As a newly minted physician, you have defied the odds to gain entrance into a competitive medical school, pored laboriously over textbooks in the library to achieve high scores on the USMLE step examinations, matched into a residency program to further your training, and you have finally received that employment offer from the hospital of your choice! As ecstatic as this moment is, after nearly ten years of continuous work, the next decisions you make could greatly influence the next chapter of your life and career. These career-defining decisions are determined by one singular entity: the employment agreement.
The majority of early-career physicians have yet to negotiate a fair employment agreement, as their schooling and residency programs were likely based on a standardized package that did not differ among matriculants. However, the ability for an employment agreement to vary increases exponentially once you become a physician. How can you be certain that you are being fairly compensated for your hours worked? How do you determine how shifts are assigned to you? What about overtime and call time? Benefits? Each of these items is eminently important to consider before signing on the dotted line and agreeing to begin a career at a new institution. The following will discuss key considerations and best practices for early-stage physicians as they negotiate fair employment agreements with potential future employers.