Nursing in USVI  

 

LizS
 LizS
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January 11, 2011 6:35 pm  

Hello,
I visited and fell in love with the islands, and the people! I am an RN (NICU), and would love to hear from someone about nursing there, and living as a nurse there (is it affordable? :)). I would rather be a permanent employee than a traveler. I have 20+ years of experience at great hospitals. Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much! Liz


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vermonter
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January 11, 2011 11:23 pm  

Liz, Come On down! The JFL Hospital has openings - but there isn't a NICU here, yet.. The pay is less than what you're used to but the actual working conditions aren't, really, all that bad. I know NICU is on the immediate horizon; perhaps some of the others on this message board could define "immediate" because I can't at this time. I would say hitch your wagon to an agency who can do the negotiating for you and start packing. This hospital is VI Gov't civil service with decent benefits. Good luck to you, hope to see you here soon. Let me know if you want agency info. Understand that anything I have to share with you is my opinion only and that I am not on any agency payroll nor am I recv'g kickbacks for referrals. VT


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LizS
 LizS
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January 12, 2011 12:20 am  

Thanks so much for your information! Where do you work? How long have you been there? I would like to know more about the agencies and what they do. Thanks, Liz


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vermonter
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January 13, 2011 1:35 am  

Worldwide has placed about 40 nurses here. I have a permanent position which I got via The Fortis Group. I'm the Head Nurse in the dialysis unit and I have been here for a grand total of 1 week today. So far, it's been absolutely outstanding. I'll send you some contact names and phone numbers tomorrow evening. VT


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roadrunner
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January 13, 2011 1:38 pm  

I've been at JFL for 6 months and have never heard anything about a NICU coming. There's a lot of talk about various things, but the action lags behind. Anyway, you can most definitely make it here comfortably on a nurse's salary, although it likely won't be as much as you're used to in the states. If you could work in a unit other than the NICU, come on down!! And maybe someday we'll eventually get a NICU.


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litebeer2k3
(@litebeer2k3)
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January 15, 2011 4:09 pm  

Hey VT,

We have been thinking of doing the Travel Nurse positions in St. Croix for along time now. My wife is a Dialysis nurse and is registered with several different travel companies, including the Fortis Group. As of now, we have moved to Florida and she works for Davita Dialysis.

We have several questions that you might be able to help us with.

1.) What do you do for transportation to and from work? Since both of us would be coming, I think I need a vehicle while she is at work. (I retired last year). We would live away from the hospital, somewhere around Christiansted.

It seems for a 13 or 26 week assignment that a vehicle is a huge investment, and it may not be worth it to take the assignment. We do not want to bring our own.

2.) Are the travel nurses currently on assignment satisfied?

3.) What kind of working hours are to be expected in the Dialysis Unit?

4.) What kind of Dialysis machines are currently in use?

The vehicle is our biggest concern. Any insight you give us would be greatly appreciated.


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STXBob
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January 15, 2011 6:49 pm  

For a 13 or 26 week assignment, consider buying a decent used vehicle here, then selling it afterwards. Do a private sale both times (no dealer). The net cost should be hundreds, instead of thousands for shipping a vehicle, or buying new here and selling at a big loss, or renting a vehicle. It's more work to do as I suggest, but you save big, so you're effectively getting paid for your effort.


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roadrunner
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January 15, 2011 6:58 pm  

Another alternative is to drive her to work and pick her up at the end of the day. If you live near C'sted, it won't be a long drive, and "rush hour" isn't bad here. And on days when you don't feel like getting up early and driving her in, you can probably find plenty to do at home and within walking distance! We're a one-vehicle couple (he telecommutes from home), and it works well for us.


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Neil
 Neil
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January 15, 2011 11:46 pm  

I've been at JFL for 6 months and have never heard anything about a NICU coming. There's a lot of talk about various things, but the action lags behind. Anyway, you can most definitely make it here comfortably on a nurse's salary, although it likely won't be as much as you're used to in the states. If you could work in a unit other than the NICU, come on down!! And maybe someday we'll eventually get a NICU.

JFL has some NICU capabilities and at least one great NICU experienced RN of my acquaintance ;). What they don't have is a neonatologist.

Not heard about any real plans for an nicu and frankly doubt they have the census, money or need for one.


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rdugirl
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February 11, 2011 7:32 pm  

Hey guys..I just found this site so bear with me. I am an RN currently living and working in Raleigh, NC. I have been seriously considering making a move to one of the VI. I have heard St. Thomas is 'dirty and touristy' but that is where the main hospital is located? I love St. John but was told they only have a small clinic? What about St. Croix? I know that cost of living is higher and wages are lower. I have been warned that 'island living' isn't really less stress it is just a different kind of stress (waiting and more waiting) but, I am so ready for a change. So.. what is the job market for an RN with 16 years experience in Med/Surg/Tele/Stepdown, also HH and some supervisory experience. I have always been in the float pool so I have no problem hitting the ground running. I make 31.50 an hr and pay 950 a month for 2 bedroom in historic area in downtown Raleigh, what would average salary be on the island? Housing cost?

I also went to the USVI BON site but had the link for the application didn't work? Any ideas on how long the process is to get license? What is technology like in the hospitals? I hear from other RN's who have done travel contracts that it is common to run out of supplies? Any info appreciated as I make way thru the info on the site.


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Neil
 Neil
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February 11, 2011 8:00 pm  

"dirty and touristy" ??
Nah.
"Island-ramshackle-Chique" 😎

Yes, they run out of supplies...kind of like a county or country hospital does.
But then, you don't have to drive through a foot of snow to get to work, or dream of going to the beach someday cause you're here.

Come visit and make an appointment to get a tour.


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Afriend
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Posts: 487
February 11, 2011 8:06 pm  

rdugirl - use the "Employment" drop down link at the top of this page and select "Job/wage Information" and you'll find average salaries for RN's. Use the "Real Estate" link to check out rentals, etc. There's lots of information on this site if you are willing to do a little reading.


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rdugirl
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February 12, 2011 3:49 pm  

I am totally fine with "Island-ramshackle-Chique" I did check out the average salary for RN's and I can live with it. Is there a USVI license or can you work under your current US license (NC for me). I've been doing my research and the more I find out, the more I can't wait to get there! Trying to decide if I should come on a travel contract with trustaff and then go perm or just make a visit and get hired perm to start with? Housing is my other concern. All I need is a 1 bedroom, but 2 would be nice since I am sure I will have friends/family who want to visit. I would love to bring my dog. I'm sure cost of shipping my car would be outrageous. Would a vespa be a good form of transportation? Furniture? Sell it all and either rent furnished place or buy new?

Thanks guys!


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cdsp
 cdsp
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February 12, 2011 4:56 pm  

NETWORK! on sites like this. I have a 2 unit rental in F'Sted and a used car I would be happy to let someone coming for 12-16 weeks use if the timing was right, (its not good for cars to just sit ) and I am only at my place for vacations right now. 🙂


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rhstoo
(@rhstoo)
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Posts: 195
February 12, 2011 6:02 pm  

We brought two dogs with us and it wasn't bad at all. You need to get rabies vaccination within ten days of our departure and fill out some forms. The airlines will have what you need. Depending on the size of your dog, you'll probably need a hard carrier. We bought two but you might consider talking to the local humane society. If you're doing a premove visit (PMV) you could take a dog back with you to NC for adoption and then use the case to bring yor dog. I don't knownif that would work buy I would ask. The biggest concern is going to be the temperature when you fly because there are heat/cold restrictions for pets traveling in baggage. Good luck!


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roadrunner
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February 13, 2011 11:50 am  

You do not need a rabies vaccination within 10 days of departure. You need a health certificate from your vet within 10 days of departure. I think rabies needs to be done within a year of departure, but I'm not sure about that. It might be two years. The health certificate is quick and easy -- just a quick exam by your vet and a half-page form.

If your dog is small enough to go under the seat on the plane, it will be about $100-150 to take him/her with you, and he/she counts as your carryon or your personal item. If you have a bigger dog, he or she will have to fly in the cargo area, and like rhstoo says, there are temperature concerns. Choose your airline carefully -- do a google search for numbers of animal deaths and injuries by various airlines. And take a direct flight if possible, even if it means renting a car and driving to your departure city.

Going back to your earlier questions... the hospital is about as up to date as you'd expect from a mainland hospital... monitors, CT, MRI, etc. It's not perfect, but it's better than what what most mainlanders seem to envision. It's not a tiki hut on the beach that hands out Band-Aids and chops off limbs after giving you a shot of rum! 🙂 I've heard of nurses who have stopped by the hospital while visiting to ask about potentially working there, and they've been offered a job on the spot. So I don't think you'd have a problem!

If you have any ability to make a PMV (pre-move visit), that would help a lot, particularly since your'e not sure which island you want to live on.

For shipping a car, plan on about $2000-3000. There are deals to be had here if you'd prefer to just buy a car when you get here, if you're okay with a used car, and especially if you have any auto mechanic skills. It can take time to find those deals, though, so you'd have to budget for renting a car for a while. A Vespa is not a good idea... you'll see why when you see the roads here.

Renting for a while is a good idea, and most places come furnished. Depending on what furniture you have, you will probably find that it's not practical here. A big leather couch, for example, will get moldy quickly unless you want to spend hundreds each month to run your air conditioning 24/7. Once you decide to stay permanently, then you can find plenty of nice furniture at yard sales held by people who have decided to move back to the states.

Temp versus permanent employment is a tough one. It's tempting to tell you to come as a temp and check it out first, but the problem with that is that you get different treatment from other employees depending on your status. It might actually be better to take a permanent job, stick with it for a year, and give yourself some time to really get a feel for what you think. A temp position might not be enough time.


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rdugirl
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February 13, 2011 1:19 pm  

Lol..I thought I for sure I would be handing out band-aids in my bikini 😎 . I drive a VW beetle and even those with mechanical skills find working on VW's a challenge. 2-3K for shipping my car isn't as bad as I thought it would be, but are there reliable mechanics that don't charge an arm and a leg to work on said VW? After reading up on St. John and St. Thomas, I think St. Thomas would be more practical since it seems to have more in terms of shops, restaurants, etc. that I could walk to depending on where I lived. Any areas of St. Thomas that should be avoided for safety reasons? Are there secure/gated apts/condos that offer long term rentals?

What about RN license? I looked on CL at RN jobs and it seems that you can work using your current state license? Limited information on the USVI nursing website? Are perm positions all 12 hr days or nights? If you get a referral bonus let me know and when the time comes, I will tell them you sent me :-). Are you there on travel contract or perm staff?

Thanks again for all the info!


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roadrunner
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February 13, 2011 2:21 pm  

Sorry, I'm on STX, and I've never been to STT, so I can't help you with that. And I'm not a nurse, so I don't know anything about RN licensing. I'm sure someone here does, though! Thanks anyway!


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rdugirl
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February 13, 2011 5:11 pm  

No worries..any particular reason you went to STX instead of STT?


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roadrunner
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February 13, 2011 6:01 pm  

Well, I can't say that it was a well-informed decision, as I've never been to STT. 😮 But from what I could gather without going there, STX seemed more my speed. I did visit STX twice before moving. I grew up in a small town, and I like the rural feel to it. It's a bigger island, with fewer people than STT. I also felt like either island wouldn't give me the conveniences of the mainland, so I took that out of the equation. I just take empty suitcases when I go back to the mainland, and I stock up. Or I buy stuff online. So far, I haven't had any trouble finding a company that will ship something I want down here. Also, land/homes seem to be cheaper here, and I knew I wanted to buy or build a house if I ended up staying.

Having said that, I'm sure there are plenty of people here who can tell you why they love STT! It's a very personal choice!


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