Signing a Legal Document

3 Things To Know About Your Resident Physician Employment Agreement

You matched, congratulations! So what’s next?


You did it! So what comes next?

You got THE email from NRMP that you’ve been waiting for. Countless hours of hard work, sweat, and (probably) tears. Residency programs and hospitals carry much responsibility in training residents, and with that responsibility comes risk. Having written resident contracts is how your soon-to-be employer protects itself.

Not many people realize this, but the contract you sign to accept your spot into your residency program is likely your first contract as a doctor. Yes, you aren’t making nearly as much as you will as a licensed physician, but this contract is an amended version of what you should expect to see after you’re done with your training. It is true that there is virtually no wiggle room with resident contracts, but here are three key provisions you want to be sure you’re familiar with:


1. Compensation

Although it varies by region and specialty, the average salary of first-year resident physicians is around $59,000. The salary is certainly less than you can hope to see on your future contracts, but there are other parts of your compensation package to review. Your contract will give you the information about PTO, sick and vacation days, as well as group benefits like health insurance. Your residency program should also cover your medical malpractice insurance.


2. Responsibilities

A resident contract should include a detailed description of your responsibilities as a resident. This includes basic information like what type of medicine you will practice, your scheduling expectations, and patient and administrative duties. Furthermore, you were offered this position because you are qualified and capable of performing at an expected caliber. Your contract will outline your qualifications and necessary credentialing requirements. The credentialing process will look different if you are not a U.S. citizen.


3. Termination Clause

No one foresees the need to know how to get out of a position they worked so hard for, but it’s important to read over your termination clause. It outlines your rights if the residency program wants to fire you or if you want to leave before your contract officially ends.

Keep in mind that although resident contracts have much overlap with typical physician contracts, there are some terms that may not be included. Many restrictive covenants are not typically included in resident contracts.

Restrictive covenants are provisions that restrict what you can do post-employment, with the most popular ones being non-competition and non-solicitation clauses. While you would not see those in your resident contract, you can expect to see a confidentiality clause protecting the hospital and patients’ information.

Remember, knowing and understanding your responsibilities, obligations, and rights as a resident physician is key to a successful residency experience. Knowledge is power.


If you have questions about your resident physician employment agreement or any other employment contract please contact us here.