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Click Here for Nurse Practitioner Contract Review : General Advice for Nursing Grads Making a Career Choice
Difference between a Physician and a Nurse Practitioner
A doctor can be an MD (doctor of medicine) or a DO (Doctor of Osteopathy). It takes about 11 post secondary years (after high school) of education and training to become a doctor. The duties of doctors include diagnosing illnesses, treating injuries, taking medical histories, ordering diagnostic tests, reviewing tests, and prescribing plans of treatment.
A nurse practitioner is a nursing professional who provides care in a number of different healthcare, academic and leadership settings. It takes between 6 to 8 years of post secondary academic education and training to become a nurse practitioner. The duties of an NP include diagnosing acute and chronic conditions, treating illnesses and injuries, ordering and performing x-rays, lab work and other tests, prescribing medications or treatment, and counseling.
Costs to Become NP vs Doctors
Each person looking to enter the health care field should research their own state or region for the cost of education for both nurse practitioners and doctors. Potential student debt could make a difference on which career path practitioners choose. There can be quite a large difference in cost. Also to be considered, the doctor has years of internship, residency and fellowship to complete where the salary is compressed. Nurse practitioner costs are about 20 to 25 percent less than physician’s costs for academic training. So the NP’s salary will win in the short term, but after residency or fellowship is done for a physician, the physician’s income will continue to grow. The post academic training for doctors is much more than that of nurse practitioners; however, each RN who has chosen to go back to school to pursue their NP must have completed some clinical experience.
Health Care Programs and Examples of Salary Differences (MD and DO)
Here are some examples of the pay differences in practicing NPs and physicians in similar specialties. Keep in mind the number of specialties available to doctors is much larger than that available to nurse practitioners. Many grad programs and universities are limited to the specialties offered to nurse practitioners.
- In Family Practice, a nurse practitioner earns around $89,000 while physicians earn $176,000
- In Emergency Medicine, a nurse practitioner earns around $103,000 while physicians earn $251,000
- In Pediatrics, a nurse practitioner earns around $82,000 while physicians earn $171,000
The top three highest paid nurse practitioners are:
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
- General Nurse Practitioner
- Clinical Nurse Specialist
Is Getting Your DNP Worth It?
One question has been answered: Is Getting Your Nurse Practitioner Worth It? Is it worth it to work on getting your nurse practitioner employment contract properly reviewed and negotiated? It is always worth it to negotiate a contract so practitioners are sure to have a profitable and productive relationship with your new employer. The overall goal is to be very confident of the contract details and that nurse practitioners won’t be hurting yourself in the future with decisions finalized in the contract. Never settle. Know your rights and ensure you keep them.
Know Your Worth
As a nurse practitioner you are a valuable asset to any organization. Your knowledge and skill is in high demand. As an employee of a clinic or a hospital, nurse practitioners contribute to them turning a profit, and should be compensated fairly.
Contract Negotiation Research
Negotiating a contract is important to ensure you have clarity on how your potential future employer will reward your performance; not just now but in the future as well. Realize that emotion should stay out of it, and you should maintain a calm and focused attitude. You are simply having a conversation. Even better than embarking upon this yourself — have an attorney do the review and negotiation for you. Someone with experience can have better judgement as to what should be included in the contract.
Issues to Review and Negotiate
There are a number of issues within a contract that need review and possibly negotiation. These include:
- Salary – you should know the average amount a nurse practitioner is paid hourly and/or annually. When you have this average, you will know how to consider your potential employer’s offer.
- Bonuses – the contract should state how bonuses will be paid and when. It should be well-defined. Don’t let your employer get away with making empty promises.
- Flexibility of Schedule – depending on your lifestyle and what needs you have regarding scheduling, you will need to ensure it is clearly laid out in the employment contract.
- Vacation Time – most employers already offer about two or three weeks of paid vacation time. You might want to negotiate for a few days more. If no paid vacation is offered, then ensure that the flexibility of your schedule allows for time away.
There are other points to review such as continuing education, insurance benefits, and retirement. A thorough contract review and effective negotiation puts your career on the right track.
Should a DNP Take a Position as an Independent Contractor?
Should an NP take a position as an independent contractor? If a nurse practitioner is offered a position as an independent contractor, should she agree to take it? There are pros and cons to any situation, so knowing details allows you to make a good decision. You might see employers offering as much as $20 an hour more for a nurse practitioner to work as a 1099 independent contractor, but is it as beneficial as it looks?
How Taxes Work as an Independent Contractor
Taxes are handled differently with regular employees vs independent contractors. When you are a W-2 employee, you have state and federal taxes, social security taxes, etc. come out of your paycheck. This doesn’t happen with a 1099 position. No taxes are deducted from your pay. Come tax time, you are responsible for paying income tax, social security tax, Medicare tax as well as a self-employment tax. Social security and Medicare taxes will be twice as much, since you don’t have an employer paying half. Although it looks as if you are being paid a lot of money at pay time, you can’t forget that you will still owe taxes at tax time.
Demanding More Pay as an Independent Contractor
When working as an independent contractor, you can demand more money. The employer doesn’t have to take on the tax burden, so should be able to pay you quite a lot more. Since you also won’t receive any benefits as a 1099 contractor, your pay should make up for that. You can figure that you can ask for ten to twenty percent more than standard pay for a W-2 employee.
Are You Self-Employed?
Some people get confused as to whether an independent contractor is considered self-employed. In fact, they are the same thing. In fact, independent contractors often go by other names, such as freelancers, contract workers, small business owners, and more.
When being offered a job as an independent contractor and receiving a contract to sign, it is wise to have the contract reviewed by an attorney who is trained to handle these types of things. This way you can be sure that the contract is a binding legal document that will benefit you in important ways.
Nurse Practitioner Contract Lawyer
When your contract is reviewed by an experienced attorney for nurse practitioners, you will find great financial benefits which end up outweighing the cost of the review. If you are in need of assistance with a nurse practitioner employment agreement or NP contract review schedule a NP Contract Review with Chelle Law today!