IHS -- Chinle, Shiprock, &c

  1. Hi all,

    I'm not sure which forum to post this (AZ, NM, Native American, General, OB) so I'll post here for starters.

    I am interested in an assignment in one of the IHS hospitals in L&D, days/evenings, no nights. I've gotten approval from Chinle AZ through Access Nurses, which offers 8 week contracts. I've not travelled before, so I thought an 8 week contract would be good place to start, and I can extend if I want to. I am also in stage of getting approved by Anderson & Bates, which staffs federal health care facilities. They offer 13 week contracts, and I believe the pay is higher than Access. (I have no preference for either agency; I have not read negative things about either of them.)

    I'm holding off on Chinle until I hear about Shiprock because I want to know if I can do 3 12 hrs/week with them, instead of 7 12's in 14 days, which is what Chinle wants. I'm starting Frontier's distance midwifery program, with online courses, and am hesitant to commit myself to working that much as I don't want my school progress hindered by work. My plan is to work a contract, study like mad on my days off in the nice solitude of the rez, save up my money, then return to the midwest to complete my coursework (then back to the IHS for clinicals, but that's another story ....)

    Staffing in Chinle L&D did not sound good -- one RN in L&D (5 beds), one in nursery, one in PP. There is a CNM on as well, they also do 12 hour shifts. However, this could be a great experience to run the floor and work with the CNMs, as I've already contacted them about doing my clinicals there. Talk about learning to be an independent practitioner .... How did this work out for those of you who have worked there? I'm terrified of the days where there's more than 2 patients in labor and I'm the only nurse. Heck, 2 patients in labor and I'm the only nurse is bad enough, although the CNM may be a great help with patient monitoring and care, as far as I know. Is this the usual staffing in other IHS OB services? IE, minimal .... The nurse manager was very nice, but seemed surprised to hear about minimum staffing ratios of 1:2 for L&D.

    What is living in Shiprock vs Chinle like? I looked online for motels in Chinle and 2 of them offer internet (which I need for school); I'm not sure about Thunderbird, although this sounds like the coolest motel of the 3. Holiday Inn has a fitness center, which is a plus. The hospital does have housing for staff, but it is generally full, so the overflow are housed in the motels. There are no cooking facilities in the rooms, unless you bring a crockpot, and there's a microwave and small refrigerator. What do you travellers do? Eat in the restaurant? What do you cook in the rooms? Do you have crockpot recipes or resources to share?

    This could be a fabulous opportunity for me but I do want to hear more from other RNs who have worked at these hospitals before.
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   tencat
    Hi. I don't work for Chinle IHS, but I think that 7 12's in 14 days is pretty standard for IHS, or at least 80 hours in 14 days. As far as Shiprock vs. Chinle goes, I'd personally go with Shiprock because it's close to Farmington, and there is more variety of places to stay. Chinle is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Hope that helps some. A hotel in Chinle might be pretty scary! JMHO.
  4. by   nightingale
    Farmington is a great little town. The facility in Shiprock is new and very modern looking.

    Enjoy New Mexico! I consider it "home" and miss it very much.
  5. by   texascowgirl
    why does Anderson and Bates website say only MD's and CRNA's?
    i was going to take an assignment at Shiprock, but i didnt want to travel from Farmington, where they were going to house me. i think it would be interesting, but challenging to work with the Navajo and Hopi population. i would assume you would see lots of alcoholism, poorly managed diabetes, and suicide attempts there...it would be interesting to see how their belief system is and to see tribal medicine.
    tell me more about Anderson and Bates...you are an RN right?
  6. by   Selke
    Quote from texascowgirl
    why does Anderson and Bates website say only MD's and CRNA's?
    i was going to take an assignment at Shiprock, but i didnt want to travel from Farmington, where they were going to house me. i think it would be interesting, but challenging to work with the Navajo and Hopi population. i would assume you would see lots of alcoholism, poorly managed diabetes, and suicide attempts there...it would be interesting to see how their belief system is and to see tribal medicine.
    tell me more about Anderson and Bates...you are an RN right?
    Yes, I'm an RN completing an MSN/CNM with FNS. So I'll be studying on my days off and would like the gorgeous solitude of the high desert for a few weeks . I had not looked at the A&B website until I read your post. I got their name and number from another travel agency recruiter I spoke with on the phone, I think it was someone with Cross Country. I called them and the recruiter, who has been very nice, said they specialize in staffing RNs with federal health care institutions, including IHS. They do 13 week assignments and the pay seems a few dollars an hour higher than Access Nurses.
    Last edit by Selke on Aug 13, '06
  7. by   Selke
    Hey texascowgirl,
    I noticed you say you're a misplaced Texan. Where are you living now? I grew up in Texas.
  8. by   cbkeys
    I have been at Chinle since June 19th and am staying at the Best Western. After about 10 weeks I was offered housing from the hospital but declined as I had worked out a reasonable way to cook in my room. I have a two burner hot plate and small frig. also a microwave but I don't use that. there is one grocery store here which has most everything you might need as far as basic foods. Some drive to Gallup but I think it is a wast of time and money. I have cooked some real good things with only a 1 1/2 qt pot with cover and a 8" fry pan. Chili, spaghetti, oatmeal, rice, pan fry fish and chicken tenders. also make coleslaw and salads, tuna fish and egg salad sandwiches. I have a Vita Mix and make a hearty smoothie for breakfast with fruit, tofu, juice and seeds that lasts me the morning.
    Bring all the basics, including a couple bowls to mix things and a dishpan as you will have to wash your dishes in the tub as the pan will fill faster and it is easier access. Also bring a couple dishtowels and dishrags. This is totally doable for the short term esp if you have specific goals in mind-a great place to study.
    Hope this helps.:wink2:
  9. by   nightingale
    cbkeys:

    Are you at the Shiprock Hospital? I was wondering what the available overtime was like?

    What Agency are you with? I have heard OA is out there. May I ask what dept and the going rate for a traveler there?

    Thanks in advance.
  10. by   cbkeys
    I am at Chinle, not shiprock. It is more remote here. I work 3 12s one week and 4 12s the next. I work for Anderson Bates and they have always been great to me. I am getting $36 but it is a blended rate meaning that a portion of that amount is tax free. I hope I have answered all your questions. I am new to this forum thing.:wink2:
  11. by   nightingale
    Yes, you have, thank you. I appreciate it.

    As for posting, you have done well. If you need help, click on ANU (AllNures University) for assitance and how to's with this websites navigation
  12. by   bagladyrn
    Quote from Nightngale
    cbkeys:

    Are you at the Shiprock Hospital? I was wondering what the available overtime was like?

    What Agency are you with? I have heard OA is out there. May I ask what dept and the going rate for a traveler there?

    Thanks in advance.
    Just to give you a heads up - I have friends still on permanent staff at Shiprock - worked there for many years - and from what I've heard recently the OB dept. is in a mess - shortstaffed to the point of closing postpartum for days at a time, keeping only the L&D open with minimal staffing. If you were willing to put yourself in that kind of position I'm sure all the OT in the world would be available, but not sure it would be worth the risk!
  13. by   Selke
    Quote from cbkeys
    I am at Chinle, not shiprock. It is more remote here. I work 3 12s one week and 4 12s the next. I work for Anderson Bates and they have always been great to me. I am getting $36 but it is a blended rate meaning that a portion of that amount is tax free. I hope I have answered all your questions. I am new to this forum thing.:wink2:
    Which area of nursing do you work, cbkeys?

    I took a job with Anderson and Bates at Shiprock L&D and have been here 2 weeks. I really like it and may extend my contract. I'm learning sooo much, including the joys :wink2: of working at a US government facility. I love the laid back attitudes of the staff. The patients are so nice. Navajo women for the most part have short uncomplicated labors, don't push for long. The practitioners don't practice lawsuit driven healthcare, as anyone suing a provider here is really suing Uncle Sam, which changes things. No epidurals, high VBAC rate, low C/S rate, inductions are done only as medically necessary. Chinle is more traditional than Shiprock, and they have more medicine men and healers in the hospital than here. The CNMs are great and several are FNS grads. They treat me very, very well and respect the nurses (the opposite of where I last lived/worked ...) The midwives run the show here, which is very different from the "civilian" birth world where docs let everyone know they are the boss ...

    The southwest is very healing and expansive and spacious ... I'm falling in love with it, the landscape, the sky, the cloudscapes, the sun and moon ...

    I'm living in an apt. in Farmington. Shiprock (it's really Northern Navajo Medical Center) has housing for medical staff which they charge for, which might be interesting to stay in, as it's here on the Rez. I have no complaints about the agency, either. I want to go to Chinle as a student midwife so may not try for a job there in the spring as an RN. Shiprock was willing to give me 3 12's a week instead of 7 12s in 2 weeks, which helps me with studying.
  14. by   Selke
    Quote from bagladyrn
    Just to give you a heads up - I have friends still on permanent staff at Shiprock - worked there for many years - and from what I've heard recently the OB dept. is in a mess - shortstaffed to the point of closing postpartum for days at a time, keeping only the L&D open with minimal staffing. If you were willing to put yourself in that kind of position I'm sure all the OT in the world would be available, but not sure it would be worth the risk!
    Hey bagladyrn -- we've emailed from Delphi Forums. You're right about staffing in L&D at Shiprock. I do like it here but they have 3 - 4 RNs (1 for PP, 1 for nursery, 1 for L&D, 1 charge, who winds up in L&D most times) and when the pregnant lady bus lets off, like it has since I've been here, it's dicey. They've put me in PP mostly so I've been spared the worst. For now. I do not know if they try to get more RNs and can't, or if they have a mandate to run the place with only 4 RNs maximum. I will say, the staff pull together and work well together to get through it all.

    If census is low they will put the PP pts in L&D -- esp when there are only 3 RNs. Today we had one PP pt and L&D had one triage pt all day (thank the goddess as I was in L&D and it could have been like last week, with all the rooms full and pts in the waiting room.)
    Last edit by Selke on Sep 17, '06

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