Guam travel nursing is quite similar to travel nursing in any other US state. Since Guam is a US territory, there is no need to go through a Visa application process for Guam travel nursing. However, just like in any other state, you do need to obtain a license from the Guam BRN.
Several agencies, such as Worldwide and Vero RN, specialize in staffing RN positions in Guam. If you decide to pursue your Guam travel nursing experience, these agencies will handle everything for you. They will ensure that someone is there to pick you up at the airport and take care of essential aspects like paychecks, furnished housing, and medical benefits.
The only decision you have to make is about your daily transportation. Shipping cars to Guam is possible but can be quite costly, with CFR Rinkens charging a minimum of $1650 for one-way shipping. Purchasing cars in Guam can also be expensive due to everything being imported. The closest landmass is the Philippines, which is 1,500 miles to the west.
Your best option is to look for long-term car rentals. Guam used to have the most cars per capita in the world, so there is no shortage of relatively cheap used cars, locally known as “Guam Bombs,” which can cost as little as $10 per day. Alternatively, you can purchase a used bicycle at an affordable price. Plus, your living situation is likely to be very close to the hospital.
Guam offers a wide range of activities, including mountain climbing, hiking, and water activities such as snorkeling. It is a beach culture, and you’ll find plenty of hotels, bars, and tourists, particularly in the popular tourist area of Tumon. Don’t miss out on the abundance of free beaches and make sure to head south to the Southern Hills to enjoy the stunning scenery. Just bear in mind that most local businesses are closed on Sundays, as the island is primarily Catholic.
Beaches and Weather
One of the reasons why Guam travel nursing is incredibly popular is because of its beautiful beaches and pleasant weather. However, like any other place, the weather can vary from season to season. The best time to visit is from December to February when the average temperature is around 75-80°F.
From March to June, the weather can get quite hot, reaching temperatures of 80-90°F. The worst time to visit is between July and November, which is typhoon season. During these months, there are usually 22-25 days of rain per month and at least one major storm.
Another option for travel nursing in the South Pacific is American Samoa. While the pay may not be as high as in the United States, you will gain valuable cultural experiences. The minimum wage in American Samoa is much lower, at under $3 per hour. However, the cost of living is relatively affordable, which helps balance out the lower wages.
The main hospital that employs mainlanders is the LBJ Tropical Medical Center. The building itself dates back to the 1960s and could use some renovation. Despite several severe storms and occasional flooding, the building still stands strong. However, it is important to note that medical supplies can run out due to the island’s remote location, leading to frustrating waiting times for restocking.
Although the building may not impress, the equipment is up to date. The hospital has brand new ultrasound machines, and some beds are hydraulic. Moreover, you’ll be delighted by the incredible cafeteria, and the Samoan cuisine is often loved by mainlanders. Imagine having stuffed chicken, ribs, and delicious plantains for lunch!
One notable aspect is that the clinic follows a rotating schedule. Wednesdays are dedicated to postpartum care, Thursdays for new patients, and Fridays for returning patients. Patients are not given appointments and are served on a first-come, first-served basis. This rotating schedule can become particularly problematic if a doctor misses a flight, as there is no way to determine which patients need to be notified.
Privacy is not as strictly observed in American Samoa, as the facilities utilize curtains instead of doors. Female patients are often undressed, but they are wrapped in lava-lavas, which are their version of sarongs.
Diabetes and obesity are significant concerns in American Samoa. To address these issues, all patients undergo early glucose screenings. While there are licensed midwives, the L&D staff is limited, consisting of only 4 RNS, 2 LPNs, and 4 CNAs. Epidurals to manage pain are not available, and IV pain medication is the only option. However, it’s worth noting that patients often exhibit a casual approach to childbirth and may stroll into the delivery room when they are already 9 cm dilated.
While many patients have limited English proficiency, they can understand and speak a little bit of the language. Samoan is the preferred language, and the overall culture is laidback, similar to Hawaii. Even the family members of patients receiving care can be described as laidback.