Nurse practitioners are in an enviable position of being in high demand and enjoying solid levels of job security. The significant need for nurses and nurse practitioners means that those practicing nursing also tend to have several options for employment, with new opportunities continuously arising. Given this reality, it is reasonable for nurses to think hard about what they want in a job so that they can put their best foot forward during negotiations to increase the chances that they are happy in their new position and that the fit works well.
Here are 4 things nurse practitioners should consider negotiating before accepting a new job.
- Dedicated time for administrative work. As you know, the administrative work associated with practicing medicine is laborious and time consuming. If your work schedule is completely filled with patient appointments, there is no time left for this administrative work to get done except for outside of office hours. Negotiating for protected administrative time may be one of the most important things you can negotiate to help keep your schedule sane and predictable.
- Funding for continuing education. Continuing education is an important part of practicing medicine. Staying current in medicine is not only important for your career, but it is important for your employer as well. Negotiate ahead of starting a new job how much time you will be given for conferences and continuing education courses and how much you can spend annually to attend these events. Be sure to incorporate reimbursement costs associated with travel.
- Malpractice insurance. Malpractice insurance, or medical professional liability coverage, is likely to be covered in larger institutions, but if you are joining a smaller organization such as a private practice, you should be aware that malpractice insurance may not be covered. Finding out your potential employer’s policies on malpractice insurance is an important thing to do upfront, and asking for coverage can go a long way for you financially.
- The schedule you want – inside and outside the office. Consider what type of schedule best fits your lifestyle. For instance, is it more important to you to maintain normal business hours, or would you benefit from doing some longer days and having a day off each week? If you have a preference for how your schedule should work, negotiating that from the start is a great way to allow your work schedule and personal schedule to complement one another. You may also want to consider your schedule while you are working. Offices will often book you for 15-minute appointments, and at the start of your job, you may feel you need more time. You will not only be seeing patients, but you’ll be learning office protocols and software and having more time per patient could reduce the stress of the transition to this new job.
Takeaway: As a nurse practitioner, you and your skills are in demand. You have worked hard to get to where you are, and now you can reflect on what you want out of your career and your personal life and determine the best things to ask for to increase the chances that you have the work-life balance that you hope for.