Nursing in the Caribbean or Bahamas

  1. I am an OR nurse interested in working for a couple of years in the Caribbean or Bahamas. I tried to do a little research on my own but am running into walls. I am wondering about the availability of jobs for nurses in these areas and the expectations of them. I ask because I understand Puerto Rico and some of the other islands are Spanish speaking and I don't speak the language. Is it possible for a nurse to get a job in there without speaking Spanish? Are there hospitals large enough to maintain a surgical suite for routine stuff or do they just do emergencies and send the rest to PR? I know I may sound a little naive about it and I probably am but if you want to slap me around a bit and straighten me out, that would be awesome. Thanks
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    About ruggster

    Joined: Mar '09; Posts: 19; Likes: 3


  3. by   relax925
    There are several islands in the caribbean where spanish is not the primary language. If you only speak english, consider islands such as the US virgin islands, or British virgin islands. Here's a link to a "large" hospital on St thomas, US VI. It looks large enough where they might have on a regular staff for their OR.
    Good luck!
  4. by   NeedchangeofPace
    Having lived in the Bahamas for 15 years, you will have problems obtaining a work permit. You may not apply for one, your prospective employer has to appy for one on your behalf. There has to be an Job opening that is not able to be filled by a Bahamian or the spouse of a Bahamian or those citizens that are from Commonwealth Countries, ie UK, Canada, Turks and Caicos etc.

    You will run into the same problems in ST Kitts, St Martin, Antiqua, British Virgins, Turks and Caicos etc. The only places where you may be able to land a job is Puerto Rico or St Thomas. As these are US Territories.

    Or you can marry a Native and automatically have Immigration Status.

    Last edit by NeedchangeofPace on Mar 7, '09 : Reason: addtional info
  5. by   ruggster
    I think my wife would be opposed to me marrying a native but I will ask her. Thanks for the advice. Are those islands that you mentioned all english speaking? I thought from the little bit of research that I have done that they have quite the nursing shortage there. If that is the case, would obtaining a permit be that difficult? I would imagine that if they are looking for a nurse for some period of time they would be happy to apply for one for me.
  6. by   NeedchangeofPace
    ....ok maybe marrying a native isn't such a great idea.

    I think you will find that English is spoken just about everywhere, even though it may not be the Official language.

    One of the caveats of a work permit in the Bahamas was, I could only work in the one business that I was employed, it's not like a US Green Card, where one can work anywhere. When the business that I worked for was sold I lost my Immigration status and could only stay as a tourist, a max of 60 days, but had to leave the country then re-enter. I haven't been back since (16 yrs.)

    Most Island nations are Independent and have their own Sovereignty, but since most are small they still use the same Laws as their former "occupants", if you will. The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, British Virgins, Montserrat still answer to the Queen on matters of great political importance and use the Laws of the United Kingdom as its base. The Queen does appoint A Governor General to these places as her Representative to the Crown in which the respective Prime Ministers "report" to.
    Plus they drive on the wrong side of the road, just wait when you take a right hand turn.

    I am sure this would be similar to St Kitts, Antigua etc.
    St Thomas and Puerto Rico since are they US territories you have a better chance of finding work.

    I would imagine if you contacted the various Hospitals by formal letter, they will give you the lowdown on positions and and Immigration Requirements.

    Island living IS very expensive, but thats another thread.

    Hope this helps....

  7. by   ruggster
    great! My wife was a little apprehensive about me marrying a native islander. Once she stopped yelling and hitting me we were able to have a conversation under the bathroom door. I explained that I thought it was just a joke. It took awhile for her to calm down but I think she's all set now. I'll wait another hour or so before I come out. Anyway, thanks for the information. I will probably contact the hospitals and see what the process is. The first post gave me one hospital to start with and I'll go from there. As for the expense, I am sure that it is expensive. Anything that is worthwhile is going to cost something. This is actually something that we will be looing at doing in about a year or so from now so I will have a chance to check on that aspect prior to going. Thanks again for the help.
  8. by   NeedchangeofPace
    Mrs's ok I was only kidding....please let him out now....pleeeeze!

    The work permit thing can take a year or more to facillitate

  9. by   ruggster
    We had intended on witing until the spring of next year to start looking but if that is the case. We will start now to see if we find something that will fit. Thanks again for all your help.
  10. by   Morecowbell
    What about Travel nursing. Does the Bahamas utilize these agencies? I am an american citizen born to bahamian parents, i would hope i wouldn't have such a problem finding a position. don't think i would want to LIVE there, but wouldn't mind spending 3-6months there and thought that a travel nurse agency could help with this. any one have a clue on this?

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