Medical residents seek better benefits, increased bargaining power

A movement is building among medical residents for improved working conditions and a more transparent residency process, according to the International Business Times.

First-year residents make less money than residents did in 1974, despite rising costs of living, FierceHealthcare previously reported. And because residents are unable to negotiate their employment contracts, hospitals can use residents as a significant revenue source, much like colleges treat their athletes.

But now medical students are increasingly advocating for better salaries and benefits, according to the IBT article.

Some hospitals' residents have formed collective bargaining units to negotiate these issues with management. And they have had some success. For example, this year New York City awarded a $1,000 bonus to members of the Committee of Interns and Residents/SEIU Healthcare, while Rutgers University residents negotiated a $20 meal credit for working overnight or extended shifts as well as an additional $50 toward their annual stipend. 

Collective bargaining for residents may benefit patients as well. Some residents ask their hospitals to set aside funds so they can purchase necessary equipment or implement patient safety initiatives. Many of these resident programs reduce a chance of patient readmissions or improve recovery from surgery, according to the article.

To learn more:
- read the article