If you feel underpaid and the Salary Administrator in your Human Resources department consistently denies your requests to have your salary levels readjusted, do not give up. There are still ways you can make it happen. It helps first, however, to understand how the salary levels in your hospital are established. Once you have that understanding, you can then develop a plan to get your salary increased.
The most common method that hospitals use to set salary levels for all of their employees is called an external equity plan. Under this type of plan, your Salary Administrator compares the salary levels of all jobs in your hospital with similar jobs in other hospitals within your geographical area. This enables hospitals to set a fair rate of pay for each employee while minimizing significant disparities in salary that might cause employees to gravitate to the higher paying hospitals. Since salaries are the single major expenditure of hospital budgets, this method also assures that room rates and other charges are comparable to all hospitals in your area. Each hospital also must decide whether they want to pay their employees above, at, or below the market average. Hospitals wanting to attract the top candidates will set the salary at the high range of the market average. In addition, if there is a shortage of candidates for certain jobs in your geographical area, they might set salaries for those positions above the highest range in order to attract potential candidates.
Under an external equity plan, if your pay falls within the range of BMETs in your area and there is no shortage of qualified candidates for new job openings, you normally will have great difficulty getting your salary level increased. However, there are ways for you to make it happen. The important thing to remember is that your Salary Administrator is comparing your pay range with the pay of BMETs in other area hospitals. Since all BMETs whether grade level one, two, or three, etc., have similar job descriptions the way to differentiate yourself from the others is to rewrite your job description to demonstrate that you have expanded duties that BMETs in other the hospitals do not have.
Expanding your duties does not mean servicing equipment in more areas of your hospital. It means performing functions that are not normally considered attributable to BMETs. For example, you can expand you role and serve as a liaison to various hospital departments to assist them with their device related accreditation requirements. In addition to Joint Commission, many departments like the Laboratory and Imaging have to meet the accreditation requirements of other more specialized organizations. Some of them are quite rigorous and the managers of these departments would welcome your help. This does not mean that you would be servicing the equipment for these departments. You would only be working with the department heads to assure that their devices have the necessary documentation and testing to meet the requirements of these specialized organizations.
Another role you can play is to serve as an educator by offering to teach incoming nurses about the idiosyncrasies of the medical devices they will be using. Most nursing departments have their own nurse educators who give classes on how to operate the devices, but few of them understand the kinds of things that can go wrong or the common errors that nurses make when using equipment. Your experience makes you uniquely qualified to teach these kinds of classes.
The important thing is to use your imagination to find roles that are of value to other departments while, at the same time, are different from those commonly found in most BMET job descriptions. Once you have established yourself in those roles, you can add them prominently to your job description and then explain to your Salary Administrator that although your job is in many ways similar to BMETs in other hospitals, you have additional duties that require more responsibility and add greater value to your job.
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