Empowering Nurses at the Bedside and in Business

What Do You Mean That I Can’t Get Business There?

Did you know that almost every contract includes a provision called a “covenant not to compete” or a “covenant not to solicit”?

Basically, what these mean is that you cannot talk to any clients of a person or work in a particular area during the term of the contract and after.

Courts do not like covenants not to compete because they restrict the trade of an individual meaning where that person can work or with whom they can associate to get business.

However, if such provisions are reasonable as to distance and to time, courts usually allow these.

I see these provisions in a lot of nurse practitioner contracts.  A number of NPs have reached out to me saying they would like to start their own practice.  When I ask where they are now working, many will say, “For the hospital” to which I add, “Did you sign a contract.”  When they say, “Yes,” I direct them to look for these non-compete provisions.

Contracts for many nurse practitioners have a provision that they cannot work within a certain area meaning not only where they work but the entire health system as well.  Such provisions also set a restriction for a period, usually about 2 years.

For a legal nurse consultant, if they subcontract, they usually find this provision in their contract as well.  I have seen one contract go as far as saying that the legal nurse consultant cannot contact any attorney in the restricted area regarding your legal nurse consulting services.

In my opinion, that is overly broad.  However, because many nurses don’t understand these provisions, they sign the contract anyway.

If you are going to have a non-compete clause in your contract as a legal nurse consultant, I recommend that it should be specifically for that one client and service.  So, if you are attending a DME for a legal nurse consultant for an attorney, the covenant not to compete should be for that one attorney and should be only for DMEs.

Therefore, if you want to contact the attorney for other consultant services, you have no problem.  However, you do not want to bite the hand that feeds you.  If this legal nurse consultant is subcontracting and giving you DMEs, you don’t want to go behind their back and take their clients.

It is important to be in integrity with these agreements and to know what they say before you sign.  Be in integrity and respect and follow the agreement.

It is important to be knowledgeable about everything that you sign because you are required to abide by it.  Ignorance is not a defense.



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