Looking to get some information about working for IHS. I found the web site and have reviewed it but I would like to here some real life personal experiences from those who have been. I do have a husband and kids and we are looking to make a move. Thanks in advance for anything you can share
Oct 11, '12
I don't have any personal experience, but I did have a friend a number of years ago who married a family practice doc fresh out of her residency, who took a job with IHS to fulfill her loan repayment obligation. She liked her job, and they both liked the area, so much that they decided to stay on permanently after she completed her required time.
Oct 23, '12
Bumping this up in case anyone else has any info. Thanks
Oct 24, '12
Just an editing note: the correct name is Indian Health Service, not Indian Health Services.
Nov 3, '12
I am looking at working for IHS at some point as well, hopefully as a CNM when I graduate in a few years. I love working as an RN at an urban teaching hospital but I love the idea of serving this community. There isn't a whole lot on Allnurses about working for them, maybe because there are so many locations? Perhaps we will just have to jump in and post on our experiences ourselves. Good luck and please post any new info
Nov 3, '12
I worked for the IHS for nine years in New Mexico and Arizona.
I enjoyed the work,was able to train in the area I desired and gained experience in ways I would have been unlikely to do in other setting. I grew to love the area,landscape and culture.
That being said there are things you will need to realize aout this very different work setting. First, you are in someone else's culture and you must respect that and adapt to the way things are done there. Many of the areas are very remote and you will be a long way from amenities. The housing available at some locations is limited and may not be up to the standards you are used to or if near the edge of reservations you may need to commute 30-50 miles to work if you live off the reservation. Unless your spouse is also in healthcare there is unlikely to be local employment for them.
As for your children, it is a mixed bag: academics-wise the schools tended to be somewhat behind the average grade level in teaching. Many people opted to send their kids to local church run private schools. It is however a great value for children to learn about living in a different culture. My son was cared for by a local woman while I worked and was just "thrown in" with the rest of her kids so was able to experience much of everyday life there. Even what seems very negative - the fact that he was the only "Anglo" child in his grade and did end up on the receiving end of quite a bit of racism and poor treatment from some kids - did in the long run prove to be invaluable, as it taught him a perspective that he would never have had elsewhere and helped him to grow up with an awareness of how hurtful such behavior is.
Although it seems I have written much negative, I would go back in a minute. I left only because of a desire to travel and do take jobs back out on the res when I can to reconnect with everyone.
Nov 4, '12
Thank you for the information BadLadyRN! Two big obsticles for me will be adjusting to the culture and finding my spouse a job. I didn't realize the employment component for him until I spoke with one of my charge nurses (who had worked with IHS transfers in Albuquerque) this evening about the topic. I have another coworker who lived close to an IHS hospital in South Dakota who was suprised by the baby friendly status of one of the IHS hospitals. Both reflected fondly of the areas and of the culture in general.
Nov 6, '12
Thank you for sharing your experiences. I didn't think of the fact that we would be really remote and it may be hard for my husband to find employment. Driving a long distance to work would be something dfferent for me I only have a 15 to 20 minute drive to work now.
Nov 28, '12
Hey everyone! I've been looking into IHS and have even been contacted about a job. I've heard from all the threads I've read that all the nurses love it. I am a little worried as well about getting used to being in such a remote location, as well as how receptive the Native Americans will be to white non-natives. I am looking into the four corners location in Teec Nos Pos. Is there anyone who has worked in that location? Does anyone have some useful information on that area and the local natives? Am I looking at driving a half hour away to get groceries? Is there an opportunity to learn some Navajo culture? (aside from just the hospital). This is a very exciting opportunity for me, especially since I am a graduate RN and can't find any work in NY
I just want to have some idea so I don't go in blindly!! Thank you guys for any info!
@ bagladyRN your post was very helpful
What areas in AZ and NM did you work?
Jan 14, '13
I know I'm a little late to this thread, but I'm in the same boat as the poster. I'm looking for information on working on a reservation. I've read some of bagladyrn's posts and those are very helpful. I found this link on a google search;
Careers in the Indian Health Service | MinorityNurse.com
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