Life and Career Coaching for NPs and PAs—Navigating the New Noncompete Rule and Other 2024 Negotiation Considerations for Dermatology APPs

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by Kasey D’Amato, PA-C, MPAP

Ms. D’Amato is President of Certified PA Consulting in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Funding: No funding was provided for this article.

Disclosures: Ms. D’Amato is President of Certified PA Consulting.

J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2024;17(5–6 Suppl 1):S20.


In a fast-paced specialty like dermatology, physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) play a vital role in delivering high-quality patient care. As demand for advanced practice providers (APPs) continues to grow, so does the importance of securing favorable employment contracts. While salary and benefits packages often take center stage in negotiations, savvy healthcare professionals understand that paying attention to the finer details can make all the difference, especially when it comes to exit clauses, notice periods, noncompete clauses, and potential penalties.

Exit Clauses: Ensure a Smooth Departure

An often overlooked aspect of employment contracts is the exit clause. While no one likes to think about parting ways with an employer, it’s crucial to have clear language outlining the terms of departure. Look for clauses that specify the required notice period for resigning and any conditions for early termination. Understanding your obligations and rights in the event of termination can prevent misunderstandings, ensure a smoother transition, and allow you to get recommendations and use prior employers as references.

Notice Periods: Plan Ahead for Transitions

Notice periods serve as a roadmap for both employers and employees during periods of transition. For dermatology NPs and PAs, having a clear notice period outlined in the contract provides valuable time to wrap up patient care, transition responsibilities, and tie up loose ends. If you want to leave on a really high note, you might want to consider training your replacement. Negotiate a notice period that allows for a seamless transition for both the employer and yourself.

Noncompete Clauses: Times are Changing

Noncompete clauses used to be standard in many employment contracts, and they can vary widely in scope and enforceability. In the past, it was important to carefully consider negotiating for reasonable limitations on geographic range, duration, and restrictions from outside activities to ensure that your career options remained open even after leaving your current position. Recently, the laws have changed, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that new noncompetes will no longer be enforceable.1 It is important to note that there is still a gray area concerning restrictions on outside activities and if restrictions on outside activities while working at a facility will remain enforceable. See the recent updates on noncompetes from the FTC here: https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/news/press-releases/2024/04/fact-sheet-ftcs-proposed-final-noncompete-rule.

Penalties and Repayment Obligations: Proceed with Caution

Some contracts might include provisions that require employees to repay certain expenses or bonuses if they leave the company before a specified period. While such clauses are not uncommon, it’s essential to understand the potential financial implications upfront. Carefully review any repayment obligations and negotiate terms that are fair and reasonable, taking into account the investment of both parties.

Conclusion: Empower Yourself with Knowledge

In the competitive landscape of dermatology, experienced NPs and PAs have significant bargaining power in contract negotiations. By paying attention to the finer details, such as exit clauses, notice periods, noncompete clauses and outside activity restrictions, and potential penalties, healthcare professionals can protect their interests and pave the way for a very successful career trajectory. Remember that almost everything is negotiable and determining a mutually beneficial salary and bonus structure, negotiating for benefits that you desire, and making sure you have a well-crafted contract that has fair and reasonable exit clauses can provide peace of mind and set the stage for long-term professional growth and success.

Reference

  1. Federal Trade Commission. Fact Sheet on FTC’s Proposed Final Noncompete Rule. 23 Apr 2024. https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/news/press-releases/2024/04/fact-sheet-ftcs-proposed-final-noncompete-rule. Accessed 6 May 2024.

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Letters to the Editor: June 2024
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