1. The non-compete clause
It is common today for physicians to switch employment frequently. This may not be your last job, so focus on what might happen when you leave. Almost every physician employment agreement will have a provision that restricts his or her ability to work near their previous employer after termination.
In most states, non-compete covenants in physician contracts are enforceable if they are reasonable in their scope and duration. In highly populated areas, these provisions often prevent a doctor from working within five to 10 miles of their current employer, and often apply for 2 years after the end of employment.
Another important point is to specify when the non-compete does not apply. If the physician is terminated without cause, or if the physician terminates because of an uncured material breach of the employment agreement, the non-compete should be void.
Obviously, the employer may not agree to these restrictions, and the employer has a valid interest in preventing competition. However, it is a significant gain for the doctor if he/she can achieve any limits to the non-compete’s application.
2. Duties and call responsibilities
Another important part of a doctor’s first employment agreement is the description of duties and call coverage. Physicians continue to expect a better work-life balance, so the employment agreement should describe the employer’s expectation of duties and responsibilities. Ask your employer to provide your clinical hours in advance as these details clarify a physician’s understanding and expectations in this first job.