This month we’re featuring experienced RN, Diane Walker, who just completed her 3rd Guam assignment. (Check out her amazing photos!) We are thankful she’s a part of the Vero family.
Keep reading to learn about Diane’s story, tips for new travelers, and a special message for fellow nurses.
What inspired you to start travel nursing?
I entered nursing late in life so I’ve only been a nurse for about 9 years, 7 of those as a traveler. I met a young man who traveled and his stories of places he’d been and experiences he’d had was what inspired me.
Can you describe your experience travel nursing thus far?
For the most part, my experiences as a travel nurse have been good. I’ve met some amazing nurses and aids along the way and can honestly say I have friends all over the world. I’ve worked from NH during fall foliage to beaches of SC and of course Guam. We all know the money is great but for me, it’s so much more than that. You get to immerse yourself in a new culture with each new assignment. You learn a lot about different outlooks on life, traditions, and beliefs. It’s been a fascinating ride and I can’t wait for what’s to come.
What things should nurses keep in mind as they prepare for this assignment?
I don’t pull punches, the work here is tough. I will say I have learned more here than anywhere else I’ve worked. Even though the work is tough, the staff here truly works as a team. The regular staff is amazing and they treat the travel nurses like family. There is also an amazing group of travelers here that truly support each other on and off the clock. You also have to be flexible, able to improvise because sometimes we run out of things that you’re used to having plenty of on the mainland.
Do you have any housing or transportation recommendations for Guam assignments?
Always watch the Facebook pages. There are often people on there looking for roommates. Some places you can rent come in a car. If you have to use an agency for a car there are several here. Prices vary depending on demand but are usually reasonable ($500/mo.).
Why did you choose to work with Vero & Michelle as your recruiter?
I came across one of Michelle’s ads about Guam on Facebook. I’m truly glad I did. Not only is this place amazing but Michelle is amazing. She always checking in to make sure I’m doing ok and to see if I need anything. That is not always easy with the time difference but she makes the time. She doesn’t just have you sign on the dotted line and then forget about you which has happened to me with other recruiters. She’s a good, genuine person and she truly cares about her nurses.
What advice would you give to a nurse who is interested in travel nursing?
1st, Research your assignment before you sign and make sure you can trust your recruiter. 2nd, Research where you want to stay before you book. Look at the place on google maps to see if you’re near trains, airports, etc. I had one place that was right behind a commuter rail at an intersection, whistles, and bells 24/7. Travel nursing is a lot of fun and can be one amazing adventure after another, but you need to be willing to step out and do things by yourself sometimes, especially when you first arrive. Hook up with other travelers and find people who want to do and see the same types of things you do. Don’t be afraid to try something new.
When you’re not working, what are your favorite things to do?
Here in Guam, I’m finding new favorite things to do every day. The beaches are beautiful and each one is different. Snorkeling has wowed me here, it’s a whole different world filled with life and color. I love getting to know the local people here, they are so different from back home. They are truly grateful for all you do for them.
Do you have any words of encouragement for your fellow nurses?
As a travel nurse, we have the opportunity to go anywhere we want and see all the wonderful sights along the way. Make sure you take time away from work to enjoy the place you’re visiting. Always remember that you are working at that facility because they are short-handed so don’t expect to have it easy. Remember what you get out of any position is often a direct result of what you put into it. Work hard, play hard and enjoy life.
What is one thing you absolutely cannot travel without?
Pack light, shorts, tee shirts, flip flops. Anyone on the island rarely dresses up. Also if you need new scrubs, stethoscopes, etc get them before you come. It’s not always easy to get those things here and you often have to order them online. Most of all bring an open mind, an open heart, and your sense of adventure.
If you would like to learn more about the travel nurse opportunities, contact Diane’s recruiter, Michelle Breitburg.
Visit our Facebook Group: Vero Guam Travel Nurses to connect with travelers on the island.