- 22Apr 30, '12 by dzadzeyThe other day, our CNO and VP of Human Resources came to our unit to discuss issues and concerns we have regarding our unit, the hospital and our jobs. I brought up the topic of CEO compensation.
Over a six year period, our wages have been flat with inflation taken into account. Over a similar six the CEO of our health system saw a nearly 23% increase in compensation which is anywhere from 65 to 9% above the rate of inflation, depending on how it is calculated. Initially, the answer I got simply left me gobsmacked.
In regards to the issue raised regarding CEO compensation and flat associate wages, she stated, in effect, that "The organization has done well financially," and that the "CEO is driving that ship". She further stated that "the CEO has got to be rewarded". Now, if the organization has done so well, why have the benefits of this not been seen in the form of higher wages...beyond mere cost-of-living increases...and a better health insurance plan?
What really gave me pause though, was what she said about the work of the CEO being a "high stakes game". Initially, I was stunned, then angry, but now it's just a lingering sadness about how distorted the system has become. After all, on a daily basis we deal deal with the suffering of patients and their families in acute and critical care settings. Our every action is fraught with consequences to the lives of our patients and their families. How much higher can the stakes be than the lives of our patients and their families?
- 4Apr 30, '12 by HM-8404Looking at this solely as a business decision I understand the reason you were given. As much as we like to pat ourselves on the back any "worker bee" can be replaced by the end of business the same day. The company will never miss a beat, there will be no major changes that have to be made during the adjustment period. A CEO on the other hand is quite different. Using the hospital setting as an example, how hard would it be to replace a single nurse, respiratory therapist, even physician? Now, how easy would it be to replace the CEO of a hospital? One with the experience not to totally destroy the profits of the hospital. Don't forget that is where your pay comes from. The CEO will have at the least an MBA with 15+ years experience and a proven track record. How many of the nurses that complain about the pay discrepancy stopped with an ADN? I would equate this to the career CNA/PCT complaining about the pay difference between them and the RN. I would guess your advice to the CNA would be to stop complaining and do what I did to get where I am.
- 5Apr 30, '12 by RockSolidYou were very courageous to raise this issue in a company meeting. Really. The stuff about "high stakes game" and "driving the ship" is just a rationalization, something to say. It' s meaningless, and the person who said it may not even believe it themselves. But it sure is hard to listen to when you know that what you do actually does have life or death consequences. With all due respect to any CEO's out there, what they do simply does not. It's all about greed and what you can get away with, which has somehow become OK in our society.
For a quick insight into this, see: Where The Productivity Went - NYTimes.com
It wasn't always this way, and maybe things will turn around and we can regain our bearings as a society. But in the meantime it isn't fair and I know that if I think about it too much it just breaks my heart. What helps, I think, is to focus on the tremendous difference you make as a nurse for the patients you work with and the families you come into contact with. This is what it's about, really. This is what counts. But still, it ain't fair...
- 8Apr 30, '12 by emtrobinI agree that the CEO has a very stressful and important job, BUT anyone is replaceable! As a past business manager you learn quickly your job is impossible to handle without people under you doing a great job and you find ways to reward that devotion. That woman needs to quit patting herself on the back so much and realize how important every member of her team is.
- 6Apr 30, '12 by aknottedyarnThe reality is that there are too many people with MBAs. Those CEOs have got to show profit to their shareholders. If they don't, they are gone. Someday soon we will see a revolt of the shareholders who will stop paying these terrible salaries to the CEOs. I just read an article of one such Fortune 500 one who took the CEO to task for asking for greater compensation. It was cutting into their profits too much.
Unfortunately nurses have become part of an assembly line. For some patients it is pretty clear. Bring em in, slap new hardware in knees and hips, send out for no assurance of another 50,000 miles. For others it is a bit more difficult. That was the definitive time in the history of unionization for assembly line workers, when the demands did not keep up with the rewards to the owners. Could be that more nurses will see the need to band together rather than flail separately.
- 2Apr 30, '12 by aknottedyarnPBS - American Experience: Woodrow Wilson | People
Just a bit of history that people seem to forget. When the rails came our government was in bed with the railroaders. It took a great deal to break free of that tyranical time in our history. Debs was only one of the influential people who stood up for the little guy.