nurse practitioners


Elements of a Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant Employment Contract

Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant Employment Contract

If you are part of the management team of a medical practice, you are keenly aware that matters related to human resources require more of your attention than you expected (and certainly more than you would like). Payroll, benefits, attendance, work schedules and vacation time are all issues requiring monitoring and administration. And those are just issues involving existing staff. Hiring new employees involves a myriad of other items, but none more important that the Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant Employment contract. 

When the parties negotiate an employment contract with clearly defined terms and conditions, it eliminates much of the uncertainty often present during the initial period of employment if not down the line as well. Such an agreement also gives both parties a solid foundation upon which a long lasting and mutually beneficial relationship can be built. By reducing confusion, you minimize the opportunity for disappointment and resentment, if not open conflict. 

The following are some terms and conditions that are widely included as part of a Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant employment contract (note, however, that this is not intended to be legal advice):

  • Duration 

    • This clause should clearly state the period of employment contemplated (subject to any Termination provision, addressed below) and the length of renewal, if any. 
  • Compensation

    • If the NP or PA is to be strictly an hourly or salaried employee, this provision is quite simple.
    • On the other hand, if the compensation package is more “entrepreneurial” in nature, the agreement should detail productivity and/or revenue projections and what performance standards must be met to trigger additional compensation. 
    • Not all value that an employee brings can be monetized, however. Are there intangibles for which the employee can be paid (such as cost-reduction through meeting efficiency targets or excellent patient satisfaction survey results, for example)?
  • Benefits

    • Vacation and sick time (which can be combined as “Personal Time Off “), group health benefits, and bonuses would all appropriately be contained in a Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant employment agreement. 
  • Termination

    • Notwithstanding the fact that the employment contract may have a defined duration, it should contain language that provides clear notice as to how employment may be terminated (even if it simply makes reference to the Policies and Procedures Manual of the practice). 
      • If that is the case, you must be certain to provide a copy of the Manual to the employee during onboarding and require that they sign an acknowledgment of receipt for it.
  • Professional Liability Insurance

    • The contract should clearly specify the insurance required, identify who is responsible for obtaining and maintaining the coverage and who has responsibility for the cost. 
  • Non-Compete/Restrictive Covenant Provision

    • This particular clause of any Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant employment contract requires extreme caution as states frequently legislate the extent to which an employer can limit an individual’s freedom to engage in his or her chosen provision. 

The above is, of course, not an exclusive list of all terms and conditions of a Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant employment contract that may be relevant to your particular circumstances. An employment law attorney can help you draft the appropriate document once you and the applicant have negotiated the terms of employment, thereby providing all involved the desired peace of mind and, hopefully, a healthy employment relationship. 

Did you enjoy this article? If so, please consider subscribing to receive more of our blogs.

Subscribe to blog


Nurse Practitioner Certification 101

Nurse Practitioner Certification

It’s time to heave a big sigh of relief that you are almost done with your Nurse Practitioner program! You should be very proud that you have completed (or almost completed) this challenging degree. Even though you have that demanding goal completed, you need to think about the certification exam. Once that’s behind you, you really will feel like you can take a deep breath. But – first things first.  

Nurse Practitioner Certification
In order for you to practice in your chosen field as a Nurse Practitioner, you must take the certification examination that is in conjunction with the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. The Nurse Practitioner exams are based on objectives that allow the Academy to measure the skills and knowledge that is required of Nurse Practitioners. They are based on competencies developed during the NP program.

Specialties within the realm of a practicing Nurse Practitioner include: 

  • Adult Nurse Practitioner
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

*Note: As of December 2016, the Adult Nurse Practitioner exam will no longer be offered. 

Once you have successfully completed the didactic and clinical program, you will be qualified to sit for the nurse practitioner certification exam. You are able to begin the application process six months before you graduate from your nurse practitioner program. 

Application process
You must apply to take the nurse practitioner certification exam. First, register online – and complete the application. Once the application is complete and you have gathered all of the documents required, the application can be faxed, mailed or emailed. You will receive a letter of acceptance when your application is approved. When your application has been processed and accepted, you will be able to schedule when and where you will take the test. 

Following submission and acceptance of your application, you will have a 120 day window to take the exam – these dates will be explained to you in your acceptance letter. 

Practice tests
Along with your traditional methods of studying for the exam, practice exams are available for you to purchase. They are useful tools for you to prepare for the nurse practitioner certification exam. By using practice exams, you will be able to become familiar with the format of the test questions on the certification exam. Each practice test can be used only once, but additional practice exams are available for purchase multiple times.  

What the exam will look like
The Nurse Practitioner certification exam consists of 150 multiple choice questions. This includes 15 questions that are actually ‘pretest’ questions that do not count in your certification exam score. 

At the time you finish your test, you will notice a ‘preliminary pass or not pass’ on your computer screen. If you have successfully passed the test, you will receive a letter containing your exam score – as well as your certificate within three weeks of taking the test. If you do not pass the exam you are able to sit for the exam twice during a calendar year. 

Once the nurse practitioner certification exam is behind you, you will be able to begin your new advanced career. Successful completion of the Nurse Practitioner certification exam shows that all of your hard work has paid off and you are on your way to a rewarding and enjoyable new beginning. 

Are you looking for the right opportunity to pursue after passing your exam? Consider Elliot Health System!

Learn More About Elliot Physician Opportunities