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Common Pitfalls to Avoid When Signing a Contract 

Graduating from medical school is an incredible accomplishment. Getting your first job in the medical field is the next big step. Whether you are just entering the field or are negotiating for a higher salary, you are going to need to sign a contract for your medical position. When it comes to your contract, you want to make sure you are getting the best salary and benefits for yourself. So here are some common pitfalls to avoid when signing a contract in the medical field

Understand Liability Details

When it comes to high-paying positions, it’s common to look at a contract for everything that any job would have. This includes compensation, benefits package, vacation time, and bonuses. Physician contracts though have some more intricacies than other high-paying salary contracts.

Physicians and medical professionals cannot put all of the liability of their position on their employer like other jobs. There is a level of liability that applies directly to physicians. This includes any instances of medical malpractice or abuse laws, so medical professionals need to make sure they read their contracts closely to see what they are or are not protected by and figure out how to negotiate if the contract doesn’t address these issues.

Brushing Over Complicated Compensation Offers

Medical compensation isn’t cut and dry like other jobs. Many factors go into determining compensation in the medical field. Make sure that you take the time to understand the structure of your compensation. In addition to your salary, you should understand where you will see bonuses as well as any performance-based incentives that could affect your final take-home salary. If the compensation package doesn’t seem worth it, don’t be afraid to push back and negotiate. You should get the compensation that you deserve for your role.

Check out this helpful guide to better understand standard salary expectations in the medical field.

Not Understanding Employer Expectations

Before signing a contract, it is imperative that you understand the expectations of your employer. Some medical employers may expect that you take care of admin work or are willing to stay for later hours or cover other shifts. There may also be a specific culture at the place you are looking to work that doesn’t fit your work style.

When you are reading the contract, make sure you pick out all of the tasks that the employer will be expecting from you. You should also make sure that you research the employer when figuring out their expectations. Try speaking to people that already work there about the tasks that they are doing and if they are similar to the contract that they initially signed as well. Understanding expectations in the contract ensures that you won’t be hit with surprises later, and determines if the contract is the right fit for you.

Skipping Non-Compete Clauses

Many medical contracts may include non-compete clauses. This means that you cannot practice outside of the contract that you sign. Some contracts can also affect your ability to move jobs and companies later on. A contract can state that if you leave the practice before the contract is up, you agree to not work at any competing practices within a certain geographic area for a certain period of time. This can make it difficult to find your next job if you want to leave the current contract and add a long commute to whatever new endeavor you may find.

Not Getting Legal Counsel

While hiring legal counsel to go over an employment contract may seem too serious, it is something that medical professionals shouldn’t skip. Medical contracts have specific language and terms that are difficult to understand. While you learned a ton to become a physician, legal contracts may not have been a course offered at med school. Working with legal counsel to check over the contract and point out any red flags can save you from anything you want to avoid. Your legal counsel can also help you figure out what points you may want to negotiate in your contract.


Medical contracts can be long and complicated with many pitfalls. When getting a job in the medical field you want to make sure you are in the right practice with the right compensation. So be sure to take your time with your contracts, point out any inconsistencies, and don’t be afraid to negotiate. This will help you find the perfect job in the medical field and give you the confidence to sign your name on the dotted line.


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