Hall of Shame: Aureus Nursing
It is with great reluctance that we write this editorial. Our mission has never been to create lists of good and bad agencies, nor do we wish to start. However, the recent action of Aureus Nursing of Omaha Nebraska against one of our members is too egregious to ignore.
In short, this story involves a young nurse traveler who is expecting a child soon. She is the sole support of her family. She successfully completed her first ever travel assignment with Aureus early this year and then chose to switch agencies for significantly better pay and health insurance. After of course giving Aureus first chance at a better offer.
Instead of sweetening its offer, Aureus declined to negotiate. Aureus filed a lawsuit for unspecified damages and included a motion asking to immediately prevent the traveler from working at the same hospital for another employer. Aureus even told this traveler that they would have the sheriff physically remove her from the hospital. This injunction had the potential for criminal sanctions impacting her license and and her ability to work as a nurse in the future. Serious legal peril like this could change the trajectory of anyone’s life, even without an impending delivery that cannot be rescheduled to accommodate legal skirmishes.
Fortunately this traveler was a Full member of the Professional Association of Nurse Travelers. The Association, through its attorney, was able to intervene quickly and negotiate a legal settlement that allowed our member to continue working for the other agency, earning a paycheck, and protected her from incurring any monetary damages.
When travelers becomes dissatisfied with an agency’s service they frequently choose to work for another agency. Often the original agency will try to retain their proven traveler by offering incentives such as a raise in pay, nicer housing, or other benefits.
Aureus has chosen an alternative model in which they try to force the traveler to accept crappy terms through threats and intimidation. Recently they have escalated these tactics by actually filing lawsuits - a very rare event in the travel industry. Aureus' case was based on a rarely upheld non-compete clause. It is our opinion that the lawsuit was a misuse of the legal system - a bluff designed to force our member into accepting substandard pay and benefits.
Aureus' business practices and ethics are, in our opinion, subpar and have been for years. Their business model appears to include call room marketing directed at new travelers, paying new travelers as little as possible, and then discarding them when intimidation fails and starting the cycle again. Aureus is frequently named in traveler forums for inappropriate marketing practices, such as cold calling random clinical areas of hospitals to troll for travelers at all hours of the day and night, interrupting patient care.
The Professional Association of Nurse Travelers is not the agency police and has good reasons not to break neutrality. Generally agency recommendations, good or bad, are best obtained through personal referrals, or by visiting online traveler forums for current information. Agencies rise and fall, recruiters come and go, and the way travelers are treated can fluctuate dramatically in short periods of time. However, filing lawsuits as a business tactic is inexcusable. Attempts to strong-arm this young, pregnant, and vulnerable nurse into indentured servitude with poor health insurance and low pay is simply reprehensible.
The Association strongly recommends against using Aureus Nursing or their allied health agencies. You can’t afford it. Aureus Nursing is also known as Aureus Medical Staffing, Aureus Medical Group, or simply Aureus Medical.