Advice and suggestions!
I have just graduated nursing school as an LPN and have been wanting to move to the islands for sometime. I do feel like I need A LOT of help and know there is a lot of planning that goes into that as well. I am wanting to know advice on areas and also rentals that would be good for a single individual. I also have a dog that would be coming with me..so how hard it it to find pet friendly homes on the island? As I mentioned earlier I just graduated nursing school..so any idea of places to apply to work. I need suggestions and advice. Do I need a car or do I not. I am wanting to move the beginning of December. I will need a place that is fully furnished as well. I also would like to have a safe area since I will be alone. Any advice or suggestions would help a ton. Thank you and I hope to get some good feedback!
Hi Jewels! I am new to the forum but I can point you in the direction to get started:
1] RESEARCH: Read the tabs in the header of the website above and a lot of your general questions will be answered about the islands and relocating.
2] WORK: I thought I recently read a thread that there is a need for nurses. I think it was somewhere on Saint Croix. There will be some good advice from others on leads for nursing positions. Also, most places hire people once they are on the island so its possible you may send out resumes/apps and not hear from them.
3] RENTALS: The advice I've been given is to live as close as possible to work for convenience…. but then I've also heard of others that the traffic doesn't bother them and its more about the area of the island they prefer. Either way, its best to arrive on island and live somewhere month to month so you can search for the right place and apparently the best ones are word of mouth. For long term, renting a furnished place for a year is recommended. I am putting my furniture in storage and sending down some small items via USPS.
4] CAR: If you can find a rental you like on the safari route, then you can get by without a car. Also, depends on your place of work too. Safari buses are $2.
5] USEFUL LINKS:
- VI Phone Book
- Recipes (BVI)
- The Crystal Palace (Pet friendly, bed & breakfast on STT)
- Smartnet (Wifi)
- Imperial Animal Hospital
- Moving with pets
- VI Traders
Some threads recently about nursing:
petra, good job. you have given her tons of advise to go through.
read the post on the hospital and read any other posts related to your field of work. please.
animals can only be transported here in cargo during the cooler months. if it gets too hot on the day of departure-your dog will not be allowed to go.
if you like your car and it is paid off-bring it. many people do not and regret it. most cars can be driven on these hills, some can be steep.
depending on the island you want to live on will influence a lot of answers which one are you thinking of
jewels: You said "the islands", but does one interest you more? Reading up in general about the VI is good, but at some point you'll want specific information.
I do not know if they offer contracts for LPNs; you'll need to contact the two hospitals: http://www.rlshospital.org/Home.aspx and http://www.jflusvi.org/. I do know LPNs work in other settings- the health department, nursing facilities, etc.
Addendum: Hmm..I just found this: http://www.rlshospital.org/Community/Careers/Openings/Clinical_Positions/Nursing_Positions/Position_Details/12-08-02/Licensed_Practical_Nurse_ER_Medical_Hemodialysis.aspx So there are LPN jobs at SRMC anyway.
Thank you for all of the advice and suggestions. I have researched a lot and feel like St. Croix would be the best place for me..from research of the hospitals there. So if that helps narrow down that is where my interest is. To come visit as to "vacation" would be hard to do financially as far as the travel cost back and forth. Would it be possible to obtain a one month rental that is not outrageous for me to come down have time to apply for jobs and find permanent residence. I do agree that three to six months is enough time to know if this is the right move for me..Again I know I have a lot to learn about the move and more research to do. All of the suggestions and advice have been very helpful. Is it realistic to get a monthly rental and in that month find a job a permanent residence? Thanks again in advance for advice and suggestions.
If you google, "contract nursing positions us virgin islands" you'll find links to many different agencies you could look into for that sort of a position. Do be aware that right now the JFL hospital on St Croix has lost accreditation. Hopefully it'll regain it soon, just something to bear in mind if you're expecting to move shortly.
In any event, taking on a contract position for a few months would be the perfect way to start out since you're unable to make a PMV.
You can find short term rentals - whether or not the cost will be "outrageous" depends on how YOU define that in terms of actual dollars and what type of accommodations you expect to get for YOUR accommodation budget - whatever size that budget may be. Suffice to say, for comparable properties you can expect to pay more for short term rentals than you would renting that same type of property for a longer term. Likewise, the larger and more nicely furnished units tend to cost more than one room sparsely furnished units. That's only common sense. So to answer your question, yes, you can find a monthly rental at what many people would consider to be a reasonable cost. Whether something you think is affordable is a place you can actually live in is something only YOU can decide.
As far as finding a job during your a month long period - that depends solely on your qualifications, your experience level, how well you conduct yourself during the interview and a host of other variables. And, even if you did get a job offer you might not like the salary, or perhaps not feel comfortable with the working environment. In short, the job hunting process in the USVI's i's not much different from finding a job where you now live. You have to make contact with companies that need someone with your skills then hope to get an interview and then you have to sell yourself and hope you beat out the competition - you are not going to be the only one applying for the job. No one on this forum can give you any assurances - only encouragement. You might be fortunate and find a job in a few days or it could take weeks or even months so it is best to be prepared for both eventualities.
That's why, as you probably found in your research, most people suggest that before you make your move you set aside a nest egg with enough money to cover your living expenses for at least 6 months. That way your transition will be less stressful. The more money you have available the easier the relocation process will be.
Good luck in following your dream.
If you cannot do the PMV and still determined, save as much as possible and pack light. Think 1 puppy & a couple of suitcases. I believe you said that you are shooting for December? December seems to be a good time to fly your dog but also you might think about November in case you are willing to work in the tourism industry for this high season (such as waitressing or working in a retail shop) in order to get established and land the contract nursing job. November is a good month on the island to find rentals and tourism jobs on the upswing of the high season.
Just an idea for a plan B to have a little money rolling in until you start the professional job (read up on "island time"). I do agree that JFL not having accreditation for the beginning of your career is something to think about. Is there an adviser at your nursing school you can bounce these ideas off of in regards to a contract job on STX?? Do read the thread as speedy suggested on the JFL accreditation. Also, maybe look into Puerto Rico, STT, etc to compare to STX in regards to job opportunities.
If no job offer or working in the tourism industry as a backup isn't in the cards, then I would suggest waiting and saving for the PMV.
It does also seem possible to find a furnished pet friendly, 1 bedroom or studio that is affordable for month to month. Saint Croix has better rental prices than STT & STJ. Groceries and utilities are very expensive but there are also ways to save on other things. For example, no cable TV and just stream movies/TV via wifi. Also, eating more locally grown produce such as papaya and mango instead of strawberries and peaches. I am assuming you are on a recent grad budget…hit the research, apply at those suggested agencies and do some soul searching. You will discover the answers. Good luck & you will find plenty of good advice if you continue to ask specific questions about Saint Croix, nursing, and relocation. 😉
"... but also you might think about November in case you are willing to work in the tourism industry for this high season (such as waitressing or working in a retail shop) in order to get established and land the contract nursing job."
Contract nurses aren't hired on island bur are contracted by the hospital through stateside agencies. Everything is done prior to arrival, the nurses are paid by the agency and they are usually offered help with housing along with a housing stipend.
Sounds great. Again OP I'm not on island yet and know nothing of the nursing programs. Just passing on some relocation advice I've seen on the forum. Maybe I was thinking the idea of being open to working outside of your field would get you through your PMV financially.
Does anyone know the hiring status @ JFL currently? Is there a hiring freeze?
Do your research on the hospital on St Croix, while it still exists anyway. I am about to leave after only 6 months because the economy is so down here right now and with the hospital losing its accreditation its only going to get worse. The cost of living here is greater than many will admit as well. We were expecting 30% increase in COL, but it is more like 45%.
Also be aware that trip advisors information about temperature averages are way off. It gets ridiculously hot here July to Oct, and I grew up in the heart and humidity.
Great of luck whatever you decide, just do your homework thoroughly.
If you are an LVN wanting to move to St. Croix the absolute best way to do it is to sign up with a traveling nurses agency on the main land and then tell them you want to go to St. Croix. A quick Google search will tell you exactly what agencies staff for the Juan Louis Hospital on St. Croix. If you sign up with them they not only pay for your ticket to get to the VI but they also will assist in locating and give you a stipend towards your housing. Seriously, what can be better than that!
OP How hot is "ridiculously hot" July - Oct.
That general comment rather floored me as all is dependent on where you live in relation to the dying down of the Trade winds in the summertime. I'm up high on the North side of St Thomas and feel the increased temperature just driving down the mountain a couple of miles. The homes of friends at a lower elevation to mine are noticeably warmer and need a/c (which I don't). In any event, the temperature only varies by a mere few degrees between winter and summer and the increased warmth during the summer months is simply because the cooling Trades die down. I lived in New England for many years and have never experienced here that dreadful cloying, stand-and-drip humid summer heat.
The biggest difference between winter and summer isn't the dying down of the trade winds. It's the sun! The tropical sun is straight overhead on May 4 (STX) on its way north and sits no more than 6 degrees from straight overhead all summer. It's straight overhead again on Sept 4 on its way south. In Dec, it is 40 degrees south of us. Huge difference!
Tin roofs get blistering hot. Concrete walls hold heat. Lows in the winter are in the low 70's and even the high 60's occasionally. The lows in the summer, at sea level, rarely drop below 80. Those "few degrees" make a huge difference trying to sleep during the summer months without AC.