Vero Travel Nurse Spotlight – Nicole T. Takes Guam

post by Kristina Thomas

Nicole is an experienced ER nurse with multiple Guam travel nurse assignments under her belt.

Guam is a popular travel nurse destination due to the location, outdoor adventures, and amazing people you meet along the way.

Since 2011, Nicole has tapped into her nursing superpower and gained valuable skills that helped prepare her for the assignment of a lifetime in Guam. Keep reading to learn more about Nicole, her journey into travel nursing, advice for new travelers, and important Guam tips!

What inspired you to start travel nursing? 

Nursing is my second career. Before nursing, I was in the clinical research field. Honestly, nursing wasn’t on my radar, but after working with incredible oncology patients, I was inspired to go into the field. After nursing school, I was placed in the ER specialty based on my residency program. I had every intention of starting out on the floor or stepdown unit, but while in my interview, the manager thought I’d be a good fit for ER based on my clinical skills and I said yes, I’ll give it a try.

Now, I love the ER. I became established in my career. I had obtained my masters, I was married. But I have always loved traveling. My best friends were travel nurses and would they tell me all about their experience, which made me curious. After some major life changes, I decided that I had no ties to where I was, and I wanted to try something new. I did not want to regret not giving travel nursing a try. It’s a rewarding career.

Describe your current travel nurse assignment in Guam. 

I absolutely love it here. I have been on assignment in Guam for about 10 months now. I am going home for the holidays this year, but I am planning to return afterward. The people of Guam are some of the best people I have ever met and taken care of. They are so appreciative, so caring, and so loving. I honestly do not want to leave this place.

What tips would you give to someone who is about to start a Guam travel nurse assignment? 

Guam can be intimidating because it’s so far away. It’s hard trying to figure out everything when you have no connections on the island yet. I encourage people to be patient and be outgoing once you arrive. Find an Airbnb and stay there for a while to get the lay of the land and ask questions, take a tour of rentals, etc., instead of trying to find something online. Once you get here, you’ll find what you’re looking for. There are lots of options. Once you arrive on the island, you’ll see that it’s a very close community where everyone helps each other. Whether that is finding a place to live, getting a rental car, etc. You will meet people who have spare bedrooms or own property. The second you step foot on the island you are family. The weather is about 80 degrees year-round; it is warm and has rained almost every day in this season, but it’s not a washout. It only lasts for a little while. Personally, I lived in a hotel for about two weeks before I moved. I currently live with an amazing group of people. So, say yes to new adventures and experiences, and come to Guam.

When you’re not working, what are your favorite things to do in Guam? 

I love anything outside. I’m always hiking, swimming, or biking. In Guam, there are a lot of clubs for outdoor enthusiasts, such as running clubs. It’s very easy to find these clubs too when you start asking around and talking to other travelers or hospital staff, and locals. It’s a great way to meet new people and really explore the island. You will always have something to look forward to. For example, we run on Tuesdays and we bike on Sundays. I love hiking in the Southern Mountains, and my favorite beach on the island is Ritidan Beach, it’s a must-see.

What important lessons have you learned as a travel nurse (nurse in general)? 

I think every new traveler should network with experienced ones. Get on social media, especially in these Facebook groups for travel nurses. There are people that are willing to chat with you and answer your questions about their experience at a particular hospital, city, or a recruiter. Be open and willing to ask the hard questions, such as what they have enjoyed and what has been a challenge for them. Networking is the key to getting the best assignment for you.

Why did you choose to work with Vero & Simon as your recruiter?

I actually got referred by another traveler. Guam appealed to me because it’s on the other side of the world and presented a unique opportunity. I talked to a couple of people who really enjoyed working in Guam before I made my decision.

My recruiter Simon has always been available to me. He understands the challenges we go through here and is sympathetic to them. For me, he has always acknowledged what is happening and checked in on me regularly and that makes the difference. When you’re so far away and in a new location, it’s important to have that support. If something happened overnight, he’s responsive and gets things done.

What’s one thing you absolutely couldn’t travel without? My computer

Words of encouragement for your fellow nurses?

I never thought that I would enjoy being a nurse as much as I do. This profession is hard, but travel nursing has afforded me the opportunity to meet amazing people all over the world. I cannot believe that I am able to wake up in paradise every day on this island. Our job can have some bad days, days that I’ve cried, but on the flip side, there are some great days. I’ve walked away with lifelong friends and I am very lucky to have found this career.

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