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Any info on Indian Health Service?

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by singmehome singmehome (New Member) New Member

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Hi guys! I'm considering government nursing/military nursing. I've already done some research on the military front but I also was wondering if anyone can give me insight into the Indian Health Service. Are the jobs hard to come by? What qualifications would you recommend having? I'm specifically looking in the Arizona, New Mexico area because my cousin is Navajo and lives on the Res in Arizona. I would also be interested in working down towards Mexico in either state because I am also fluent in Spanish. I am an ED nurse, and by the time I start applying I will have a year to a year and a half of experience and be ACLS, BLS, PALS, and TNCC certified. I also hope to have my medical interpreter's license by that point as well . I just don't know if it takes months to process the application like the VA, so do y'all have any suggestions for when to start applying?

Thanks in advance!

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nurse2033 works as a RN, paramedic.

10 Likes; 1 Article; 28,006 Visitors; 2,109 Posts

Wow, I don't have any experience with the federal side of things, but you sound very qualified. Call a clinic in the Indian Health Service, or just go there, and ask them. Because, the nurses who work there- have figured out how to get hired. Good luck.

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293 Visitors; 7 Posts

On usajobs they have lots of spots open for Indian health svc in Ruidoso, NM

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1,333 Visitors; 46 Posts

Hey there,

I've considered working for IHS in the past and was even offered a job as a new grad with no experience based solely on an over-the-phone "interview." I have to assume that Indian preference was working in my favor, as well as being part of the main community served. I ended up not taking the job mostly because the commute would have been brutal and my spouse and I were/are not in the position to move (and the salary was pretty low [i make almost $20k/yr more base rate at the VA in my city]).

IHS needs strong, passionate nurses, though, and you sound like an excellent candidate! If you have a location preference (or even if you don't), create an account and set up a search on USAJOBS.GOV that will send you automatic updates. That's what I've done in the past. You can specify the type of job, location, dept/agency, etc. and have it email you regularly (daily, once a week, etc.) with newly added jobs matching your criteria.

If I recall correctly from my past research, there are often lots of openings in the AZ/NM area because it is such a large, underserved area. Here is a continuous posting for an ER nurse in Gallup, NM, for example: https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/462519500

To me, the salaries seem to start pretty low, but considering the growing west coast metropolis I live in, that's neither here nor there. I think the work you'd be doing would be very challenging and fulfilling. And again, it's an area (Native American healthcare, not just that location) of great need. It's something I'm very passionate about and did a lot of my undergrad research on, and I feel a little sheepish to admit to turning down that job, but hey, there it is.

Oh! To get to your actual question. When I applied/was offered the job, I turned in my application the 8th of the month, the job announcement closed on the 15th of the month, I was contacted for the phone interview on the 22nd of the month, and was contacted on the 1st of the following month (a little over a week later) with the offer. So, in my experience, no it doesn't take months. But I don't know if that changes if you apply to a continuous job posting like the one I linked to above.

At the bottom of each job posting on USAJOBS, you should see a contact person. You can always call that person to ask about the timing and when the best time to apply would be given your specific circumstances.

Good luck and thank you for your interest in helping our Native communities!!

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