RN wanting to relocate...

Feb 10th, 2011, 05:13 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2010
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RN wanting to relocate...

I am an RN with 16 yrs experience. It has always been my dream to live on one of the islands or HI. I know it won't be easy and I know I won't get rich. I am at a point in my life where I just want to be happy and relaxed. I am in the very early stages, but am looking at HI, St. Johns, Cabo ( I know that will be hard to pull off), Costa Rica..anyplace that is safe and clean. I don't want total isolation and enjoy good music, art, restaurants, etc.

rdugirl is offline  
Feb 10th, 2011, 05:32 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
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For tons of information about living and working in the USVI's go to www.vimovingcenter.com - it will take you the better part of a month to read all the material on the sight.

There's also a forum there with thousands of recent posts asking every conceivable question you could have and many questions you haven't even thought of yet. By the way there are quite a few threads about nursing opportunities in the USVI's.

FYI - St. John (no "s") is the name of the island in the USVI's. St. John's is the capital city of Antigua.
RoamsAround is offline  
Feb 10th, 2011, 06:09 PM
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One thing you have to consider - if you are planning to relocate to a foreign country you cannot just show up one day and expect to take up residence and/or work as most countries have laws limiting immigration and work by non-citizens. You have to research this very carefully.

Assuming you are a US citizen you have citizenship/work status in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra and the US Virgin Islands so relocating there will be as easy (from a legal standpoint) as moving to another city in the US.

Relocating to any other island in the Caribbean is much more complex, often requiring a substantial investment (think in terms of hundreds of thousands of dollars) in a residential property or in a business that provides jobs for the locals and that still doesn't give you the ability to work. For that you need a work permit which is often difficult to get. Requirements vary but usually entail having a unique skill and your potential employer must prove there are no qualified locals who can fill the position.

Not to put damper on your dream but one of the difficulties you'll face living/working in the Caribbean is that, in general, living expenses are higher and wages are lower than comparables "back home" - that's the Catch-22 of living/working in the Caribbean.

That's especially true on St. John which is one of the more expensive islands in the Caribbean and one that has very few job opportunities for RN's (there's no hospital on St. John, only a small clinic).

Look instead on St. Thomas or St. Croix - there are more places a RN can work on those islands.
RoamsAround is offline  
Feb 11th, 2011, 03:02 AM
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Thank you so much for the link and spelling correction '-) I am a U.S. citizen so I will concentrate on the areas that recognize me as such. I am not planning on making the move until fall so I have some time to do my homework. I know that my cost of living will be higher and my wages lower, but I am hoping that my new, low key, stress free (or less stress) lifestyle will make up for it. Money isn't everything right?

If you have any other suggestions or tips, please let me know!
rdugirl is offline  
Feb 11th, 2011, 03:08 AM
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What do you know about the HI islands? I know that RN jobs are easier to come by there than they are the USVI/PR. You seem to know a lot about the Caribbean, so if you were going to live there, where would you go and why? Thanks!
rdugirl is offline  
Feb 11th, 2011, 04:17 AM
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Avoid foreign countries you will need a work visa

and they do not pay squat...

Puerto Rico USVI tend to have more jobs.

Actually have turned down a directorship job offer

on the North Shore of Oahu Hawaii with Kaiser Permanante

after factoring in the cost of living

but Kaiser has good Hawaii nursing ops particularly on Oahu

The North Shore was my fav around Turtle Bay

a beautiful little clinic up there very laid back area.

Not cheap to live there though...

and lower cost of living so do careful research.
qwovadis is offline  
Feb 11th, 2011, 05:20 AM
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take it from an Ex-pat living in the Caribbean if you do thorough research you'll find that living in the islands is not really simple or stress free. People think is;and life is all sitting under a palm tree on a nice beach sipping a pina colada. They often mistake the slowness of what we call "island time" as being laid back and casual. The truth is "island time" can be very frustrating because everything moves very slowly. Simple things like cashing a check at the bank can take you 45 minutes, paying your utility bill takes 30 minute, often when grocery shopping you have to visit 3 or 4 stores just to find a staple like milk (assuming, of course, the stores aren't out of it the day you are shopping. You'll find out what it's like to wait 3 days for the repairman to come and fix your refrigerator only to find out he has to order the part and it takes another 3 weeks for it to arrive "on-island". You deal regularly with power outages, internet outages, etc. I'm not trying to scare you but rather point out that moving to the islands doesn't get you "out of the rat race" it just gets you to a different venue. The rats race here just as often as they do anywhere else. Living in the Caribbean is not necessarily better or worse than where you are now - it's just DIFFERENT.

Many people make the move and don't stay very long - others come and never leave. It's different for everybody. The best advice I can give you is:

1) Make a Pre-Move Visit (stay for several weeks or perhaps a few months) before packing up all your belongings and moving permanently. Don't come for vacation. Instead stay in a housekeeping or efficiency apartment, do every day chores. find out what life s really like.

2) Make sure you come with some "money in the bank" as you'll need three month's rent (first month, last month and security deposit) just to walk in the door. You'll need deposits for all your utilities, you'll need to buy a decent used car (taxis are expensive and public transportation is "iffy" at best. Bring enough to support yourself for say 6 months and to purchase a return ticket if you decide island life isn't for you.

3) Keep in mind it is difficult to find a job until you are actually "on island" as most employers want to know you are "here" before hiring you. Many people say the are coming but never actually show up.

4) Most importantly, take off the rose colored glasses and see what living on an island is really like. When you see comments like I've made give them serious consideration rather than say to yourself "Yeah, but I can live with that".

5) Lastly, if you say to yourself, I can't afford to make the PMV then wait until you can afford it. Trying to live "on a shoestring" in the Caribbean is a recipe for disaster.

Good luck following your dream.
RoamsAround is offline  
Feb 11th, 2011, 06:33 AM
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You could look into traveling nurses. They provide housing. St Thomas has a fairly large hospital called Schneider Regional Medical Center.
brenandg is offline  
Feb 11th, 2011, 01:29 PM
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A lot of nurses from the Caribbean work in the hospital closest to us. Most seem to be from Barbados and Trinidad, and most are not RNs.

Are there professional nurses' organizations that list employment opportunities in other countries -- and in U.S. Caribbean islands? That might be a place to start looking.
islebethere is offline  
Feb 12th, 2011, 04:10 AM
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I have done travel nursing before and yes, it is an option but assignments are hard to come by and usually go quickly. I won't be going to HI or St. Thomas/St. John on a whim, I am doing a lot of reasearch and the information I get from Fodors is invaluable..keep it coming! Thanks to all!
rdugirl is offline  
Feb 12th, 2011, 12:33 PM
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After 4 years as an ex-pat RN in Bermuda -DITTO everything roamsaround said.
Plus, can you handle not being able to get home quickly or conveniently? Air travel to islands is often neither direct nor daily, and rarely cheap. You may go months and months without getting home to visit.
Nursing on an island might be totally different than what you're accustomed to, so you really need to check out your prospective employer. Staff shortages, equipment shortages, supply shortages, seeing patients 'go without' because the specialist isn't available, the CT scanner is down and parts won't be in until next week, there's no air evac available, whatever -all daily occurences and you need to ask yourself if you can roll with it.
Again, not trying to scare you - I did it, but it wasn't easy and it came with it's own set of problems.
txgirlinbda is offline  
Feb 12th, 2011, 12:42 PM
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Yes, I have taken all those things into consideration. I am not one to scare easily nor am I going into it with rose colored glasses. I would never make a permanent move without going to check things out for myself. Working in the float pool for most of my career, I am pretty good at rolling with it. I also know that life is short and if given the chance we should go after our dreams! I appreciate all the information you guys are giving me, keep it coming!
rdugirl is offline  
Feb 13th, 2011, 12:14 PM
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I don't have a whole lot more to add, just wanted to say it sounds like you have the right attitude and good luck!
txgirlinbda is offline  
May 9th, 2011, 02:39 PM
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Posts: 12
This thread seems to have gone to sleep but just in case rdugirl is still in the investigating stage, I would add a few thoughts. St. Thomas is definitely looking for good RN's. Salaries may be lower than you are used to however. Problems with travel may affect other islands more seriously than they do STT because we have non-stop flights to several cities...NY, Miami, Atlanta. I do agree with the advice about making a pre-move visit. That is not only practical but should be enjoyable. If not, this wasn't the right place for you.
islandatty is offline  
May 9th, 2011, 03:46 PM
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Hawaii would be by far the easiest and with the most job options.
suze is offline  
May 16th, 2011, 05:01 PM
Join Date: May 2011
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I'm an RN, too, and have had two friends work on St. Thomas as travel nurses. We are all ICU in background and they described working on St. Thomas as a "M.A.S.H. unit." It was quite an adjustment coming from an academic medical center and large community hospitals where staples of patient care (i.e. supplies and technology) are readily available. Also, it didn't matter if you were an adult ICU RN. One nurse had an assignment of a peds ICU patient although she had never done pediatric care since nursing school.

Just go into with all of your questions answered and an understanding that you are not on the mainland anymore.
Good luck
sarabaudo is offline  
Jul 31st, 2012, 01:56 PM
Join Date: Jul 2012
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I encourage you to check out a Travel Nurse Source. They are a placement agency dedicated to working only with the top travel nurse companies. They have hundres of jobs ranging from travel rn jobs, travel nurse jobs and icu travel nursing jobs.
I will leave you their site where you can browse current jobs and apply directly with them. Wish you luck!

Jimmy_Mckenzie is offline  
Jul 31st, 2012, 05:41 PM
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Jimmy - you resurrected a thread which is more than 18 months old. I suspect OP has either already found a job on the island of her choice or abandoned her dream.
RoamsAround is offline  
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