You’re fresh out of class. You’ve got plenty of clinical hours under your belt, and you’re ready to start your new career as a nurse practitioner or physician assistant. But the fight isn’t over.
Negotiating a nurse practitioner or physician assistant contract is no easy task. If you are a novice at these types of negotiations, we here at NP PA Recruiters want to simplify the legalese of said contracts to help you successfully negotiate your first NP/PA contract.
Here’s what you want to focus on when negotiating your first NP or PA contract.
1. Understanding the Contract Negotiation Process
It is imperative that you keep in mind that the whole negotiation process, at its basis, is a conversation. With that in mind, it should be easier to envision that this exchange is nothing more than two parties ironing our a partnership that works for both of them.
At the same time, this conversation is your opportunity to learn first hand about the potential employer and how you will be compensated for your time and expertise. Remain focused, calm, and neutral in body language. Maintaining a professional demeanor throughout this conversation is crucial. Make sure you are well-educated with compensation before you get the call to come in.
The negotiation should have a collaborative feel to it, not confrontational.
2. Know Your Worth
The goal of the contract negotiation process is to prove your worth to the clinic. Why should they hire you? How much/what kind of experience do you have diagnosing patients? How have you met personal, measurable goals?
Once you’ve collected all of that data, be aware of what salary averages are in your specific specialty. Do a little bit of homework before the meeting, and focus on national and regional averages for nurse practitioners or physician assistants. This number will be the benchmark that you can use to gauge whether or not you are receiving a competitive offer.
If you feel that the offer isn’t fair compared to other averages, ask them why they price the salary as such. Knowing your worth allows you to fight for the salary and benefits you need to ensure that you are happy with your new job. Don’t settle.
3. Understand Your Role & Responsibilities
Be sure to comb through the contract diligently. You will want to pay close attention to the terms that are outlined within it. Most importantly, make sure that your duties and responsibilities are clearly stated. This will give you a better understanding of what will be expected of you in this new position. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about any responsibilities that are unclear.
Next, peruse other factors like the amount of work hours, the work-site you will be potentially working at, any specific on-call duties you must adhere to, and time allocation if your expertise is required by multiple physicians.
Look for stipulations that say “with cause” when it comes to termination. It would be in your best interest to ask your potential employer if they can explain to you what the causes of termination could entail. Always be cautious regarding contracts that allow terminations with little or no cause or notice.
If the contract happens to be under a “without cause” termination policy, ensure that you get all the information you need regarding severance packages and how your unused benefits will be handled after your departure.
5. Probing and Proposing
Once you have proven your worth to a potential employer, it makes it much easier for you to ask some hard hitting questions.
It wouldn’t be out of line to ask about the clinic’s goals, focuses, and financial circumstances during the negotiation process. Probing for the right answers by asking open-ended questions about the clinic can help you determine if the clinic is the right fit for you.
Once you have made that determination, it’s time to negotiate specific terms that meet your financial requirements. At the same time, you need to essentially prove why you deserve to be paid your asking salary while highlighting how the practice will profit from hiring you.
On the other hand, there are plenty of additional benefits that can help to offset a salary such as but not limited to:
- Continuing Education opportunities with tuition and travel costs covered
- Vacation and family leave
- Bonus opportunities for meeting certain goals
- Professional memberships
- Transportation benefits (i.e. gas card, mass transportation pass, etc.)
- Subscriptions to medical journals and books
Don’t cut yourself short when proposing your terms to your new potential employer. All of these benefits serve to protect you along with your base pay. Fear of rejection just may be keeping you from securing a profitable career.
Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants are in demand and are both lucrative careers. Find out how NP PA Recruiters can help you find your new job by contacting us today for more information.