low-down on St Thomas USVI

  1. 6
    So before I came down to work in the USVI, I checked around the forums here and didn't find a great deal of specifics. So, as a service to others considering the same, here is some (hopefully) useful info for the island of St Thomas:
    The main travel agencies that have contracts here are World Wide and RTG. I think Titan has some too, but most people seem to be with Worldwide.

    Transportation around the island: there is the safari bus, an open air pickup (many of them) with bench seats that make a big loop around the island. If you live near the safari route it makes it easy and cheap to get to the hospital. If not, you'll likely need an island car (ask around, can often be found for under $1500 and then you sell it for same when you leave) or a rental, sometimes from locals who rent to travel nurses, or a scooter. You can rent one or buy one from the scooter rental places. Dangerous, yes, but cheap on gas and easy to get around traffic. The roads are steep, narrow, and have no shoulder. So don't plan on bicycling as I originally did. Don't try and drive down town on a 5 or 6 cruise ship day, it gets jammed up!

    Housing: world wide lets you find your own, I used craigs list and did fine. RTG and Titan put up most of their nurses at Saphire Beach, which is near Redhook and right on the safari route. Nice because if you go to the bar, you'll find other travel nurses to hang with. It isn't too far to most places on the island...if I could do it over again I'd be near redhook, since it it where much of the sailing and diving and such is based out of. And it is away from the cruise ships and is on the safari route. But there are other nice places too.

    The people at the hospital: Nice. At least in the same ratio of nice people to grumpy pants as you're likely to find anywhere. Locals included, who are mostly nice and smiling and welcoming to travelers. Sure, there are some a little grumpy, and some a little lazy, but I have observed a similar percentage of lazy travlers as lazy locals. Most of this is a consequence of island time. Figure it out and get used to it. Nothing happens fast here. Nothing. Or effeciently. Nothing is effecient. It is comical except when it isn't. This probably isn't like where you are coming from. Just roll with it. Do your best and it'll be ok.

    Money: Seems to be about the same regardless of which company you use. Neighborhood of $1300/week before housing cost. Overtime is $40/hr, sometimes available. Might be able to pick up per diem shifts at St Croix, they are hurting for staff and are trying not to use travelers, but will pay for your flight over from St Thomas and put you up in a hotel for 1-2 shifts a week. Haven't done it, but some folks here are looking at it as an option to make more money.

    Other stuff: the license endoresment can take a little time. Bring hard copies of your bls, acls, pals, whatever cards. Food is expensive here. Most things are expensive here. Except rum, which is plentyful and cheap and good. Cell phones from home will work if they are GSM (like att) and not CGMA (like Verizon). Or you can buy a local prepaid tracfone for about $10 and put minutes on it as you need them. Don't arrive broke and counting on your first big pay check. Have something in the bank when you arrive, just good policy. Take it easy, don't get mad and don't be arrogant, smile, and BE SURE TO SAY "Good Morning" or "Good Day" to people or you won't get anything done. It is a formal nicety widely observed here. You don't want to be the rude continental.

    Hope this helps, if you have specific questions send me a pm.
    softrbreeze, UnaNayeli, Action Plan, and 3 others like this.
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  4. 0
    Quote from mtlj
    So before I came down to work in the USVI, I checked around the forums here and didn't find a great deal of specifics. So, as a service to others considering the same, here is some (hopefully) useful info for the island of St Thomas:
    The main travel agencies that have contracts here are World Wide and RTG. I think Titan has some too, but most people seem to be with Worldwide.

    Transportation around the island: there is the safari bus, an open air pickup (many of them) with bench seats that make a big loop around the island. If you live near the safari route it makes it easy and cheap to get to the hospital. If not, you'll likely need an island car (ask around, can often be found for under $1500 and then you sell it for same when you leave) or a rental, sometimes from locals who rent to travel nurses, or a scooter. You can rent one or buy one from the scooter rental places. Dangerous, yes, but cheap on gas and easy to get around traffic. The roads are steep, narrow, and have no shoulder. So don't plan on bicycling as I originally did. Don't try and drive down town on a 5 or 6 cruise ship day, it gets jammed up!

    Housing: world wide lets you find your own, I used craigs list and did fine. RTG and Titan put up most of their nurses at Saphire Beach, which is near Redhook and right on the safari route. Nice because if you go to the bar, you'll find other travel nurses to hang with. It isn't too far to most places on the island...if I could do it over again I'd be near redhook, since it it where much of the sailing and diving and such is based out of. And it is away from the cruise ships and is on the safari route. But there are other nice places too.

    The people at the hospital: Nice. At least in the same ratio of nice people to grumpy pants as you're likely to find anywhere. Locals included, who are mostly nice and smiling and welcoming to travelers. Sure, there are some a little grumpy, and some a little lazy, but I have observed a similar percentage of lazy travlers as lazy locals. Most of this is a consequence of island time. Figure it out and get used to it. Nothing happens fast here. Nothing. Or effeciently. Nothing is effecient. It is comical except when it isn't. This probably isn't like where you are coming from. Just roll with it. Do your best and it'll be ok.

    Money: Seems to be about the same regardless of which company you use. Neighborhood of $1300/week before housing cost. Overtime is $40/hr, sometimes available. Might be able to pick up per diem shifts at St Croix, they are hurting for staff and are trying not to use travelers, but will pay for your flight over from St Thomas and put you up in a hotel for 1-2 shifts a week. Haven't done it, but some folks here are looking at it as an option to make more money.

    Other stuff: the license endoresment can take a little time. Bring hard copies of your bls, acls, pals, whatever cards. Food is expensive here. Most things are expensive here. Except rum, which is plentyful and cheap and good. Cell phones from home will work if they are GSM (like att) and not CGMA (like Verizon). Or you can buy a local prepaid tracfone for about $10 and put minutes on it as you need them. Don't arrive broke and counting on your first big pay check. Have something in the bank when you arrive, just good policy. Take it easy, don't get mad and don't be arrogant, smile, and BE SURE TO SAY "Good Morning" or "Good Day" to people or you won't get anything done. It is a formal nicety widely observed here. You don't want to be the rude continental.

    Hope this helps, if you have specific questions send me a pm.
    Thanks for this post--super helpful! I am looking to get an assignment in STT this May 2013, I'm currently on an assignment until then. I'm an experienced ICU nurse...I've got a couple other questions that maybe you could help with:

    How long did the licensure process take?
    Are you working 8 or 12 hr shifts? Does the hospital offer both..I heard rumor of 8's only, which would not be fun when living in paradise

    Thanks!
  5. 0
    In answer to the questions, at least in the ER there are mostly 12 hour shifts with occasional 8 hours shifts thrown in, so you might work 3 12's one week, 4 12's another, and 3 12's and 1 8 another week, depending on needs of department. Can't swear it is this way in all depts, but 12 hours seems to be the norm.

    I had very few issues getting my licence, the woman who handles all of it for the VI was nice and prompt in email exchanges, but I have heard horror stories about it from others
    who say they are seldom open to go in and pick up your licence...only one gal doing it and she rules her tiny kingdom with an iron fist kinda thing...still, no crazy requirements like some states.

    There is no tele or stepdown floor here, so pts are either on the medical floor with no heart monitor or the icu if they need monitoring...or sometimes boarded in the er for ever and ever until they can be dispo'd if there aren't enough icu beds/nurses. So maybe the average acuity of the icu patient's isn't as high as elsewhere? But our sickest patients are the ones that come in off the cruise ships and end up in ICU...plenty of sickies there, so don't think it is too easy!

    And re: st croix, their ceo (I think it is) just quit, so they are taking travelers again, but if the VI is a tough place to work in general, st croix in particular has it even tougher...understaffing and overcrowded and big time budget problems. don't know all the details, but have eyes wide open if you go.

    hope this helps,
    mtlj

    Quote from mtlj
    So before I came down to work in the USVI, I checked around the forums here and didn't find a great deal of specifics. So, as a service to others considering the same, here is some (hopefully) useful info for the island of St Thomas:
    The main travel agencies that have contracts here are World Wide and RTG. I think Titan has some too, but most people seem to be with Worldwide.

    Transportation around the island: there is the safari bus, an open air pickup (many of them) with bench seats that make a big loop around the island. If you live near the safari route it makes it easy and cheap to get to the hospital. If not, you'll likely need an island car (ask around, can often be found for under $1500 and then you sell it for same when you leave) or a rental, sometimes from locals who rent to travel nurses, or a scooter. You can rent one or buy one from the scooter rental places. Dangerous, yes, but cheap on gas and easy to get around traffic. The roads are steep, narrow, and have no shoulder. So don't plan on bicycling as I originally did. Don't try and drive down town on a 5 or 6 cruise ship day, it gets jammed up!

    Housing: world wide lets you find your own, I used craigs list and did fine. RTG and Titan put up most of their nurses at Saphire Beach, which is near Redhook and right on the safari route. Nice because if you go to the bar, you'll find other travel nurses to hang with. It isn't too far to most places on the island...if I could do it over again I'd be near redhook, since it it where much of the sailing and diving and such is based out of. And it is away from the cruise ships and is on the safari route. But there are other nice places too.

    The people at the hospital: Nice. At least in the same ratio of nice people to grumpy pants as you're likely to find anywhere. Locals included, who are mostly nice and smiling and welcoming to travelers. Sure, there are some a little grumpy, and some a little lazy, but I have observed a similar percentage of lazy travlers as lazy locals. Most of this is a consequence of island time. Figure it out and get used to it. Nothing happens fast here. Nothing. Or effeciently. Nothing is effecient. It is comical except when it isn't. This probably isn't like where you are coming from. Just roll with it. Do your best and it'll be ok.

    Money: Seems to be about the same regardless of which company you use. Neighborhood of $1300/week before housing cost. Overtime is $40/hr, sometimes available. Might be able to pick up per diem shifts at St Croix, they are hurting for staff and are trying not to use travelers, but will pay for your flight over from St Thomas and put you up in a hotel for 1-2 shifts a week. Haven't done it, but some folks here are looking at it as an option to make more money.

    Other stuff: the license endoresment can take a little time. Bring hard copies of your bls, acls, pals, whatever cards. Food is expensive here. Most things are expensive here. Except rum, which is plentyful and cheap and good. Cell phones from home will work if they are GSM (like att) and not CGMA (like Verizon). Or you can buy a local prepaid tracfone for about $10 and put minutes on it as you need them. Don't arrive broke and counting on your first big pay check. Have something in the bank when you arrive, just good policy. Take it easy, don't get mad and don't be arrogant, smile, and BE SURE TO SAY "Good Morning" or "Good Day" to people or you won't get anything done. It is a formal nicety widely observed here. You don't want to be the rude continental.

    Hope this helps, if you have specific questions send me a pm.
  6. 0
    hello
    i would like to talk with u about working there. can i contact you?
    helene
  7. 0
    Thank you!! I will come back to this post later, but THANKS for the info... awesome!!!!
  8. 0
    How long does it take to get your RN license by endorsement after they receive the paper work and application?
  9. 0
    I know this post is older but I appreciate the info you posted mtlj! I am considering traveling to USVI hopefully this fall from Northwest US so I am super excited about warm weather! How long did it take you to get your license? And I am assuming you are an ER nurse since you mentioned that in a post?? I work in the ER so any additional info would be awesome! How is the nightlife there? Thank you!
  10. 0
    Great info! Thanks. Planning on taking an assignment there in Oct '14. Wondering if you have any tips as to what to bring? Since I've heard buying things there can be expensive.Thanks!
  11. 0
    I haven't accepted any travel assignments as of yet, I had a few set backs. But I do hope to travel to USVI in the wintertime. What department do you work in and have you accepted an assignment in October or just looking into it?! If you have accepted, what travel agency are you using?
  12. 1
    Hi. I have my license. No job yet. My travel company has submitted my app. I work in Med/Surg - Oncology. So crossing my fingers it will work out. My travel company is AYA Healthcare. I"ll keep you posted if I get a job.
    Last edit by traumaRUs on Aug 8 : Reason: tos
    stefm13 likes this.


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