Becoming an advanced practice nurse (APN) is an exciting adventure for most nurses who pursue a higher level of education. However, APN’s must be aware of what their job descriptions entail and determine the right pathway for themselves. If an APN cannot practice independently or is just starting out they can look at two different job opportunities by becoming an independent contractor or an employee.
An employee is someone who is governed or controlled by the entity they perform services for, and the entity is able to dictate what, when, and how they perform services (Joel, 2018, p. 418). On the other hand, an independent contractor is able to dictate what services they perform when they do it and how they do it; the entity only oversees the results of their work (Joel, 2018, p. 419). From the definition, an independent contractor has a lot of leeway and sounds appealing. However, being a formal employee is extremely beneficial as you have paid sick and vacation leave and health insurance benefits (Joel, 2018).
While you may be paid less as an employee you will save a lot of money that comes from unpaid time off and the monthly costs of health insurance. In addition, independent contractors have to pay all of their taxes, do not receive health insurance benefits, and are not covered by the entity’s malpractice insurance (Brown & Dolan, 2016; Joel, 2018). Therefore, independent contractors need to be extremely careful when negotiating contracts.
There are several parts of the contract that can be negotiated: the length of contract, production bonuses, non-competing and non-solicitation clauses (Brown & Dolan, 2016). However, there are some terms that would be non-negotiable for me: the base salary, time of payment, continuing education/recertification time and pay, administration time to complete work without seeing patients, and the termination clause (Brown & Dolan, 2016). It is important to determine what is negotiable and nonnegotiable in contracts as you have to protect yourself with malpractice insurance and through the terms of the contract.
If not you could end up paying breach fees to the entity you work for Brown & Dolan, 2016). As future APNs it is important to look at all avenues of employment prior to determining which one works for our specific situation.
Brown, L. A., & Dolan, C. (2016). Employment contracting basics for the nurse practitioner. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 12(2), e45-e51.doi
Joel, L.A. (2018). Advanced Practice Nursing: Essentials for Role Development, Fourth Edition. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company.