Compensation in O&P, a Complex Formula

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By Andrea Spirdgen

As I write this,I have just returned from the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (AOPA) 2017 World Congress, where I had the opportunity to speak to numerous O&P professionals who are passionate about the work they do every day and the patients they care for. If you asked why they do what they do, I believe the individuals I spoke with would tell you they do it because of the difference they make in people's lives. But, most of us also need financial compensation for our work. It is the salary, satisfaction, and work environment aspects of the O&P profession that we focus on in this issue of The O&P EDGE.

This issue spotlights The O&P EDGE biennial salary survey. The survey is intended to provide some demographic benchmarks for the profession, as well as salary, compensation, and certification trends. While this year's overall sample size was relatively small, the data nevertheless can provide employees and employers with a window into current competitive compensation packages. We would like to thank all those who participated in the survey.

A related feature, "Pay and Job Satisfaction," examines current research about financial compensation and job satisfaction with some surprising conclusions. Although pay plays a significant role in choosing a job, and compensation perceived as fair is important to job satisfaction, research has found that employees can be content with their pay yet dissatisfied with their jobs. For O&P providers, like those I talked to at the AOPA World Congress, intrinsic motivators such as providing quality patient care and having meaningful work often play a considerable role in how happy they are with their jobs, unrelated to their compensation packages. Thus, the relationship between pay and job satisfaction is more complex than it first appears.

Our final feature tackles an upsetting issue within healthcare professions, that of workplace violence visited upon healthcare workers. Much of the documented literature on this topic focuses on physicians and nurses, with related studies on allied healthcare professionals such as physical and occupational therapists. However, O&P professionals are not immune to the risk, and studies with related populations can provide insight about prevention and healing after an incident. This article provides background and resources for practitioners to formulate prevention plans and suggestions to help de-escalate volatile situations.

I hope you enjoy this issue dedicated to the employment side of O&P. Happy reading.