1. Know Your worth: Before considering a new position or negotiating an employment contract, it’s important to take a personal inventory of yourself as well as skillset and know your worth. What are your special skills? Do you have any professional certifications? What skills obtained from previous employers can you bring to your new employer and enhance their practice? Audit what you bring to the table

2. What Are Your Wants And Needs?: Health care professionals seem to put others first, they, after all, are caretakers and put their patients’ needs before their own. The needs and wants of those taking care of us are usually set aside. Keeping with this thought process can prevent you from negotiating the contract you are hoping for. Understanding what your goals and wants are is essential. What hours are you willing to work? Will 8, 10, or 12-hour shifts benefit your lifestyle or impede your quality of life? Are you willing to take a salaried, hourly, or per diem position? What types of patient populations are you wanting to serve? If you don’t understand your own needs and wants, how can you expect a future employer to?

3. Do Your Research: The key to negotiating any contract is Research. Before you sit down to negotiate, learn as much as you can about the organization, this can really help you once you get to the negotiation tables. It shows that you are diligent and gives you more confidence and power when it comes to your overall strategy. Some things to look for: What have been some concerns management has tried to resolve? How can you add value or assistance to these challenges? i.e. staffing shortages, inability to see the big picture when it comes to common goals, inability to delegate, handling stress, or lack of interest in what they are doing. By understanding these issues ahead of time you will be able to display you are a problem solver by presenting possible solutions. 

4. Understand the Art of Contract Negotiations: Depending on the role you’re applying for, RN, Charge Nurse, Np, whatever it may be, understand what your responsibilities are. If understanding the revenue to be brought into the hospital is part of your job, learn how to determine profit generation. If your job is to contribute to overall patient satisfaction prepare: ahead of time to explain how you would execute doing this. It’s crucial to understand what your duties may be and how you would go about fulfilling the duties expected of you. Understanding the needs of an organization will go a long way when you get to the interview process and begin to state what you would like in your contract.

5. Getting to the Negotiation Table: Walk in feeling confident and powerful when getting to the negation table. If you want to know how the negotiating process is going, assess their body language, eye contact, and overall engagement ( be aware of your own body language and overall engagement). You did your research, you established your worth, and you understand the needs of the organization and the expectations of the job. Walk in knowing what your personal expectations are. Knowledge with proper negotiating skills is power. It’s important for healthcare professionals to stand their ground and get what they want. 

If all your needs are met in the contract, give it a day or two to think about the offer, but never take a job where you negotiated one thing and the CMO or powers that be changed it at the last minute. If you are not happy with your contract, apply somewhere else. 

One last consideration is to think long term. Now that you’re a negotiating genius, try to include a renegotiation clause. 

After “X” amount of time. Asked to be reevaluated based on performance to secure that promotion or pay increase. During this time, you will be able to showcase what you have done in that time period and what an asset you are to the entire organization.

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