Nearly all physician contracts provide a list of required duties and responsibilities. This section is often overlooked by physicians, as you may view is at simply a job description. And after working as a resident and possibly a fellow, the description may seem fairly self-evident.
But instead of viewing it as the duties and responsibilities section, a better way to consider it is as a list of affirmative obligations because they are the core functions of both the job you are being hired to do and how you will be expected to do it.
What are your obligations to your employer?
These provisions set forth the physician’s duties and responsibilities to the employer. What you are required to do, where, and how they will be expected to perform go beyond a simple job description to being a crucial aspect of any physician employment agreement.
It is imperative to read through every provision of this section as it is very difficult to get out of these affirmative obligations once you have signed without being held in breach of contract. A detailed list of the specific proposed duties should be negotiated and clearly articulated in the employment contract.
These duties can include appointment hours, hospital rounds, office duties, call schedule, medical record documentation, and review of tests and lab results.
What else you should consider
Additional questions to think about as you determine the employer’s expectations are the availability of nurses and support staff, and whether call coverage is equally divided among physicians. As a newer physician, you may be expected to carry a heavier call burden unless that expectation is not clearly debunked.
In addition to determining exactly what you are obligated to do, you should examine what you are allowed to do outside your employment contract. Contracts may specify some level of exclusivity, regarding teaching, doing research, or providing expert testimony.
A contract may provide that if you do perform outside work such as teaching or research that any compensation you earn for those services goes to your employer rather than you. If you want to perform outside work, make sure that your contract’s language provides that the compensation will actually go to you and not to your employer.
If you are in doubt regarding any aspect of your affirmative obligations, using the services of a contract attorney will ensure that both you and your employer are clear on the duties and responsibilities that you will be expected to perform as a condition of employment.
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