davidson, MSN, RN Content Writer, IntelyCare
A nurse checking her watch, about to end her weekend Baylor shift.

Many factors go into ensuring there are enough nursing professionals to care for all the patients in a facility on a given shift. Patient census and acuity levels change constantly throughout the day, and nurse staffing shortages make staff availability unpredictable. Finding ways to keep nursing units adequately staffed (while retaining your best caregivers) is a challenge, to say the least.

If you’re considering alternate flexible schedule options for nurses, you may be wondering, What is a Baylor shift, and how could it benefit staffing? We explain how this staffing plan works and how it can improve nurse staffing challenges at your facility.

What Is a Baylor Shift in Nursing?

The Baylor shift is a schedule option that allows nurses to work two weekend shifts a week while maintaining full-time status. It got its name from Baylor University Medical Center, which first implemented the staffing plan in the 1980s to solve short-staffing on the weekends and allow nurses a better work-life balance. Many healthcare facilities across the U.S. offer the Baylor shift to nurses who need schedule flexibility. It’s appealing to nurses who:

  • Are in school
  • Prefer to work weekends to accommodate family needs
  • Desire full-time benefits but can only commit to a few shifts per week
  • Have another part-time or per diem job

Shift requirements vary by facility, but a typical Baylor schedule is any combination of two 12-hour shifts between Friday evening and Monday morning. This schedule is considered full-time, even though the total hours worked may be less than the standard 36 hours for nurses. The nature of weekend-only work shouldn’t make nurses any less included in a unit — Baylor nurses are part of the core staff and should be involved in shared governance and organizational decision-making.

What Is a Baylor Shift Salary?

Many nurses and employers want to know, What is Baylor pay for nurses? This will depend on the individual facility. Some facilities pay weekend-only nurses full-time wages for part-time work. They may also offer full-time benefits, including health insurance and retirement.

Baylor shift differentials depend on how the facility chooses to structure the pay package. For example, weekend or night shift differentials may be factored into the hourly rate for Baylor nurses to prevent “stacking.”

How Does It Benefit Nurse Staffing and Scheduling?

Baylor shifts benefit nurse staffing and scheduling — two important drivers of daily healthcare operations. No matter which type of staffing model or scheduling system your facility uses, hiring Baylor nurses is an effective way to ensure adequate staffing.

  • Nurse staffing ensures there are enough nurses to care for the number of patients in a facility on a given shift. It’s monitored and adjusted on a shift-by-shift basis.
  • Nurse scheduling is the process of assigning nurses to individual shifts. It’s often planned months in advance.

By hiring nurses into a weekend-only plan, facilities have guaranteed weekend shift coverage. This relieves the guesswork about who will work weekend shifts. It also helps schedulers navigate daily staffing for weekend shifts. Baylor shifts also add a layer of security when anticipating weekend staffing needs, as these shifts are often at higher risk for call-outs.

Why Is Schedule Flexibility Important in Healthcare?

If your organization is evaluating ways to improve nurse retention and satisfaction, it’s worth examining your scheduling practices to see what’s working and what needs changing. Do nurses feel they have control over their schedule? If not, offering flexible shift options may help prevent burnout and improve job satisfaction.

Not only do Baylor nurses get to enjoy a work-life balance, but non-Baylor nurses benefit, too. They’re required to work fewer weekend shifts, which opens up more schedule freedom and predictability.

It may also reduce staffing shortages on the weekends — and the number of requests nurses get to work on their day off. According to a nurse satisfaction survey by the American Nurses Association (ANA), 59% of nurses get asked to work overtime at least once a week. In a culture of understaffing and burnout, continually asking nurses to work on their time off is counterproductive. It’s a violation of their personal time and adds strain to their mental well-being.

What Are the Pros and Cons of the Baylor Shift for Facilities?

There’s no single solution to solving short-staffing in individual organizations. Finding ways to improve nurse satisfaction takes trial and error and a lot of adapting. Adding flexible schedule options may be a creative way to retain nurses as you work toward optimal staffing levels. Weigh the pros and cons of Baylor nursing to decide if it would work at your facility.

Pros Cons
Improves morale and work-life balance

Contributes to nurse retention

Builds staff comradery by creating a consistent team environment

Gives non-Baylor staff more weekends off

Increased costs in benefits for part-time nurses

Higher salary costs for part-time nurses

May be difficult to find nurses available to work every weekend

Baylor nurses give up their traditional weekends

Find More Ways to Improve Nurse Staffing

What is a Baylor shift staffing plan without enough nurses to fill the positions? If your facility struggles with short-staffing, allow IntelyCare to bring you qualified nurses when you need them. Partner with IntelyCare to get innovative solutions to stabilize your nursing workforce today.

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