Recently American Mobile has made very concerning changes to how they are treating travel nurses and this post reflects the most recent changes as of February 2022.
As a travel nurse of 4+ years, I’ve been able to work with four different travel nurse companies. I can spot a great company (or recruiter) a mile away, and I can definitely sniff out when a company is acting sketchy (or a recruiter is acting sketchy). For two of my assignment, I worked with American Mobile, having two different recruiters, and on both assignments, I had major issues with American Mobile. Before reading any further, I want to make it clear that this has been MY PERSONAL experience with American Mobile, and I don’t speak for anyone else besides myself. I’d also like to mention, that I believe a bad recruiter can ruin a great company just like a great recruiter can elevate a bad company. (Read about my thoughts on that here). This post isn’t about recruiters though, although they may have not helped my experience. But instead, this post is about why I think American Mobile is a shady company and why I think every travel nurse should be cautious when working with them.
Looking to work with a good travel nurse company? Check out this post: Travel Nurse Agencies Ranked by Travel Nurses
9 Reasons to Be Cautious When Working With American Mobile
1. They Decrease Pay for Floating
Most recently American Mobile has added a clause into their contract that states, “FLOATING PAY – If a healthcare professional is booked in a specialty shift (ICU, ER, etc.) and is floated to a lower acuity floor (Med/Surg, Rehab, etc.) that professional will be paid based on the pay rate for the unit actually worked”. This is concerning on many different levels. For starters, I traveled for nearly five years and have never had anything like this in my previous contracts so this language and behavior is abnormal and not the standard of the travel nursing industry.
Travelers do not have the ability to control when or where they will be floating so you could be hired to work ICU and be floated to med/surg every single shift against your will. Your skills are still the same, you should not be taking a pay cut for this. If you were a staff nurse and you had to float, your pay wouldn’t be different. Why would it be different as a travel nurse? I also think about it like this – if you were floated to a floor where the pay rate was higher, would American Mobile be responsible for paying you at a higher rate? No. Only at a lower rate. Also, pay rate can vary GREATLY on many things that are out of the control of how acute of a unit it is. If a med/surg floor is SEVERELY understaffed then rates for med/surg might just be higher than rates for the ICU. While this isn’t the norm, it can happen. So floating to a less acute floor shouldn’t have anything to do with your pay package.
2. You Can No Longer Take Time off Without Being Penalized
Perhaps the most concerning change of all is that American Mobile has added an amendment stating that if you take time off in your contract, you will not be given your housing and meal stipends. The exact wording is as follows, “Per Diems: Per Diems are provided each pay period to cover living expenses incurred on behalf of the Company during your assignment. Per diems are not provided when you travel away from the assignment location and/or have scheduled personal time off, as you are not incurring expenses in furtherance of the Company’s interests. As a result, your reimbursement will be reduced per day each day you travel away from the assignment location and/or have scheduled personal time off. Through the terms and conditions of this agreement and as provided below, you acknowledge that you will be incurring business-related expenses for meals and lodging (where applicable). If you are not incurring these expenses, you will take full responsibility to notify AMN of this change”.
This language is incredibly confusing but basically what it means is that regardless of hours worked (even if you work your 36 hours for that week), if you choose to go out of town on your free time – you will not be eligible for your housing or meal stipend for the days that you are gone. American Mobile states that this is to protect nurses from the IRS, but I have yet to see any other company follow suit. Plus, if you worked your 36 hours for that week, the hospital has a legal responsibility to pay the company (in this case American Mobile) for that entire week. The hospital doesn’t say, “Well Suzy went out of town for two days so we aren’t responsible for a portion of the pay that we owe American Mobile”, meaning American Mobile is taking your money and pocketing it.
Also, American Mobile is trying to justify this change to their contract by telling travelers to not ask for time off during their assignment, but to instead ask the manager for time off and not put it in the contract. This is concerning for many reasons as if it isn’t in your contract, the manager can easily take it back and American Mobile will not have your back.
You also might be thinking, well I’m not planning to go out of town so this change doesn’t affect me. But I’d implore you to think about it a different way. If you want to know that you have a weekend free in, let’s say, March to have someone visit you and you ask off Friday, Saturday, Sunday so that your friend can book a flight to see you… American Mobile will be taking your stipend for those three days. So even if you aren’t leaving town, you asked for three days off in your contract which American Mobile will penalize you for.
3. You Have to Fight for Every – Single – Penny (it’s Exhausting)!
Never have I ever had to be so meticulous when reading my contract. Nor have I ever had to put every little thing in writing like I did when working with American Mobile. For example, I requested to be reimbursed for my California, RN license that was expiring. In the past, working with Fusion Medical, I never even have to bring that up – everything is just reimbursed, no questions asked. However, with American Mobile, I had to request it, and even then the recruiter tried to take money out of my paycheck to pay for it. New travel nurses – you should be receiving a pay package and THEN on top of that also be reimbursed for expiring certifications/licensures. You should not have to fight for this.
Need more guidance on negotiating your contact? Read How to Negotiate Your Travel Nurse Contract – What’s Worth Negotiating and What isn’t
4. You Have to Triple Check Your Paycheck
When I worked with American Mobile, there was a history of my paycheck being wrong… on four separate occasions. Working with other companies, I never had payroll issues and after speaking with other travel nurses who worked with American Mobile, I can confirm it wasn’t just me, it was many travelers that were affected.
If you choose to work with American Mobile, be prepared to check your paystub every single pay period. If you have a week where you worked extra for some reason, I’d even recommend calling payroll and ensuring that everything is submitted correctly to ensure an accurate and timely arrival of your weekly pay.
Read more! 7 Red Flags in Travel Nursing
5. Your Housing & Meal Stipends Won’t Start Until the First Day of Your Contract
What this means is that your first week of work, even if you clock a full 36-hours, you will miss out on your housing and meal stipends until the first day you’re working. For instance, if your first day of orientation is on Tuesday (which can be common), American Mobile won’t pay you your housing and meal stipend for Sunday or Monday REGARDLESS of working a full 36-hours. Even if you have to do pre-work modules, your stipends won’t be paid out until you’re showing up in person.
In my experience of working with other companies, this is unique to American Mobile. If I start work on a Monday, usually my week stipend (Sunday-Saturday) is paid out in full, no questions asked. With American Mobile, this is not the case.
Of course, I fought this idea tooth and nail. I read and re-read my contract, and even read the employee handbook. And not only is this not listed in the contract, but it’s also not listed in the employee handbook. When I asked my recruiter about this she told me, “American Mobile is a business and this is how we make money”. I then called someone in payroll to ask about this and they said, “Your recruiter can give you the money if they wanted to”. Finally, I reached out to my recruiter’s director who told me, “We don’t pay out the stipends on week one because of the IRS and we’re trying to protect you”.
Two days after speaking with the director, my recruiter called to tell me American Mobile would be changing this rule (that they have in place to “protect us from the IRS”), and that stipends will be offered for each day of the week despite your start date. Being curious, I spoke with an attorney about this and the attorney told me, “Anytime someone in the company blames the IRS, they have no reason that they are doing what they are doing and typically say that to make you stop asking questions”.
In my opinion, American Mobile operating like this is bad optics and bad business.
6. American Mobile Puts American Mobile Before the Traveler
If you’ve read the beginning of this article, by now you may have gotten the picture that American Mobile places themselves first, and you, the traveler, second. I don’t appreciate or prefer to work in an environment like this. I find it stressful knowing that if push came to shove, American Mobile would not have my back and that I’m more than likely being screwed over in some aspect of my contract.
For more on why it’s important to work with a transparent company, read Your Guide to Travel Nurse Pay + the Importance of Transparency in Travel Nursing
7. There is Very Little Support
I tried to handle my issues with American Mobile like an adult, by emailing and calling the correct people in the company to voice my concerns with issues I was having on assignment and with my contract. There was no support. Nobody would call me back. Nobody would email me back. In fact, both of the recruiters I worked with in my time at American Mobile were incredibly hard to get ahold of.
Another point to mention, I received a satisfaction email when on assignment. I filled out the form stating I was not satisfied working with American Mobile and I received an email stating that somebody would follow up. Someone did follow up, but it wasn’t until months later after my assignment was over.
8. They Try to Steamroll You
I was speaking with a new travel nurse who told me that American Mobile tried to submit her to an assignment without sending her the pay package first, stating, “We talk about pay after you’re submitted”. New travel nurses. If you take anything away from this blog post, let it be this: That is, positively, UNTRUE. Pay should be talked about well before you’re being submitted to an assignment because it is then that you can negotiate.
I also just recently had an experience talking with a seasoned traveler who had this happen to her as well. Her recruiter submitted her to a hospital without asking her and without giving her the pay package first. This now means that if she were to take that job she’s lost all negotiating power and can’t be submitted to that same hospital with another company (read below).
If you’re submitted to a hospital by one company, you’re not allowed to be submitted to that same hospital by another company. So if it’s somewhere that you want to go, and you’re submitted without talking about the pay, and then the pay package comes back low – you have no negotiating power. You can’t take the job with another company, and at this point, they have no reason to increase your pay so you’d either have to accept it or find a different assignment.
I talk all about pay packages, negotiating, and spotting red flags in The Ultimate Travel Nurse Bundle. It’s a complete guide (from start to finish) to becoming a travel nurse!
7. There’s Little Communication Between Team Members
On one of my assignments, I was missing a bonus that was supposed to be paid out on my last paycheck. My recruiter told me that we were waiting on payroll to pay that out, so I called them to make sure that that was correct. Payroll told me that they were waiting on my recruiter, and it wasn’t their call to make. They would not speak to each other, and I had to be the middle man figuring out how to get my bonus that was given to me.
I went back and forth between my recruiter and payroll several times. And my bonus was delayed weeks. This is unacceptable and something a traveler should not have to do.
As I stated earlier, I’m sure that there are some great recruiters at American Mobile. But this post isn’t about the recruiters, instead, this is a post aimed at explaining the intricacies of travel nursing, and pointing out that while American Mobile is one of the biggest travel nurse companies out there… it doesn’t mean that they are the best to work with. And in my opinion, this is a company that I would not waste my time with again.
Read about my first experience with working with American Mobile – The Worst Experience I’ve Had With a Travel Nure Recruiter