In this article, I’ll discuss what the Baylor shift means, along with some pros and cons of working the Baylor shift.

If you decide working a Baylor shift is something you want to do, make sure to check out the NurseMoneyTalk job board to find jobs that offer the Baylor shift as an option.

What Does Baylor Shift Mean?

If you prefer video, you can watch my video on the Baylor plan. Otherwise, you can read the article below.

With a Baylor shift schedule, originally developed at Baylor University Medical Center, nurses work two or three-weekend shifts lasting 12 hours each but are paid for even more hours than they worked. In addition, they usually receive the same benefits that full-time employees receive.

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How Does the Baylor Shift Plan Work?

The Baylor shift plan is used to find sufficient nurses to staff weekend shifts in hospitals. In return, these nurses are paid for either a full week of work or for 8 to 12 hours more than they worked. Most often receive full-time benefits, including medical and dental insurance and vacation time.

The original Baylor plan required nurses to work two 12-hour shifts but paid them for 32 hours rather than the 24 that they worked.

An option seen more frequently these days is three 12-hours shifts for which nurses are paid for 40 hours rather than the 36 that they worked.

In other facilities, Baylor nurses are allowed to self-schedule within a certain set of guidelines.

Nurses hired under this type of weekend plan must work a certain number of hours between Friday morning and a specific end time, such as Monday or Tuesday morning. Of course, each facility creates its own guidelines that work best for it.

The key component of this plan is the weekend hours.

Although these nurses can often still pick up extra weekday hours to fill in for a co-worker or make a little extra, they primarily work solid weekend shifts, allowing other nurses on the floor to work primarily on weekdays.

The History of the Baylor Shift

The Baylor shift first started at the Baylor University Medical Center in Texas in 1981 after a severe shortage of nurses had developed. Nurse recruitment was difficult at the time, and nursing administrators were even turning to out-of-country recruitment options to meet hospital needs.

However, after noting a unique weekend work plan that was used at an Ohio rubber plant, the administration decided to try the same idea at BUMC and found great success.

In the initial trial, nurses worked two days over the weekend but were paid for three.

Amazingly, these shifts only added $5 per patient day to the operating costs of the facility. Even better, nurse turnover decreased, job satisfaction improved and dozens of vacant positions were filled almost immediately.

The plan quickly spread to many other hospitals across the United States and even to Canada, Egypt and England.

Where Are Baylor Shifts Used?

Not all hospitals use Baylor shifts these days. In fact, depending on the area of the country in which you practice, you may never see a Baylor shift advertised on your facility’s job board.

Today, the majority of these shifts continue to be offered in Texas and the surrounding states as well as in parts of the Midwest. Not as many are typically found on the West Coast.

Why Do Hospitals Use Baylor Shifts?

As you certainly already know, most hospitals do not like to give away money for nothing, so they must typically feel hard pressed to offer a Baylor shift position.

These plans are most often used when the hospital is having trouble recruiting nurses and when it is willing to pay a premium to fill difficult weekend hours.

In addition, a hospital may use Baylor shifts if it is has frequent nurse turnover or low job satisfaction rates among its nurses. Most nurses who work straight weekends find that the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages and are happy to stay on for the extra money.

Pros and Cons of Baylor Shifts

If you are like me, you will certainly want to consider the advantages and disadvantages of any potential change to your usual working hours.

For most people, Baylor shifts bring more good than bad, and I have noted the following benefits among those with whom I work.

  • Bigger paycheck
  • Full-time benefits
  • No weekday hours
  • Great rapport among nurses who frequently work together
  • Laid-back vibe for most weekend shifts
  • Improved ability to schedule appointments and complete errands during weekday hours
  • Ability to go to school during the week

However, as with any good thing, there are always a few downsides.

  • Very few free weekends over the year
  • Difficulty having a social life on the weekends
  • Difficulty finding someone to take over a shift
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Who Can Benefit Most from the Baylor Shift?

The Baylor shift works very well for a variety of nurses, especially those who are looking for a degree of constancy in their lives.

In particular, it is great for students who need to keep their weekdays clear for classes and who want to bring in a full-time paycheck without putting in full-time hours.

Parents of young children who have another parent to take over on weekends can also benefit greatly.

Of course, I have certainly enjoyed the straight weekend shifts that I have worked, loving the low-key feel on the floor and the laid-back approach that most doctors take to Saturday and Sunday rounds. There is usually less to do with the patients and more time to focus on the details of patient care.

I have noticed that these types of jobs do go quickly once they are posted, and in some facilities, nurses are on a waiting list to get this type of plan.

Clearly, this plan is one that most benefits the nurse although the facility will also appreciate finding a ready supply of dedicated weekend nurses.

Today, many nurses, particularly newly graduated individuals, are not even aware of what a Baylor shift is. When offered this position in a job interview, they may not know if it is a good fit for their busy lives.

However, I believe that most nurses will love the extra money they will get from this plan. Plus, they can always switch to new positions in a year or two if the hours become inconvenient.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know what the Baylor shift is…Is it a schedule that you’re interested in? – Why or Why not? Let us know below.

As a side note, if the Baylor shift seems like it’s the type of shift you want to work then you should see what Baylor shift nursing positions are available on the job board.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What does Baylor pay mean?

A Baylor plan is an incentive plan hospitals have that pays a nurse that works 36 over the weekend as if they worked 40 hours. It’s used as a recruitment tactic and hospitals do have variations of this.

How does Baylor shift work?

For a Baylor shift, you’ll get paid extra if you work a set number of shifts. An example would be working 12-hour shifts Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Even though it’s only 36 hours, you would get paid for 40 hours.


  1. I work Baylor hours. Double weekends, 2 16 hour shifts.
    They add 8 hours to each weekend. They deduct 30 minutes for lunch for each day x 4=2 hours in my pay period.
    I pick up 2 extra days during the week (8 hr shift) how should overtime be calculated? Very confused. Thank you!

  2. For the 72/80. Over two weeks can you work 5 shifts of 12 hrs, and 2 shifts of 8, which will give you 4 hrs of overtime? Or do you have to work 6 shifts of 12 hrs?

  3. I worked this schedule in the early 80’s. I was young & fit. However when you work 16 hr shifts back to back there is not enough time to get adequate rest. I worked every weekend for 5 years. The last 2 years my entity shifted to 2 twelve hour shifts on the weekend. This allowed me to get enough rest in between. However I believe it caused my mental health to suffer. Working every weekend did not help my personal relationships. I was going to school. After getting my MSN I left the hospital. I wanted a 8-1700 job with weekends off. I did inquire at my hospital entity for another position rather than bedside care. My new degree (which the hospital partially paid for) allowed me to be more particular. No other positions were offered. The best decision I could make was to leave. I got a job at a school teaching. Weekends & holidays off. I did contract work at local hospitals on the side to make up the pay difference. Now I’m old. But I can still teach! So glad during COVID that I was at my school or teaching online.

    1. I’m doing a little bit of teaching now, and so far I’m enjoying it. I’m glad you got a job you like. As much as I like the back-to-back shifts, to your point you’re not going to get enough time to rest and recharge before the next shift.

      “So glad during COVID that I was at my school or teaching online.”

      I wish I had that at the peak of the pandemic.

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