Nurse Practitioner Independent Contractor Agreement | The Future of Nursing?
Various states throughout the country implemented new rules about nurse staffing levels in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Much of this went underreported as there was and is still so much else happening in the world at this time. However, those changes could have a major impact on how nurses search for work in the future. There is a major demand for so-called “travel nurses,” and it doesn’t look likely to stop anytime soon. This could be a boon for nurses and the wages that they are able to demand even as hospitals bare the brunt of those increased costs:
In 2021, travel nursing revenue tripled to an estimated $11.8 billion, up from $3.9 billion in 2015, according to Staffing Industry Analysts. As a result, hospitals and health systems around the country have taken a financial hit from having to rely on highly paid travel nurses—with no clear fix in sight.
Upon seeing some of the figures that various hospitals around the country are willing to pay nurses, many nurses have decided to take the independent contractor route and start to earn more than they might make in a permanent position at a local hospital.
An Early Test in California for Nurse Practitioners (NP)
The Golden State may present an early test to see just how far the nurses as independent contractors movement has come. New apps are billing themselves as the “Uber of nursing” in that they help nurses find gigs in various hospitals at negotiated pay rates on an on-demand basis. The nurse works as an independent contractor with the hospital, and the rest of the terms of their labor are negotiated through the app.
What this means is that a nurse may potentially book an assignment with one hospital for a short time before moving on to another gig at another hospital that is in need. They may bounce around quite a lot depending on the supply and demand needs of various hospitals. Instead of remaining in one hospital all the time, the supply of nurses can be shifted at will.
From the nurse’s point of view, there are a few things to think carefully about before jumping headfirst into a deal like this. For example, as an independent contractor, you will need to consider the following:
- They are responsible for deducting and paying their own taxes
- They are responsible for taking care of their own health insurance needs
- They will have to get their own retirement plan set up if they would like to participate in one
- They generally receive no professional benefits
In other words, many of the bureaucratic things that a traditional job would normally take care of for a nurse are all going to fall into their own hands. They will be the responsible party for all of this, and it won’t necessarily be an easy road ahead.
Upsides of Nurse Practitioner Independent Contractor Work
Although there is more responsibility lobbed on the shoulders of those considering taking the independent contractor route, it is also true that there is more freedom, more flexibility, and potentially more pay involved as well. Nurses who successfully negotiate strong contracts as independent contractors can have many of the same upsides of a traditional employment situation without some of the drawbacks.
Being an independent contractor means:
- Not Subject to Certain Bureaucracy – Some nurses complain that they don’t like to deal with the bureaucratic mess that their jobs sometimes become. One of the things that some nurses like to avoid is getting entangled with the powerful nurses’ unions in California. Since they are independent contractors and not actual employees, they are not permitted to join the union in the first place. This means that they are also not subject to any decision that the union makes in regards to its members.
- Working in Fast-Paced Environments – A call to nursing for many people means wanting to get directly involved in helping people achieve better health outcomes. It is understandable that some nurses get frustrated that they are not often in the kind of workplace where they get to make critical decisions about how to best help their patients on a regular basis. If a nurse is stuck working in a less than busy hospital, then he or she may feel unfulfilled in their work. Fortunately, the independent contractor route can help those who feel left behind in their job start to get back to a place where they can assist people who clearly need their help.
- Meet New People – Most like to think that they can get along with anyone, but workplace conflicts do exist, and they can cause serious problems when they flair up. Instead of trying to pretend like this isn’t happening, why not look for work in another facility where you can perhaps get along with people a little better? Being an independent contractor gives you the flexibility to do exactly that.
- See New Areas – Finally, the upside that most comes to mind when thinking about going the IC route is that one can see other parts of the world that they have not had the opportunity to visit before. Best of all, they get to spend time in these new locations while being paid to do so!
There is no doubt that many nurses will voluntarily opt to work as independent contractors in order to take advantage of these opportunities. Others will find themselves in this position due to pure economics. Regardless, it is clear that a wave of independent contractor work for nurses is on the way.
Hire an Attorney to Look Over Your Contract
A nurse practitioner contract attorney can provide you with the professional opinions and insight that you need to figure out if a contract offered to you makes sense for the goals that you have for your career. The attorney will look over your contract line by line to ensure that it has everything that you need in it. Don’t forget, as a nurse you have a lot of leverage to make deals with potential employers who might want to hire you. We want to make sure you take full advantage of that leverage, and that is why we ask you to contact us for more information on how to get the most from your contracts.
Nurse Practitioner Contract Questions?
Contract Review, Termination Issues and more!