When Staying Up Late Should Pay Off


Most people believe that nocturnists should get paid 20% to 33% more than their day-shift counterparts, according to a recent survey at Results of the survey, however, do not necessarily reflect the realities of supply and demand in local markets, according to members of SHM’s Practice Analysis Committee.

Practice size, volume of work, and the inconvenience of working at night contribute to the amount nocturnists get paid, says Leslie Flores, MHA, a committee member and partner in Nelson Flores Hospital Medicine Consultants. “We usually see a range between [a] 15% to 20% premium for nocturnist work,” she adds.

Survey respondents were asked to choose how much of a premium nocturnists should get paid, with the answers ranging from 20% to 60% to the same as everyone else. Two-thirds of the 212 respondents chose 20% or 33% bonus pay for nocturnists; 17% chose “the same as everyone else”; and another 17% chose 50% or 66%.

Committee member Troy Ahlstrom, MD, SFHM, senior chief information officer at Hospitals of Northern Michigan, says the survey does not reflect the reality of important factors that influence the market, such as supply and demand for nocturnists, local and regional factors that impact the level of supply and demand, and economic influence nationally.

“If you ask a practice manager or a hospital administrator that question, they would say nocturnists should make whatever is necessary to meet the demands for filling that job,” Dr. Ahlstrom says. “It’s a market-driven phenomenon.”

Hospitals don’t want to pay more, he notes, but they do want “to pay the right amount for the right job.”

Check out our website for more information about hospitalist compensation.

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