Consider this: In the San Francisco area, a nurse with a bachelor’s degree can hope to start out with a salary of $104,000. The salary for a nursing professor with a Ph.D. at University of California San Francisco starts at about $60,000.
This goes a long way toward explaining why nursing schools turned away 42,000 qualified applications in 2006-2007—even as U.S. hospitals scramble to find nurses.
We need more nurses. Let’s raise the salary. Hey, we still don’t have enough nurses! We’re paying a great salary, why don’t we have enough nurses?
This is the discussion going on in recruiting meetings at hospitals in San Francisco. (I have no knowledge of salaries in other places, as I am not a nurse and I do not work in this particular field.)
The solution, it appears, is to raise, not the salaries of the nurses, but the salaries of the instructors. And hire more of them. And train more nurses–42,000 people wanted to be nurses and were turned away. And we still don’t have enough nurses.
This is a problem that faces many areas. We need more people to do X, but there is a limited supply of people available to do X. So, we pay more money, but without people to teach others, there is still a limited supply. Business’s (or hospital’s) hands are tied. Right?
I’m not quite sure how this can apply to nurses–haven’t thought it completely through–but here’s an interesting solution: The Saint John Fisher Wegmans School of Pharmacy
In January 2005, the College announced that Robert B. Wegman, Chairman of Wegmans Food Markets, Inc., donated $5 million to be used for the creation of the Wegmans School of Pharmacy. The School, which opened in the Fall of 2006 with an inaugural class of 55 students, is the first of its kind in Monroe County and the fifth in the State of New York.
For two years, Fisher explored the viability of establishing a School of Pharmacy to help alleviate the projected shortfall of qualified pharmacists for the communities and hospitals in Central and Western New York.
Oh, how nice, you say. Mr. Wegman was being noble and good in getting more pharmacists into the community. Right? Noble. Good. Not at all self interested. Right? Well, wrong.
Note he is chairman of Wegmans Food Markets, inc. (Or rather, he was. He died a while ago. His son, Danny, is now the head of the business.) What does this grocery store chain happen to have inside it? Drum roll please…Pharmacies! And where are the bulk of it’s stores located? Central and Western New York!
Rather than fret about the lack of pharmacists, this company did something about it. Now, granted, it would have been cheaper to just continue to pay pharmacists more and more money and try to steal them from competitors. But, companies like to do charitable things, so Mr. Wegman directed his money in a way that helped the community and his business.
Talk about thinking outside of the box.
Plus, I’m sure he got a nice tax deduction.
(hat tip: Kevin, MD)