I help practices find people who will be excellent staff members for their office, and one thing that always comes up is what to pay people.
The first thing to consider is experience. I work with independent offices and I can tell you from lost and lots of experience, you are better off hiring experienced nursing staff rather than staff members who just finished their externship.
The nursing staff in an independent office has to be able to do it all – room patients, give vaccines, keep up with VFC, draw blood, answer phones, complete referrals, scan documents, understand insurance questions, schedule appointments, etc. This can be very overwhelming for someone who just finished school and is trying to learn what it means to perform the basic responsibilities.
The next thing to consider is what others are paying. If you are the one paying the lowest in your area, I guarantee that your staff is always looking for another position that pays more. The Bureau of Labor Statistics offers a lot of information on what the average wages are by geographical region. You can also ask colleagues to get an idea of that you should be paying.
Finally, look at your structure and pay accordingly. This is harder to change in the short term, but as you lose staff members or as you have staff members who you consider leaders in your office, consider allocating some of your payroll dollars to naming someone a clinical manager, even if you have an office manager. The added responsibility could really bring out the leader in a strong staff member and could free up your office manager to do more follow up with billing or more work on controlling expenses.
There’s no concrete answer on how much you should be paying your staff, but hopefully these points will help you feel more comfortable about what you are offering your employees.