A nurse practitioner (NP) looks for a job that best fits his or her skills, interests, and experience. But, what happens after the new position is offered to them? Here the negotiation for the nurse practitioner contract commences!
You may not have spent a great deal of time or effort learning the fine points of contract negotiation, even if you just received your nurse practitioner certification. Nevertheless, negotiating salary, benefits, and other stipends in your contract are integral to your career and personal success.
As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurse practitioners earned an average annual salary of $111,840 in 2019 and received an average hourly wage of $53.77. Effectively negotiating a nurse practitioner contract is critical to finding a position that rewards professionally and financially.
This article will offer tips on how to successfully negotiate your NP contract. However, before we get into details, let’s discuss the potential reasons why these deals often fail.
Why Do NPs Have Trouble Negotiating Contracts?
It’s not in a nurse’s nature to negotiate. During negotiation, nurses’ best qualities – caring and empathy – are considered a liability. However, when negotiating, they need to put these characteristics aside and focus on their communication skills, attention to detail, and leadership capabilities.
Things to Keep in Mind When Preparing for a Nurse Practitioner Contract Negotiation
After receiving an offer, the first step in Preparing for a Nurse Practitioner Contract Negotiation is to find out as much information as possible about the position and the company. Nurse practitioners should consider some questions when negotiating a nurse practitioner employment contract; these include:
- Are you being paid by the hour, by the day, or by the patient?
- How much will your practice charge per visit for your services?
- What will the value of your services be in terms of the practice’s net worth?
- What will be the daily or weekly patient load?
- Are there any benefits included?
You must know that these benefits are negotiable: medical insurance, leaves (annual and sick), travel reimbursement, malpractice insurance, and training opportunities.
You must also determine whether the practice’s expectations for the position will correspond to your experience and training as a nurse practitioner. It shouldn’t involve tasks and responsibilities that are outside your area of expertise.
In addition, if you keep the following factors in mind, you may be able to overcome them and strike a better deal.
- Negotiation Is Gender-Biased
Since men negotiate more aggressively, they earn almost 25% more money than women. Women – especially nurses – tend to be expected to be accommodating, considerate, and relationship-oriented. As a result, women have difficulty being assertive negotiators. In contrast, society expects male nurses – and men in general – to be competitive, profit-driven, and aggressive. Thus, men negotiate more readily and discuss pay and benefits more openly.
- The Need For Nurses Is Greater Than Ever
The 2011 Institute of Medicine report, “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,” predicts that nurse practitioners will play a critical role in caring for the aging baby boomer population, as well as serving as champions in primary care and providing care throughout the country. It is essential for nurses to earn a fair salary that reflects their valued contributions, and fair salary negotiation can benefit the industry as a whole.
Tips To Negotiate Your Contract Confidently
You can improve your chances of striking a better deal by following the tips below.
- Plan Your Discussion
- Investigate The Salaries Of Nurse Practitioners
Hospital networks and locations can vary in the U.S. Online searches can be helpful, but the best resources will be other nurse practitioners. Find out how much salary you can expect after graduation from previous clinical preceptors or professors.
- Take Note Of The Practice’s Background
How big is the community, and how many patients are there? Is there a large number of medical professionals?
- Confidence Is Key!
Sit up straight and avoid fidgeting to improve your body language. Make sure you maintain eye contact and speak in a pleasant tone.
- Don’t Accept The First Offer
First salary offers may seem lowball if they’re below average or not where you expected them to be. But what should you counteroffer?
- Increase The Proposal By At Least 10%
Taking into account your education and experience level, you should also determine market rates for the position in your area and adjust the counter offer based on that.
- Be Prepared To Explain Why You Want More
Have you earned any additional certifications or credentials? How much experience do you have in your niche? In the event that a prospective employer asks you why you’re raising your salary, make sure to explain why you deserve it.
- Don’t Focus on Salary Only – Consider Other Perks as Well
- Negotiate An Orientation Time
Ideally, a newly graduated nurse should have three to six months of mentored orientation. Orientation times discussed informally may turn out to be shorter than agreed upon, so include this time in your contract.
- If You’re Willing To Take Shifts After Work, Make Sure You Get Paid For It
It is a regular part of employment in some practices to work after-hours and on weekends; on-call hours receive compensation in addition to regular hours.
- Negotiate Your Contract Every Year
It’s not unusual for an employment agreement to renew each year automatically. Holding a yearly review of your work and discussing new contract terms is standard and allows you to renegotiate salary and other contract terms.
- Get Rid Of Any Restrictive Covenants
Restrictive covenants (or non-compete clauses) prohibit you from working in the area around the practice for a while (typically one to five years) after you leave the practice. A restrictive covenant should never be incorporated into a contract. NPs are required to move or commute long distances because of these restrictions, and these restrictions continue to apply even if they leave the organization.
If the employment agreement is to be terminated, both parties must agree on the terms. The practice should be required to provide the nurse practitioner with the same three-month notice when they resign as health care providers do. Getting credentialed and finding another job can take 90 days or more.
- Negotiate A Bonus With The Company
A performance bonus may be awarded based on your performance and the success of your practice. In some cases, bonuses are determined by relative value units (RVU). Providers are paid according to their RVU, which is based on the extent of their work, the resources they need, and their expertise in providing patient care. Physicians get year-end bonuses, so why not you?
- Don’t Make The Decision Right Away
Consider the proposal for at least a day before deciding whether the job and contract are right for you.
When the right contract is negotiated, the NP profession benefits from the respect and satisfaction of practice management. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and discuss!
Even the most confident nurse practitioner may find contract negotiation intimidating, regardless of their experience. Poor salary negotiations set back NPs who interviewed before you, reflecting negatively on your career. You will be able to offer less to your colleagues below you if you accept less.
Any nurse practitioner can benefit from effective contract negotiation, regardless of their experience level. It sets the stage for a rewarding career no matter what path you follow when you know how to determine an appropriate level of compensation for a prospective job.