Stress is everywhere these days, more so than usual. Ways to combat it are touted in books and magazines, and I have even received news items about devices that change color to tell you you’re stressed. I don’t think most of us need a “device” to tell us we are at our breaking point; our gut and overall tension will usually do that. One way to relieve stress is to write about it or talk about it, and know that someone will listen and then help make a change. Many of you did that in this year’s compensation survey, voicing very positive feelings about your profession, but clearly stating some very disturbing and stress-producing trends. Some things cited: servicing additional clinics or sites, which adds equipment, but no more help; layoffs that produce fewer techs but the same (or more) devices to service. Sound familiar? Sadly, this progression continued from last year, but many of you also stated that cooperation and understanding from management and administration go a long way toward alleviating this pressure.
I think one of the most troubling comments I read were those expressed by a number of people who said their raises depended on meeting service goals, but to meet those goals they had to forfeit vacation time. This represents an opportunity for managers and directors to show support by going to bat for their employees. Money is tight and hiring freezes may still exist, but how about a temp to cover vacations? For those of you who have come up against this problem and mastered it, blog about it with us and share your ideas—I know the industry will welcome them.
I found it interesting to read about the shifts in work and attitudes in this year’s survey. The results, which begin on page 10 and continue online with many more charts and graphs, can open discussions and lead the way to better communication within departments and among association members. Colleagues can brainstorm about reoccurring themes and challenges, and unite to find solutions.
One concern raised a few times centered on the fact that not all hospitals recognize different levels of biomedical equipment technicians (BMETs). Respondents said human resources generally then focused on just the BMET 1 salaries, which left a lot of experienced biomeds on the wrong side of the coin, so to speak. According to the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI), a BMET 1 represents an entry-level or junior BMET and a BMET 2 may have a 2-year degree or higher with an average of 8 years of experience. AAMI identifies a BMET 3 as a highly experienced or specialized BMET with an average of 12 years of experience. The association also factors education and certification into the categories. Hopefully, employers will recognize these variables and not simply look at a BMET 1 salary to set the salary bars.
This also points to another opportunity for regional associations to join together and advocate for uniformity in salaries based on the survey findings and these definitions. Whether your concern is workload, salary, training, or another topic, these discussions will not only serve as stress releasers, but with focus and commitment they can lead to change.
I invite you to submit your blog ideas, and I’ll post them on your behalf. In the meantime, happy reading and happy holidays.