When you find a hospital or other medical center where you have a potential job, it’s vital that you get the best contract. Physicians are more crucial than ever in today’s world, and your agreement should reflect that. A hospital worth working for will be open to contract negotiations, and this article will give you some tips for negotiating.
1. Have a List of Topics to Negotiate
If you come to the negotiation with vague ideas, you’ll come back empty-handed. When you’re in the negotiation room, you need to know what you want to be negotiated. For example, if you’re going to negotiate vacation and family time, you need to bring that up early, as a career as a physician isn’t known for its flexible schedule.
Consider negotiating a sign-on package that pays for moving expenses if you have to move. Alternatively, a package with an initial bonus can work well for you if there are any “no” or “not interested topics on the negotiation table, also look at alternative ways to phrase it.
Another tip when listing what you want to negotiate is to know what is the most important and least important in the list of demands. If you know that, you might be able to win over some of the most important of your terms, while terms of least importance can be sacrificed by you.
With negotiation, a winning strategy is to choose your battles wisely. If you fight against every part of the contract, you might come out with nothing. However, targeting some precise points can lead to you winning more than you lose.
2. Come to it Respectful, Yet Confident
When coming to a negotiation for a physician contract, or any contract for that matter, you must go to it with a respectful attitude. With negotiation, the goal is to have an agreement that works well for all parties, and listening to your employer’s words in good faith can ensure negotiations can go well.
Being respectful does not mean you have to bend if your terms aren’t immediately accepted. Instead, keep your cool and stay confident.
Try to avoid coming into negotiations when you’re in a bad mood. Getting emotional and lashing out at the employer can mean you won’t get what you want, but it can spell the end for negotiations.
3. Come With Research
A career as a physician means that you’ll use the latest in medical research to give your patients the best possible treatment. The same sentiment applies when you negotiate. Having research handy during your negotiations can not only make you look educated, but it can be a valuable negotiation tool.
For example, if you want more time off, show some studies indicating that time off can be great for your mental health. Also, bring in testimonials from other employees who have the terms you want.
While research is not the ultimate tool, it can be a valuable one and help you discover which employers care about their physicians and which are willing to cut corners. An honest employer will show interest in the research you bring and might reward you.
4. Hire a Contract Attorney
A physician’s contract can be complex, and many terms and conditions are written to be vague and possibly detrimental to you once you join the hospital. A physician contract lawyer can help you by interpreting the contract and helping you discover anything about the agreement.
When it comes to negotiations, you are your best representative. Coming to negotiations without the need for an intermediary is essential. Having a lawyer with you during negotiations can make you seem hostile. However, with contract interpretation, it would be best if you send the contract over to a lawyer. Selecting an attorney to assist can comb through the contract to look for things to change or look for awkward phrasing that can be detrimental down the road.
5. Remember, They’re Not the Only Hospital
Above all else, if negotiations fail with the physician contract lawyer and the medical center will not give you what you want, you can always turn away.
Great hospitals will want to listen to what you want in a contract, and they will communicate with you regularly. However, if a hospital does not listen and ignores your messages, you might want to try elsewhere.
Remember, the competition is intense nowadays. Even if it’s the only hospital in town, the world of telemedicine means that you can find employers (or even self-employ) who will be more willing to negotiate a contract.
Contract negotiation is challenging, and it can depend on the hospital and employer. These five tips can make it easier, yet it can still be challenging to get the terms you want. Remember, no contract is perfect, and it would be best to focus on the best aspects of an ideal agreement rather than trying to negotiate every little bit. Good luck with your negotiations.
About the Author:
Naomi Olson is a CFP® (Certified Financial Planner). She has a severe phobia of bridges and dirty balance sheets. She loves blogging, meditation, and loving Bull Market (her dog). Follow her on Twitter.
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