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This award-winning blog supplements the articles in Hospital Infection Control & Prevention.

Hospital employee health professionals find they must do more with less

Hospital adminstrators may have a growing appreciation of the expanding role of their employee health professionals, but salary compensation and program resources are still lagging, according to a special report in the January 2013 issue of our sister publication, Hospital Employee Health.

In other words, do more, but don’t expect more resources. Money’s tight. Does that sound familiar? Employee health professionals have gained greater stature as the nation’s attention turns to preventive care and workplace wellness. Add to that a huge emphasis on influenza vaccination and a renewed regulatory focus in health care, which also place employee health at the forefront.

“To do more with less is generally the rule of thumb. [Occupational health nurses] are constantly doing more. They have less people to do the work,” says Ann Lachat, RN, BSN, COHN-S/CM, FAAOHN, CEO of the American Board for Occupational Health Nurses, a certification organization based in Hinsdale, IL, which recently released an analysis of the practice of occupational health nursing.

The salary picture improved slightly for employee health nurses, according to the 2012 HEH salary survey. Most respondents (61%) said they received a raise of 1% to 3%. But one in four said they had no change in salary.

The challenge for employee health professionals is to convince hospital leadership to make them key players in the quest for cost-effective care, says Barb Maxwell, RN, MHA, COHN-S, CCM, CWCP, QRP, FAAOHN, Division Director Company Care in Occupational Health Services for HCA’s- West Florida Division in St. Petersburg.

“They have got to get in front of the senior leaders to communicate the value that they bring to the organization, and how they can partner with that organization to help with the Affordable Care Act,” she says.

–Michele Marill

For full coverage of this important topic see our exclusive salary survey supplement inserted in the January 2013 issue of HEH