As a medical practitioner, one of the most important parts of any job search comes after the interviews – when an offer is made and it’s time to negotiate the contract. Even in today’s environment, when job seekers often have the upper hand, it’s the part that many physicians, nurses, and other healthcare pros are the least comfortable with.

Once you receive an attractive offer, you may be tempted to just accept it, sign the contract, and go out and celebrate. But the fact is, a poorly negotiated job offer can lead to lower-income, poorer working conditions, and an overall unhappy environment for you.

On the other hand, good negotiation and careful review of the contract can make all the difference! Here are four important tips to consider for the next time you’re about to sign a contract.


Tip #1: Know What you Want Going In

Understanding what’s important to you before you begin the negotiation phase will help ensure you at least get most of what you want. Before you sit down with a potential employer, make sure to determine what’s most important to you.

Are you looking for the most money possible? Do you want the right work-life balance? Are you hoping for career advancement? More one-on-one time with patients? Make a list and talk it over with a trusted co-worker or significant other.

Tip #2: Know What you Bring to the Party

Before considering a new position or negotiating an employment contract, it’s important to take a personal inventory of yourself as well as your skillset. Think carefully about what you can bring to the practice or organization.

What are your special skills? Do you have any professional certifications? What computer programs and EMR (Electronic Medical Record) systems do you know?  Have you published any articles that will benefit the organization? Taking stock of your capabilities are not only great negotiation tools but will help you set your financial and professional benchmarks.

Tip #3: Ask the Right Questions

Once you’ve completed the first two steps, take the time to learn as much as you can about your potential employer and the position by asking lots of questions. And don’t feel embarrassed, it’s important to ask questions of your future employers. Here are some examples:

  • How is compensation structured?
  • Is there a base salary with incentive or bonus?
  • Is there a non-compete? If so, what are the terms?
  • What are the schedule expectations?
  • Is call coverage required?
  • What benefits are offered?

Tip #4: Know What You’re Signing

When healthcare professionals end up dissatisfied with the contract terms they agreed to, it’s typically because they didn’t read the contract closely beyond learning how much they’d earn. In the head rush that comes with a new offer, it’s easy to overlook the magnitude of some provisions – figuring they’ll never come into play.

So, once you’ve completed negotiations, be sure to seek legal advice and don’t sign anything until you have an attorney look at the contract. Attorneys will be able to clarify the “legalese” and identify any red flags a lot easier than you. This way you’ll find it much easier to understand the terms and be comfortable with what you’re signing.


As a leading family- and woman-owned healthcare employment agency, SpotOn Recruiting is experienced in helping physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants find great jobs nationwide. If you’re a health professional looking to make your next career move, visit our website and see how our experienced team can help you meet your goals!  

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