Indian Health Services

  1. I am interested in hearing anything and everything about working at an IHS facility. Do you really get to see a lot of cultural differences? What are the attitudes like toward the traveling nurses? I know a lot of these jobs are in very rural areas, are you welcomed into the community or treated more like an outsider? I am new to travel, I wanted an IHS facility for my first assignment but they move so slow, I took a 6 week assignment near my home but hopefully my next assignment will be in Gallup, NM. Please share!
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    About ashleykaye86

    Joined: Jul '09; Posts: 4


  3. by   79Tango
    You get to see a TON of cultural differences! What are the attitudes like? Thats answer would be "DEPENDS" which could be from warm and inviting to stand-off and back stabbing. Alot of it depends on your attitude coming into the job and staying professional. I believe there is a list of "do's and dont's" on the IHS website. I would say most of the time you will be welcomed into the community and invited to experience and try new things but alot of it depends on your personality.
  4. by   bagladyrn
    Gallup really isn't like most of the Rez. It's actually a town on the border of the reservation where people come to shop and do business (and get drunk on weekends). You will deal with native american patients in the IHS hospital there ( and do pay attention to the "dos and don'ts" as 79 Tango said) but the town population is mixed.
    If you go be sure to have a meal at Earl's -while you eat, shop from local artisans!
    If you need more info on the area let me know - I've done contracts at both hospitals there and have also spent years in the area.
  5. by   RN_travlr A recruiter from IHS just got in touch with me today. I havent even done the paperwork. It sounds like a decent deal but the pay is lower than regular travel work. Let me know what you think of them so far, we can compare notes. I will say the recruiter(hes a male) is one of the nicest I have ever talked
  6. by   JSJones,RN
    I am a travel nurse in an IHS facility in Kayenta, AZ. I started here in July of 2011 with in the intention of completing the standard 13 weeks and moving on to another location. Well...its now February 2012 and I/we are still here! (We=3 old friends who travel together)....It did take about a month or so to adjust to the area, ie. having to drive a minimum of 1.5 hours to get to a decent grocery store or even a Wal-Mart, lol. As far as cultural differences, there a lot of cultural differences. I work with an amazing group of people who are mainly Native American/Navajo and have been awesome with helping us understand the do's and don'ts. (ie. first day here we were taught to point only with our lips and not our hands because the later way is rude, also death is a really touchy subject that is to be only addressed by certain people in a certain manner.) As long as you go into a place like this with an open mind and realize that you aren't there to change certain ways they do things and don't judge but embrace the culture, I doubt you'll ever have a problem. Sure there are always some elders, grandpas and grandmas as they are addressed by everyone, that tell you they don't speak english but only Navajo, just because you are non-native but I have never had anyone here on the reservation be down right rude to me. As far as being accepted by patients and the community, this particular hospital has a lot of travellers including physcians so its nothing new to them. IHS is a government facility so it can be slightly difficult but once you get the hang of things, it becomes no different than anywhere else. The majority of the care is free to Native Americans so the ER is utilized as a big primary care source which is not optimal for the nurse ER lovers but you get used to it. But on the flip side, we are the only facility for miles so we get the traumas here, stabalize and ship them out. More often than not my patients have been very interested in my background and what the East coast is like, since I'm from Virginia. We have been invited to a few ceremonies which were all very interesting and truly great experiences. We have made friendships here like no other place before that will surely last a life time! I also agree with 'bagladyrn' that if you are looking for a true reservation experience, Gallup may not be the best option. However if you don't think you'd be able to handle the major cultural differences and don't like living in the really rural areas, it may be a great place for you. Kayenta for example, is kind of far from the bigger cities like Farmington or Flagstaff, but the drive to and from those places is always beautiful. We also live about 20 minutes for the very beautiful Monument Valley, about 80 miles from the famous Four Corners Monument where AZ, NM,CO, and UT all come together, about 1 hour from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, and of course one of my favorite.... only about a 5 hour drive to Las Vegas, NV! The reservation is 'dry' so if you're a drinker, probably not going to like it as much as an off reservation assignment. That being said, I have worked at a few trauma centers and I have taken care of more drunk patients and more assault and batteries here on the reservation than ever before! Got to love the boot leggers! Every Wednesday there is a huge flea market where you can buy hand made crafts, jewelry and also eat traditional food varieties such as fry bread, mutton stew or mutton sandwich or one of the more interesting... blood sausauge! Eitherway, sorry for the small novel but when we first started here we weren't very sure we were going to make it here but we stuck it out and it has been the most memorable and best assignment yet! Good Luck! ( Sorry I didn't realize how long this was until I posted it....)
  7. by   bagladyrn
    JSJones - I can tell you've been on the Rez for a while since the describe Farmington and Flagstaff as the "big cities"
  8. by   79Tango
    Wal-Mart= Big City
  9. by   JSJones,RN
    "JSJones - I can tell you've been on the Rez for a while since the describe Farmington and Flagstaff as the "big cities""
    I know!!! Came here for a "13 week" assignment in July of 2011 and keep extending! Plan to leave in May but who knows!
  10. by   bagladyrn
    Quote from JSJones,RN
    "JSJones - I can tell you've been on the Rez for a while since the describe Farmington and Flagstaff as the "big cities""
    I know!!! Came here for a "13 week" assignment in July of 2011 and keep extending! Plan to leave in May but who knows!
    Sounds like you're hooked. People who come to the Rez either can't handle it and leave immediately or they fall in love with the area and stay forever. I was there for 9 yrs. before I started traveling and still need to take a contract back there every so often. Although I spent the first 33 yrs of my life on the east coast, now when I cross the New Mexico line heading west it feels like "home".
  11. by   raedar63
    Where do you apply for jobs such as these ? I want to travel but do not like the thought of a big city ! I worry with travel if there will be enough travel assingments in rural areas. I live in a town with one traffic light and wal-mart is a 25 min drive ! This sounds great to me !
    Last edit by raedar63 on Aug 4, '12
  12. by   dance4life
    I was submitted to one the other day. Kind of excited but the process is LONG. I am not getting any calls back from any of the hospitals in the East that I have been submitted to and I have worked at small hospitals before. Lived in Show Low and Carlsbad. Love the city too but they chew me up and spit me back out all the time.
  13. by   coyote47
    Hi JSJones,Wondering if you are still there in AZ. I just posted a question about travel nurse positions in IHS facilities. May I ask what company you are traveling with?
  14. by   Alexanderlove
    I would love some more info on specific reservations but I can't PM. What reservations have you worked on and which is the most functional if your spouse will need to work nearby and have a young child? I'm just not sure about the real rural ones because of daycare and all that.