Know Your Worth: Contract Negotiation for NPs

You can be  comfortable talking about compensation. Here’s how to start the discussion.

Nurse practitioner and employment contract
Negotiating your NP employment contract doesn’t have to be anxiety producing.

If the thought of salary negotiation makes you uncomfortable, remember this: nurse practitioners (NPs) are a valuable asset to the hiring organization. When it comes to contract negotiation for NPs, your skills and knowledge are in demand.

The contributions of nurse practitioners, APRNs, physician assistants, and other advanced practice providers help the hospital or clinic turn a profit, so you deserve to be compensated fairly.

New grads often ask whether they should negotiate at all. While it’s true that new NPs may have less leverage than experienced professionals, every candidate should negotiate an offer before they accept it!

Contract Negotiation for NPs is a Conversation

Think of contract negotiation as a conversation, rather than a struggle. You are preparing to enter into a partnership with a new hospital or clinic. This is your opportunity to learn about the compensation structure for the position. Negotiating can also give you clarity on how the employer rewards performance financially, now and in the future.

Your approach should be collaborative, not combative. The last thing you want to do is to make the employer question the offer at this stage in the game. So be prepared and well-educated on the issue of compensation before you sit down at the table. It’s also best to keep emotion out of it by remaining calm and focused.

Coming To An Agreement

Your window of opportunity to negotiate salary comes after you’ve received the offer. Up to this point, it’s best not to discuss compensation. During the interview process, you want to keep the employer focused on your skills, experience, and qualifications so they avoid evaluating you on the basis of salary alone.

Once you receive the offer, it’s great to be excited, but don’t feel pressured to accept immediately. We recommend that candidates ask for a day or two to think before responding. Use this time to evaluate the offer objectively and to do your research.

Know Salary Averages: Look at the national and regional salary averages for nurse practitioners. For example, we have an annual salary report of average NP, PA, and CNS salaries. Use this information as a benchmark to judge whether the offer is competitive. If you don’t feel the salary offered is in range, it is fair to ask: “I know the market rate for this position is around $90,000. Can we discuss how this offer compares?”

Understand The Types of Compensation: Compensation for nurse practitioners is comprised of more than just the starting salary. Find out how the employer handles performance increases, bonuses, relocation reimbursement, tuition funding and/or eligibility for grants. Factor in cost-of-living as part of the equation if you’re moving to a new city.

Consider the Full Package: In addition to the base salary, you are likely eligible for insurance coverage, vacation time, retirement contributions, flexible work schedules, and other perks that can help you financially.

Remember What You Value: There are probably many reasons you went into the healthcare field that weren’t financially-driven. In addition to the salary, consider whether the NP position lets you practice to the full extent of your capabilities, while also accommodating your desired quality-of-life.

The goal is for you to be as happy with the compensation package as you are with the new position. Don’t settle. If you know what you want, it’s important to advocate for yourself in the beginning. Consider the negotiation table the first step along a profitable and productive journey with your new employer.

More Help to Master Your NP Job Search

I hope this information helps you navigate the job search process and put your best foot forward. If you’d like to talk through job opportunities and get help identifying the right job for you, feel free to send me an email at jill@melnic.com. We also invite you to create a free Melnic Profile. We’d love to help you!