Writing and Reading Midwifery Employment Contracts
You’ve went through the initial phone interview with the recruiter, spent 30-60 minutes with Director of Nursing, and completed the on site interview with administration team. An offer is presented to you in writing, what do you do next? Do you accept, reject, or counter-offer? I hope every midwife is negotiating and not taking the first initial offer (unless it is too good to be true then please read the fine print closely on the contract).
Hospitals, midwifery practice, and birth centers will always start with a lower than can actually give you salary offer. It is similar to buying a home. No one starts out the negotiation with the top offer can be presented. It is an art to negotiate without appearing greedy, but professional.
Use objective references like payscale.com to compare what other midwives are making in area. Point out your years of experience, personal skills, and certifications. Remind the Human Resource Department or Manager what value you can create for their organization.
Understand what benefits come with the salary before accepting. If your salary is only $90,000 year, but they will pay back all your student loans of $100,000 if you commit to two years of service, that is a yearly salary of $140,000 (not $90,000).
If you live in a high costs of living location, your salary will need to be different to have same lifestyle comforts as someone living in a low cost of living area. If health insurance, retirement match programs, and vacation time are part of the offer, that needs to be considered if the pay amount offered is really a good deal. Know what your time is worth.
When a formal contract is given to you, please take your time to read it and have an attorney review it. I am NOT an attorney. The cost of an hour with them will save you thousands later. Please protect yourself. Make sure you understand the verbiage used, call coverage, office rotation, non-compete clauses, exit timeline if you or employer wants to end contract, and benefits offered. Even when you are starting out wanting to work for a company, doesn’t mean you will always want to be there. Non-compete clauses are common and some states even illegal. If you love your community and want to eventually start your own practice after getting experience, make sure this clause isn’t present.
People don’t put enough value on themselves (especially midwives). We want to give and help people. How are we helping ourselves and families if we don’t get our true income value for services rendered? Certified Nurse Midwives are one of the lowest paid advanced practice nurses. We should be towards the top with how important our skills are to the community. Present yourself in that manner and it will shine through on your pay check!