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Negotiating healthcare employment contracts

Receiving a job offer is good news for a health care professional who is seeking employment. But, signing on the bottom line of unfair or unacceptable employment contracts for medical professionals can lead to dissatisfaction or reduce their professional growth. An effective negotiation strategy may prevent this.

Applicants should begin negotiations with a clear understanding of what they are seeking and what is minimally acceptable for job satisfaction. Both parties should exercise creativity and flexibility during negotiations. They should seek a realistic agreement that meets both parties' needs and fairly consider suggestions and modifications. The most favorable time for negotiations is the time after the employer made a job offer. But, an applicant's behavior and comments during negotiations will be long remembered afterward.

Practitioners entering negotiations should learn as much as possible about the practice or health care facility and plan what they want to accomplish during negotiations. Partners, other practitioners, receptionists and everyone else must be treated with courtesy and respect. Applicants seeking a concession should explain its reason, benefits to the employer and patients and why it is fair. Applicants should be willing to trade something in exchange for an employer's financial concession.

Priorities should be set and ranked in order of importance and whether they are negotiable. The easiest issues need to be addressed first, the hardest ones in the middle and lighter ones at the conclusion. Unresolved issues may be addressed after most of the bargaining is finished, when most of the issues have been addressed and there is more incentive to finally conclude an agreement.

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