If you are a physician and are looking to join a new practice, either as a recent graduate or as a seasoned doctor, understanding the employment agreement is an important part of the process. This contract outlines the expectations and responsibilities of each party, and each contract varies based on different factors.
The contract defines the employment conditions, which impact professional fulfillment and personal happiness. Negotiation is common before the signing of the contract.
Basic aspects of a physician employment contract
According to the American Medical Association, some of the basic elements that every contract should address include:
- Type of medicine practiced
- Daily duties
- Number of work hours, including on-call hours, required
- Compensation model
- Benefits package
- Contract term
Because there are a lot of legalese and unknown terms in contracts, it is always a good idea to ask for clarification if needed. You should also double-check that the written terms are the same spoken ones discussed during the hiring process.
Negotiation is common
The American College of Physicians discusses contract negotiation and the best way to approach it. Two mistakes new physicians make are either thinking they have no right to negotiate or negotiating every aspect of the contract. Instead, the goal should be to come up with a win-win situation. Flexibility and creativity help smooth the negotiation process.
The best time for negotiation is shortly after the practice makes the employment offer. After reading through the contract thoroughly, determine the most important aspects that you want to change to make your employment experience one that you will enjoy, while being fair to your employer. You should also keep in mind that how you act during the negotiation process will make a big impression, so act professional, respectful and courteous.