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Career Insights: Advocating and Negotiating for PAs


Renata Block, MMS, PA-C, discusses contracts, work environments, and more with SDPA presenter and past president Gina Mangin, MPAS, PA-C.

Although providing quality patient care is of utmost importance, ensuring your own well-being is similarly crucial. At this year’s Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants Annual Summer Dermatology Conference in San Diego, California, attendees were given opportunities to learn more about preventing burnout and advocating for themselves.

In the session Know Your Worth: How to Negotiate Like a Pro, Gina Mangin, MPAS, PA-C, dermatology physician assistant at Sand Lake Dermatology and a past SDPA president, shared her insights and experiences to support colleagues. Dermatology Times invited editorial board member Renata Block, MMS, PA-C, to chat with Mangin about the things you don’t learn in school but do need to know to have a productive and rewarding practice and career.

Renata Block, MMS, PA-C: What are some key components of a contract you feel are important that derms PA should know about?

Gina Mangin, MPAS, PA-C: Noncompetes is a big topic right now, because of the law changes. But a simple one that I always lived by was that a noncompete should not be more than about 30 to 40 minutes from where you're practicing, that seems to be balanced.

Also restrictive covenants. If you're a PA who likes to do things outside of the clinic; I love educating. They [Employers] may put something in that contract where they're not going to allow you to do anything beyond seeing patients within the clinic.

So that’s 2 little flags that I tend to really pay attention to.

Block: The one thing that I want to say about the radius restriction: you have to think about living in the city. A 30-minute radius restriction for someone like me in Chicago is not really realistic, right?

The other thing to consider may be the exit strategy or coming out of a contract. Those billings are really kind of delayed, and if you are on a compensation program, that can really affect your bottom line.

Mangin: Not only that is a lot of times in the contract the amount of time that you need to give the employer. You want to make sure that that's fair and balanced. On average, 60 to 90 days seems to be reasonable. But if you the PA has to give the practice 60 to 90 days notice, then the practice should also fairly have to give 60 to 90 days notice to you, rather than just 1 to 2 weeks notice.

I started [my career] thinking it's more about money. And I've learned the hard way things you have to think. Like, how many locations are you going to be practicing and are you going to be in multiple locations? Are you going to be at one location?

Where I am right now, I am in one location and I love just being in one location.

Also what is super important—not necessarily contracts, but really important—is how much collaboration are you going to have? Is that collaboration going to be a phone call? Is that collaboration going to be a monthly meeting?

My collaboration is the office right next to me. I'm with my collaborating physician 90% of the time; that's what is important to me. And that's what I enjoy because, for me, that true team care impacts taking care of patients. I also am surrounded by another physician and other PAs too.

In our practice we take the team approach of taking care of our patients. We bounce things off of each other all the time. That's what makes me happy. But that may not make another PA happy. So knowing what to expect before you sign that dotted line is very important.

Block: Absolutely. We all learn from each other. Right? And that's the only way we're gonna become better practitioners, better providers and give phenomenal care to our patients.

Transcript edited for length. To hear more from Block and Mangin, watch the video in this article.

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