Emergency Medical Staff Salaries Rise More Than Management's

November 20, 2006 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A continuing shortage of nurses and growing shortage of physicians has meant emergency department staff salaries are surging while compensation for emergency department (ED) directors and managers lags behind.

According to an American Health Consultants newsletter, the ED Management 2006 Salary Survey showed the greatest percentage of ED physician and nurse managers (38.98%) received a modest increase of between 1% and 3% over the previous year. Another 27.12% received increases of between 4% and 6%.

While 23.08% of survey respondents in 2004 reported annual gross income of between $80,000 and $89,999, 21.67% of respondents to the 2006 survey said their income fell within that range. The figures for those making $90,000-$99,999 rose slightly, from 13.85% of respondents to 15%, according to the newsletter. However, for those making $100,000-$129,999, the increase was from 13.85% of respondents in 2004 to 21.67 in 2006.

Meanwhile, a survey of emergency physicians conducted by Daniel Stern & Associates, a Pittsburgh-based physician recruitment firm specializing in the field of emergency medicine, in partnership with PhysicianWork.com found that, while total compensation for emergency physicians increased 6%, ED directors’ total compensation remained basically flat. Daniel Stern & Associates president Daniel Stern said in the newsletter this is due to the problem of recruiting talented staff.

According to Stern physician directors try to entice staff with more money, and will often be replaced with a staffing agency if they are not successful in recruiting. He points out that directors would do well to realize other factors that attract staff.

Nancy Bonalumi, president of the Emergency Nurses Association and director of emergency and trauma nursing at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said in the newsletter that work/life experience is one of the biggest attractions for nurses, and many organizations are looking to creative scheduling to aid in recruiting.

Other non-monetary incentives to lure staff suggested in the newsletter included: a 403(b) plan with an employer match, having equipment necessary to do a job well that is in good working condition, or paying malpractice insurance premiums.