Updated: Dec 18, 2019
Your first travel nursing assignment and you chose Guam?"
These words came from the friendly woman at the front desk, who could tell I was out of my element on my second day of work. Being a nurse in Guam is totally different than being a nurse in America. But they do have one thing in common, I will share that later. In this post, I will be updating you on my experience so far as a nurse in Guam.
As I arrived to my unit on my first day, I was greeted with friendly smiles and different accents. My first day of work went well, the nurse who was training me walked me through their charting and medication administration. But many nurses know that you learn the most as you go.
On my second day, I arrived and thought I would be training again (I was told two days of orientation). But to my surprise, I was assigned a full patient assignment (4 patients) on my own. I took a deep breath and said a prayer for God to help me have peace throughout the day.
You see, I feel like I am in a different world each time I walk onto my assigned nursing unit. Back home, we have scanners that scan a patient’s bracelet, scan their medications, calculate the dose of medication to give and pumps to program the way the medications are given. We have computers in each room, and a little handy dandy tool called a “vocera” that is basically a walkie talkie that sits on your chest so you can quickly call anyone you need.
Here in Guam, we have none of that. And I did not realize how reliant I have been on technology throughout my six years of being a nurse until I was forced to be without it.
All medications given are tracked on paper and written out by hand (usually this is done on the computer and tracked electronically).
Accu-checks (blood sugar tests usually done on the floor by nurses or techs) are unavailable and the lab techs have to come and do it for you.
All medications that need to be infused through an infusion pump are sometimes calculated by drop rate and rarely placed on a pump because pumps are totally different and sometimes unavailable.
No voceras. You simply walk around until you find the person you need.
No lists of doctors numbers, instead you press zero and ask for the operator.
They count the narcotics by hand and they are placed in a double locked box. This is a very thorough process.
No disposal blood pressure cuffs for each patient, resources are a bit limited.
So, for my first two shifts, my mind has felt like it would explode from the amount of things I have been having to relearn and absorb.
But, I absolutely love it. I love it here. The patients are so thankful and so kind. The nurses are incredibly hardworking. And my favorite part?
My favorite part is when a patient looks at me with a surprised look, wondering why I am not on the military hospital, and asks why I am living locally?
and as my answer, I am able to bring up Jesus.
Friends, this uncomfortable environment has opened up so many doors for the gospel and I am excited for God to bring the increase for the seeds we are planting.
This uncomfortable environment has increased my prayer life because I know I could not to this without God's hand in my every day work.
Am I encouraging you to move across country and be totally uncomfortable? No. I don’t think everyone is meant to do that. That is just the call my husband and I have felt in our lives.
But I will say, it is the best thing that has ever happened to us. And I would encourage you to evaluate your current circumstances and ask yourself what changes you need to make so that you are bold enough to mention the name of Jesus wherever you are.
Ask yourself how your career can mobilize you for the sake of the gospel. Because sometimes, we grow too comfortable. And we need to be careful because we were never commanded to be comfortable in this world.
When you first began this article, I mentioned that there are vast differences between working as a nurse in Ohio and working as a nurse in Guam.
But one thing both places have in common (at least on the units I have been blessed to work on so far) is teamwork.
The nurses in Guam have blown me away with their welcoming attitude, hard work, and teamwork.
I know nursing is an incredibly difficult profession. We are incredibly busy, pulled in so many different directions, and wear so many different hats during our work days.
There are many things that are out of our control, but one thing that is always in our control is our attitudes. Being kind and having teamwork makes all the difference. But if you are a nurse reading this, I just wanted to say thank you to the nurses out there who value and live this out.
Regardless of what country we live in, what skills we possess, what kind of education we have, or what kind of salary we make, Jesus has commanded each of us to use these talents to make disciples. That is how I want to live my life and I hope this encourages you to do the name.