Magazine article Drug Topics

Hospitals Raise the Stakes in R.Ph. Compensation

Magazine article Drug Topics

Hospitals Raise the Stakes in R.Ph. Compensation

Article excerpt

BUSINESS/MANAGEMENT

Chain pharmacies have long been luring many of the best and brightest pharmacists with lucrative salaries and other perks, much to the chagrin of hospitals. But that situation is changing as salary and perk wars become more competitive. Manpower shortages are forcing hospitals to find new ways to attract top-tier pharmacists.

One tactic that seems to be working is the offering of hefty signing bonuses. Even the U.S. Air Force has jumped on the bonus bandwagon, recently announcing that it's dangling a $30,000 signing bonus in front of pharmacists in return for a 48-month commitment to active duty.

Tired of watching good pharmacists bolt to higher paying chain or industry positions, Huntsville Hospital in Huntsville, Ala., decided to offer a $25,000 signing bonus for pharmacists in exchange for a threeyear employment pledge. In addition to the hefty bonus, the 901-bed facility is offering a starting salary of around $79,650 (including shift differential) and increases to approximately $86,650 for pharmacists with more than 10 years of hospital experience.

A pharmacy supervisor at Huntsville Hospital confirmed the bonus and salary amounts but told Drug Topics that she couldn't elaborate on the specifics of the hospital's total compensation package.

While Huntsville`s generous bonus is the exception rather than the rule in the hospital sector, some industry observers believe there is an increase in health systems willing to up the ante in an attempt to address a nationwide hospital pharmacist shortage.

"It doesn't surprise me," said Ron DeChant, R.Ph., executive director of Illinois-based Management Recruiters of Lincolnshire. While acknowledging that not every hospital is in a position to offer that high a carrot, DeChant told Drug Topics that it makes a lot of sense in a very competitive market. …

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