Nurse Recruiter Threatened Me after I Asked a Question: Need Advice

Nurse recruiter berated and threatened me on speaker in front of family after I asked a question.

Updated:   Published

3 weeks ago I decided to take the plunge in travel nursing. I looked around and applied through indeed and got many responses from recruiters. However, I felt like I was lost so I reached out to a nurse friend and she referred me to her recruiter.

At first it felt like the perfect relationship. She understood I was totally new to Travel and she made me feel safe. I told her I was looking to start a job as soon as 2 to 3 weeks out because money was tight. She said she would do her best.

I was really stressed because my family was going through some huge financial issues and still are. However I did what I was asked by this recruiter and gave her time to find something and I informed her I would take any shift in my specialty and did not matter if it was day or night.

A week into this she was able to narrow down 2 places open to working with me and I chose one in another state. I had my references give me a golden review and even one of the recruiters nurse who I never met offered to put in a good word....I got an offer! So far everything has been great. The recruiter was able to make me feel at ease in a very stressful time.

Now, the start date was the 20th and I was hoping to start a week earlier but there was no guarantee. I had a mission to get 100% compliant from the list of items sent by the vendor. I am really organized and got everything done by as soon at all the requirements were sent to me which happened on a Wed and I had my end 100% done by the following Monday. I kept my recruiter in the loop on email and text so she knew. I was determined to start the 13th but knew I had to stay flexible.  At no time was there a change in plan by my recruiter which again was to get done early and see if could start a week early.

Red Flag 1.

During compliance I asked my recruiter a question about getting paid during compliance for classes and tests and orientation. She told me that never happens. I responded with other contracts companies have with me in the past. She went on to tell me that I was not going to see any money for my time and that she was going to fight for getting me part of some paid money for my orientation.

I was very worried about my financial situation. When I responded with "OMG" over the conversation the recruiter called me on the phone and began to come down on me for that word and told me how something personal in her life triggers her. She kept going on for about 5 min about it and I just listened and reminded her she wad doing a great job but I walks away from that call feeling really funky about how she handled it. I was actually pretty rattled.

As it stood I finished my compliance and moved on. I was now awaiting my start date or so I thought. I asked my recruiter on Monday about a start date and she said she was working on that with the compliance staffer.

Red Flag 2

When this interaction happened she told me not to ask the compliance staffer about when I am starting. I just had to be ready. Could be this week or next and my son and wife just had to go with the flow. I'm not sure how anyone else parents but me making my kids and wife feel safe when I'm about to be gone for 13 weeks especially when they are asking and are scared is a priority..but I let it go.

Red Flag 3

Today I got an email from the compliance staffer. It was once sentence that said my document for my vaccines had my name wrong and I had to fix it. I replied with asking her how and if she knew if I should leave this weekend to get situated or wait. That was all. At this point I am calling the lab and calling the place where I got the tests done and they are all telling me they can't do anything about it.

There was a protocol that I had to wait 24 hours to get a response from the recruiter and I was also told that my orders would come on a Friday..well tomorrow is Friday so I am worried so I called. I got a hold of her and told her I am doing my best.

Later I get an email from my recruiter now asking me for 7 years of work history which confused me because I listed 3 years per her request a week ago. Now it had changed. Despite my best efforts I asked a question via text message which was "if they are now asking for this do I actually have the job?" Needless to say that did not fly with my recruiter because she responded with "I'm not even going to entertain this question". Followed by a call where she berated me in front of my wife on speaker. In this conversation she told me that she said the compliance staff is asking if I am even a good idea and if I continue asking questions that she herself may just drop me and not work with me. I just kept my mouth shut. No emotion. I just said OK but now the relationship was destroyed. I started thinking even if this job is secure how can I come to her with any question if this is how she treated me.

My wife who has been with me in nearly every interaction asked me hard questions. Did I say anything or text her anything for her to shift in the course of 3 days. To my wife's good nature she tests me. She won't let me take ownership of being a victim unless it's merited. I read through every text I had with both staffers. She wad at a loss for words and told me that this is crazy. How can I know your safe up there if this is how this company treats you. You are simply asking a few questions not being pushy acting in good faith to all direction and then your told that asking anything is causing problems and that you just need to let it happen.

I need advice fast. I feel horrible. I have lost trust in this company and my recruiter. I am afraid to go now because the relationship is like this.

Please help


137 Posts

Has 33 years experience.

Advice: go to another company NOW. How many red flags do you need before you accept there is something WRONG with this recruiter/company? Telling you not to contact the compliance people? Not paying you for time you worked on requirements for the company? Not even sure that is legal.

Whatever her issue is with "triggers" is HER issue, not yours. As a recruiter I would think she would speak to MANY DIFFERENT people a day so if she is so easily offended/triggered by off handed remarks such as "OMG" she needs to find something else to do. But that is HER problem. 

YOUR problem is to remove yourself from her/whatever company it is, move onto another one NOW. STOP wasting your time playing whatever shell game they have going. It sounds like to me she never really had a job for you and is stalling. Focus on finding something else, if she asks for anything else tell her you provided everything she asked for and feel you have invested enough unpaid time in trying to work with the company and let her figure it out. Sounds like there was never a position and you were being strung along while she was hoping to find one. Plus her attitude toward you and you haven't even started working for the company? RUN.

Specializes in Trauma ICU nurse. Has 4 years experience.

Thank you so much for the advice. If you are recruiter let me know. Be it as is I think I'm stuck in this situation. I signed a contract so I think I have a job I just don't know if I can be away from my family and relying on this person to be my contact if something happens. 


1 Article; 5,766 Posts

Forget about the signed contract. She cannot confirm you have the assignment from the hospital perspective, and in any case the contract is not valid unless you pass compliance. 

A couple notes, yes no pay for compliance done at home. Kind of a gray area but legal enough. Used to be all that stuff was done at the hospital and paid, but no more for much of it. 

Compliance at an agency is not necessarily what the hospital needs. There is a big trend to do too much, down to stuff you will know is ridiculous as a nurse. Part of this is to be compliant for all client hospitals which makes it easier for the next assignment. Also discourages the traveler from hopping agencies because of having to repeat all that work. 

Which means the prudent traveler builds a professional portfolio with all that due diligence in it ready to email to a new agency. The most important documents are written references. Get them early (to protect your license) and often. I usually get three per assignment. The agency collects them as well behind your back, but will never give you a copy. They will state "proprietary" which gives you an idea of how valuable they are. 

Specializes in Trauma ICU nurse. Has 4 years experience.

NedRn I did reach compliance. What can I do?


1 Article; 5,766 Posts

Up to you. You can take the assignment or not. If you don't take it, the agency could sue you but is unlikely to do that. You can certainly expect a lot of noise from that recruiter. If you don't want to take it, it would be professional to notify the agency. Claim family emergency. I'd do a very short and firm email and not reply to emails or calls after that. 


330 Posts

NedRN said:

Up to you. You can take the assignment or not. If you don't take it, the agency could sue you but is unlikely to do that. You can certainly expect a lot of noise from that recruiter. If you don't want to take it, it would be professional to notify the agency. Claim family emergency. I'd do a very short and firm email and not reply to emails or calls after that. 

What would they sue you for? The only time I've heard of this happening is when the company has paid for housing. I've left several contracts after starting them and have never had an issue and still work for the same company. OP, I personally would not accept this assignment. Although, travel money can be great, the assignment can change at any time bringing more financial insecurity upon you. Good luck to you.


1 Article; 5,766 Posts

Sue you for breach of contract. Damages are specified (usually poorly) in the contract heavily favoring the agency. An easier route to punish the traveler is to ding their credit. Highly unethical but legal and almost impossible to reverse. 

Super nice you have an ethical agency but the reality is you have proved your value to them. The OP hasn't even completed one assignment yet. Yes, lots of travelers have been sued by agencies and even more failed to collect their last check and had the previous payroll deposit reversed (which is in fact illegal unless an error was made but still done with few consequences to the agency) and if their housing was used, evicted legally in as few as 24 hours. That's a worst case scenario that even good agencies can be pushed to do to bay a bad behaving traveler (who also exist - I've met several personally over 25 years of travel). 

You are right that if there is housing already paid for these actions are more likely. But just to name a really bad acting agency (for nurses, their allied health agency side is OK), Aureus. Definitely fool's gold. PanTravelers had several legal cases on file. They have a churn and burn strategy historically where they low ball new travelers and when the traveler finds out other agencies at the same assignment are paying 50% more and switch agencies, they file a restraining order against the traveler - an action that could result in a sheriff throwing a traveler in jail. 

Or course that is a different situation than this, just pointing out how bad it can be. Most travelers will never have been in this position as 90% of all assignments complete successfully. But the flip side of the is the industry wide statistic that 10% of all assignments fail to complete (including assignments like this one that have been agreed to but never started). So that puts a lot of travelers in a position to determine whether they are working for a "good" agency, or a "bad" agency the hard way. 

Avoidance of such situations is best. Run away at the first red flag from either the agency or hospital. Don't throw good money after bad simply because you did some compliance paperwork. Cut your losses. Hard for a first time traveler, especially with the current traffic decline of forums such as this one offer good advice easily found. facebook is a poor resource comparatively.