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Including flexible schedules in physician contracts


a calendar and physician contract Posted by Jackie Farley
a calendar and physician contract

In the competitive landscape of physician recruitment, attracting top talent requires more than just a large salary. Physicians now look for job opportunities that provide a healthy work-life balance as well as other benefits that will enhance their overall job satisfaction. So how can you craft contracts that offer flexible schedules and other enticements to attract and retain the best healthcare professionals?

Why are flexible schedules a priority for candidates?

 First, consider why flexible schedules are so important to physicians, and how they can benefit not only the candidate but also your organization.

Flexible schedules allow physicians to better manage their professional and personal lives. This helps to reduce physician burnout and stress. By offering this type of flexibility, an organization can make itself more appealing to top-tier candidates and enhance physician retention rates.

Physicians with flexible schedules are often less stressed and more focused. This helps make them more productive and able to provide better patient care, ultimately benefiting the organization’s reputation and its bottom line.

Strategies for offering flexibility

There are several ways in which you can offer flexibility in scheduling. Here are the five most common:

  1. Tailored scheduling options

Work with candidates to understand their unique scheduling needs and preferences. A willingness to tailor schedules to accommodate family commitments, part-time work or specific hours can be a powerful recruitment tool.

  1. Remote work opportunities

Incorporating telemedicine or remote work options into contracts can attract physicians looking for flexibility and the ability to work from different locations. This can be especially appealing for specialists with unique expertise.

  1. Rotating shifts

Consider offering rotating shifts to allow physicians to balance demanding schedules with more predictable time off. This could be particularly appealing for emergency medicine and hospital-based specialties.

  1. Compressed workweeks

Some physicians prefer to work longer hours for fewer days, which allows them extended periods of time off. Contracts can be structured to accommodate compressed workweeks when possible.

  1. Sabbaticals

Think about including provisions for sabbatical leave in contracts which can give physicians the opportunity to take extended breaks for personal or professional development.

Other benefits to consider

While flexible scheduling is a significant draw, there are other ways recruiters can sweeten the deal. Here are some other benefits you might consider offering:

  1. Competitive compensation

Offer a competitive compensation package that includes performance-based bonuses and benefits such as retirement plans, healthcare coverage and malpractice insurance.

  1. Professional development

Allocate budget and time for physicians to pursue continuing education, attend conferences or engage in research. Encourage growth and advancement within the organization.

  1. Student loan assistance

Consider assisting new graduates or physicians with student loan debt by offering loan repayment assistance or forgiveness programs as part of the contract.

  1. Relocation assistance

Help relocating physicians transition smoothly into their new roles and communities by providing financial support for their move.

  1. Wellness programs

Include access to programs that encourage physicians’ overall well-being, such as gym memberships, mental health resources and stress management services.

  1. Support family needs

Offer family-friendly benefits such as on-site childcare facilities, parental leave or flexible childcare reimbursement options.

It is important recruiters ensure all contract terms - including flexible schedules and additional benefits - adhere to legal and compliance standards since healthcare employment contracts are subject to industry-specific regulations.


Recruiters have the opportunity to attract and retain top talent for their healthcare organization by creating contracts that offer a range of appealing benefits. But, a well-crafted contract is an investment that can yield long-term benefits for both the physician and the healthcare organization.


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