Re: US Public Health Service

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    Hi there. I am wondering if anyone has personal experience as a member of the US Public Health Service and being commissioned in Alaska. We currently live in Eagle River. I am working on my BSN through UAA and am interested in joining either the Public Health Service or the Air Force. Staying in AK would be fantastic but there is not a lot of information out there. I know there is info at the military nursing forum but not AK-specific. Anyone have any helpful info? Thanks so much.
  2. 6 Comments so far...

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    May be too late to respond... Joining the PHS (www.usphs.gov) can be a great experience. You get all the military benefits but without the long deployments. You are only obligated to deploy 2 weeks out of the year for a national disaster. Until Hurricane Katrina, many 20+ years officers had never deployed. THere are many pluses to joining-- if you are considering the military/uniformed service pathway and love AK go for PHS . Be warned it is more quasi military most of the officers have not been to a basic officer training school and do not know military jargon, etc. You apply to what jobs you want and what you will accept before you sign on the dotted line. Application process is about 6-8 months long. Okay here are negatives: like the military PHS promotion is very specific and you always have to be working for the next promotion ( volunteering for committees, doing extra projects), they like you to move at least 3 times in your career (up to you when, where, what). I was not a nurse in PHS I was detailed as a scientist so what I am about to say is hearsay and this is what I am not rejoining PHS-IHS as a new nurse: the IHS hospitals are usually understaffed and short on supplies and you have a very poor, inadequate training new grad training period. I dont have personnel expereince but have heard the quality of care sometimes isn't the best but not sure if that is true.

    I plan to rejoin after I have 2-4 years under my belt at a large hospital so I can rejoin as a public health nurse or nurse practitioner. I do not want to be thrown into a new nurse job with 8 patients, no support staff, and little new grad training my first year out of school.

    If you have more questions, feel free. I encourage people to just do it for 2 years and you can always leave after the two years. Right now they are offering a 25,000 bonus for 4 years. Most people say there must be a catch-- there isn't. It is the best kept secret of where our tax dollars are going
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    Thank you for your feedback to this message. Do you have any information about what I can expect here in AK if I join the SRCOSTEP program? Will I be obligated to relocate out of the state of Alaska for my 2 years of service after I graduate? I don't mind being moved out into the boonies of Alaska, but I'd prefer to stay in-state if at all possible. Thank you again for any information you have to give.
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    You can go through the whole application process for SrCOSTEP without any obligation. WHen you apply make sure and say in your preferences that you only want to work in Alaska region and for IHS agency ( I don't think any other agencies are in AK for nurses).

    Agencies get together and decide who they want to offer employment to (this is before you accept the SRCOSTEP). For example, I think Alaska is in the region with WA and CA. You may have your first offer be for the Bureau of Prisons in San Diego. You can decline but you are taking the chance they won't offer you something else. Usually they will give you 3 chances before they say you are being to picky. Basically, before you sign a commitment for 2 years you will know exactly what agency and what city you will be in before you accept the SRCOSTEP program. THe minimum requirement is 2 years at that location.
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    You really shouldn't have a problem getting your first choice in AK. They always have positions at Norton Sound Hospital and some other remote location. You may also want to look into public health nursing. I found this great job--not PHS -- but they have a strong new grad training program, and pay well with excellent benefits and you qualify for a loan repayment program. I think it was a private run agency..It was in a small town in the southeastern -- rainforest area.. I tried finding the link for you but can't find it. If I could handle a small town I woudl love the job.
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    Kechikan health center!!
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    Thank you so much for this information. I have been wondering about these very things. Sounds like I will at least have some say in where I go. I don't mind moving but I also would like to have a chance to express my preferences. Thank you again.


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