Nursing in the VI
I am contemplating moving to the virgin islands to do nursing work. I have heard a mixed bag of reviews about what the hospitals are like. I was wondering if there are anymore current takes on the hospital working situation down there. Also, do you think it is wiser to go as a traveling nurse or to just become one of the permanent staff considering I am planning on being there a minimum of 6 months with a maximum of indefinitely. Any advice welcome. Thanks!
The vast majority of people who move here leave within a few months so you could start as a visiting nurse and see if you like it here. Visiting nurses usually max out at six months, at which time you could opt to become permanent if you like it here. However, permanent nurses tend to be reluctant to befriend visiting nurses because of the turnover; it isn't pleasant to continually lose new friends who return to the states. Should you find a lukewarm welcome as a visiting nurse remember that if you chose to become permanent you will likely be more warmly received. You can use the search feature on this site to find past posts on this topic as it is a common query.
I don't know about stt but another reason traveling nurses receive a lukewarm reception on stx is often the traveling nurses are making more money!
Yea I just got here 2.5 months ago and I am already tired of saying good bye to friends! Geez!! You meet some cool people and 2 weeks later they dissapeared. Craziness!!!
Oh well life happens!
If you are only planning on coming for 6 months sign as a traveler. If you really like (and they like/need you) it they will offer for you to extend your contract up to another 6 months before you are required to sign as perm. staff. If you don't want to sign as perm. staff you can leave for 3 months and then return again as a traveler, if they need/want you again. Problems with being a traveler: one of the biggest problems I hear is health insurance. The health insurance offerred through your company is usually accepted here, but you are considered out of network and usually pay about 60% of your medical costs. Acceptance- you often are not treated with the same respect as local nurses or those who are perm. You also get paid way more than us! Scheduling- perm. staff definitely has the upper hand and gets priority. Floating- travelers float before perm. staff to the floors who need you. I am not sure what type of nurse you are but floating to other units is VERY common. I am from the states and I am a staff nurse. I like working here as staff and I feel I was welcomed to the unit and accepted eventually. We have great benefits because we are considered govt employees. We have 17 paid holidays, your birthday too! Technology wise we are def behind the states, but efficient enough. PM me if you have specific questions or I can give you some good contacts. Good luck
I moved to St Croix as a staff nurse 3 years ago. If you come as a traveler you will make more money. That is the only good thing about being a traveler here. No matter if you come as a traveler or join as a staff nurse, you will be treated like an outsider for about a year. There are several issues that make coming here to work very uncomfortable and frustrating for state side nurses (At First). The standards of care and the level of skills/knowledge the staff have is very outdated. They have so many traveler's that come and tell them everything that is wrong-stay for a couple of months and go. Then the next group come and tell them how bad/wrong and outdated they are. This cycle repeats its self over and over. If you had to endure that ever few months you wouldn't welcome outsiders or new people either. Hence, it takes you about a year to be excepted as part of the "regular" staff. The hospital is a government run facility. It is virtually impossible for anyone to be fired. It is a hospital for employees, not patients. You will see practices of care that will blow your mind and wonder how this could go on without someone in administration bringing down the hammer. Remember, this is a small island and everyone is someones child/grandchild/godchild/cousin etc etc. For the first 6 months I was in more confrontations with other staff members fighting against the wrongs/injustices I had seen. In my first two weeks, on two separate occasions, two different staff members were verbally fighting with patients. So what are the benefits. I have been here for 3 years now and everybody knows me and has welcomed me in. Since they know me everyone is very helpful and I can usually move within the system get things accomplished for the betterment of the patients. I have been able to grow and offer my skills and training. It's a good feeling when you are finally excepted. The very best part, for me, is the patients. The patients here are so grateful/thankful for the care you give them. In the states, the patients expect it-it's their right. Here they don't, so what you give is met with such warmth and gratitude. There is so much need here. If you truly care about people, as a nurse, you will find no other job more rewarding. I love my patients. If you are someone who is interested in advancing into areas for growth, the opportunities are endless. The hospital is very behind and there is tons of room for improvement. Once your here for about a year and people start believing your interested in staying you can pursue enriching the hospital with your skills and ideas.
Over all it just keeps getting better. That first year was pretty rough, but now, it's the best job I ever had.
I hope this was helpful. My husband read me your question. I never come on the message board but wanted to respond to you. I do hope you decide to come-just remember-the first year is a little rough, but after that it gets better and better.
Thank You!!! so much for the insight and even more for your personal dedication and commitment. Hearing criticism from newcomers about the system and the island in general, happens in every workplace but rarely are the pay scales so lopsided as in the traveling nurse scenario which further compounds the problem as you explained it.
Many good friends of mine have come and worked in our hospitals and clinics here and have left after a few years because they felt that their skills and learning were not progressing and if they didn't return to the mainland soon they would feel obsolete and uncompetitive in a more modern stateside facility.They didn't feel unappreciated or unaccepted but worried about their future careers unless they stayed here on island forever.
I STRONGLY suggest that you should come as a visiting nurse. But you need to accept not only the way they do things here but also respect the people. You will be paid more and there are some hard feelings there, Get past that. Then learn if this is the place for you. It is not for everyone. My best friend came down and worked in ER. She said it was not like being on the mainland. Shortages of this and that. Old ways etc. But she accepted that this was the way it was and had a wonderful time.
Are there any specialty Nurses that get paid more or are in higher demand on either STT or STX?
The staff at Juan Luis on StX was told this week that there would be some 'cuts' coming in the new year among the 'contract' employees. New nurses are 'on contract' for a period of several months before becoming part of the union. I would assume that traveling nurses are always "on contract," ...so while they certainly need stateside nurses and skills, the nursing job market here may dry up in 2009 -unless you have a specialty and experience, -which seems to be what they need the most. Even so, look before you leap.
There are traveling contracts and then there are per diem contracts for staff nurses waiting for a NOPA. I wonder which one will get the cut backs...
I am a nurse also contemplating a move to St. Thomas.. but I am confused.. I thought that travel companies provide free housing for the nurse. The company I work for provides housing or a stipend if the nurse chooses to find her own. Wouldnt it be easier to take the free housing, since the apartment is ready to live in as soon as you get there? I am going to try the travel nurse thing there before I decide to make the actual move.. Then again, I live in Cleveland, so it's a "no-brainer"... ha, ha. Any travel nurses on St. Thomas with info on the housing provided by the agency?
Most apartments are rented furnished. I don't know where the provided housing is but do know that several traveling nurses rent their own places or share a place with another nurse.