Julie Kirst, Editor

For more than a decade, 24×7 has conducted a survey that tracks trends in compensation and satisfaction within the industry. Each month, this survey ranks as an article regularly accessed, making it one of the most read articles on our Web site for the year. Having once again conducted the survey, we present the results of this year’s pulse check in this issue.

After reading the comments from those who responded, your resilience and work ethic continue to stand out to me. While many of you feel overworked, underappreciated, and sometimes concerned about the future, it doesn’t keep you from taking pride in what you do and moving forward because you see the value in your work.

In the last couple of years, comments about needing more help dominated your suggestions, so it was good to read that this year some departments had actually been able to hire techs—although too many departments must still function with too few employees. I found it troubling that this year many felt uncertain about the profession’s future. This went beyond suggesting someone choose a different career with better monetary compensation or recognition; the comments addressed not being able to find work or not getting enough hours. Even though health care is touted as the growth sector and previously thought of as immune to economic woes, the reality is that downsizing exists (along with job loss), and many biomedical/clinical engineers can’t find work near where they live, they may not get full-time work, or they must struggle to complete tasks normally done with more help. One reader, apart from the survey and in response to an article, said even though people talk about health care being a growing industry, more than 50 people had been laid off at his hospital and over half do not have the opportunity to work a 40-hour week.

At this juncture, more than ever, it will benefit departments to band together to share ideas and to brainstorm with the goal of collectively shifting the current paradigm by creating new strategies. The shift won’t happen through mere evolvement, because once some hospital administrators see departments get by with less, they may not stop to ask if that is the most beneficial route; they will only note they are spending less money. It’s up to managers and directors to become true leaders and create new plans or solidify old ones that show a department as a value to the hospital. For those departments that have hired this year, I urge you to reach out to your local association and give a presentation on how you justified it.

For technicians carrying the weight, your resourcefulness can make a difference. If you have read about or you know of a more efficient way to complete your work, don’t hesitate to bring it to your manager’s attention. Implementing new procedures may save the money that will justify new positions.

While our survey results, which continue online with more charts and graphs, may not always match your exact situation, we hope they will paint an accurate picture of the current environment. Remember, challenges represent areas for collaboration among colleagues and can open discussions that lead to positive changes.

I invite you to e-mail me your comments on the survey. If you have ideas on how to work around the challenges you face, please send them to me and I’ll post them on our blog.

In closing, thank you all for your support of 24×7 this year. I wish you all a healthy and prosperous New Year.

Julie Kirst