Shortage of Health Care Workers Drives Impressive Benefit Offerings

July 31, 2007 ( - Findings from Martin, Fletcher's annual physician compensation survey and nursing and allied health industry trends and benefits report indicate seemingly generous sign-on bonuses and other benefits are driven by the shortage of health care talent.

Among nurses and allied health professionals (health care workers other than physicians or nurses), Martin, Fletcher found 99% of hospitals offered relocation benefits, with an average stipend of $5,280, according to a press release. In addition, 88% of hospitals paid signing bonuses, averaging $7,500.

Full college loan forgiveness was made available to 40% of nurses, CRNAs and pharmacists and 88% of allied health professionals and nurses were offered full health insurance, the release said.

The western region of the U.S. is one of the highest paying regions across most allied health professional and nursing specialties. The northeastern region of the U.S. is one of the highest paying regions for nurses.

Among 17 medical specialties Martin, Fletcher reviewed, the top five paying specialties were:

  • Cardiology (invasive) – average salary $460,000,
  • Radiology – average salary $425,000,
  • Orthopedic – average salary $424,000,
  • Gastroenterology – average salary $405,000, and
  • Urology – average salary $380,000.

The top three incentives used by medical groups to recruit physicians, according to the release, were production-driven incomes starting year one, buy-in based on A/R, and full pension for retirement.

“On the surface, these sign-on bonuses and other benefits may seem unusually generous, but in our experience of job placements nationwide, we have found that shortages among health care workers are real and significant,” said John Buffa, CEO of Martin, Fletcher, in the press release. “Medical technology is advancing at a furious rate, the population is aging rapidly, and more states are mandating higher nurse-to-patient ratios. The availability of better pay to attract more workers will play a significant role in resolving this problem until employee supply can stem demand.”

For a complete copy of the 2007 Martin, Fletcher Physicians Compensation Survey Results and the 2007 Martin, Fletcher Nursing & Allied Healthcare Annual Compensation and Benefits Report, go to or call Jody Talbert or Gabe Heckt at 800.668.8822.