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Old 02-10-2012, 10:32 PM
 
3 posts, read 5,299 times
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Default RN ready to move West- Lander, WY area

I'm considering a job with the Indian Health Services. I was born in Lander, WY and am seriously thinking of the Wind River Reservation. Yes, I read the recent NYT article about area crime rate. While this does concern me, it doesn't scare me away. I'm wanting some insight about; working on the reservation and the IHS, and the attitude of the indians toward locals and vice versa (is there much tension between them)?
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Old 02-11-2012, 09:38 AM
 
Location: Warm Springs, GA
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Heh, sounds familiar. I was born and raised in Lander, wife worked IHS on the Wind River rez (pharmacy though). First off, are you working IHS yet? If not, you're in for a shock. It's 90%+ politics, 9% doing as little work as possible while staying under the radar, and 1% the work you want to do. It's not a good fit for people with work ethics (much like all Federal level Government jobs, I've had 3 myself) as you'll find yourself shouldering the work of 3 people. Maybe the RN side of things is a little different/better, but I doubt it. The real make or break for an IHS site is your boss. We moved from the Navajo res to Wind River because of the guy who was pharmacy director ~ he ran things very well. Of course, he left for some other site 6 months later and everything fell apart, but that one person made the work environment pleasant and even enjoyable.

Looking back, my wife had only 1 major complaint going in, and that was not having the time or money to do a site visit first. Since you know Lander, it should be less of an issue. And honestly, the Wind River rez is FAR from the worst of the IHS sites we've been to (5 in total).

There is a lot of attitude from the natives there though. It's 100% an entitlement issue. My wife has been told that she needed to learn the native language (twice), and others tell her that they were "almost paying customers" and demanding service they wouldn't get even if they actually put their own money on the line and went off-rez for service. Not everyone is like that, but it's an overwhelming number that will expect You to bend over backwards and treat them like you are their personal slave/servant. That was what pushed my wife out eventually.

But there's the sign-on bonus (if you do get one, my advice is to stuff it into a CD/savings account ~ you'll have to pay it back if you try to get out before your contract is complete), and loan payment assistance (same deal, only there is a HUGE penalty for bailing on this commitment). We took full advantage of both and were completely debt free within 5 years while living modestly. The 30 days of vacation time each year is nice, and if you can stick it out for 20 years the retirement is nice too. We learned on our first assignment that being able to live off-Res was important to us, and Lander fit that nicely. It's an easy 15~20 minute drive from Lander to both Ft Washakie and Arapahoe (oh, my wife had to alternate between both, not sure if nurses do as well).

All in all, it was one of the better IHS sites we've been to in most regards. Mind you, that's like saying it's a quality made item bought from Walmart. It only gets so good before you hit the ceiling.

Good luck whatever you decide, and try hard to get a site visit if it's within your means.
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Old 02-11-2012, 09:41 AM
 
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Some like working for IHS, some don't. Kind of like some do well at VA's while others can't stand it. As for getting along with the people, again it depends on the people involved. The staff already there, I'm certain, would appreciate a skilled RN with a good work ethic. The patients, I'm certain, would appreciate someone who provides care with professionalism.

Use your head. As a comparison, I've enjoyed traveling and working in some major cities. Enjoyed attending events, meeting people, etc. I didn't go to sketchy house parties or to clubs known for drugs and violence, so I don't have bad experiences/war stories to share.

Last edited by branDcalf; 02-11-2012 at 09:50 AM..
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Old 02-11-2012, 02:21 PM
 
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Thanks for the insight. Any chance that the Flathead Reservation is one of the 5 you"ve been to?
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Old 02-11-2012, 04:33 PM
 
Location: Warm Springs, GA
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Nope, sorry. I just asked my wife if she knew anyone who'd been there (she transitioned from IHS to traveling/PRN that fills in for 1~4 months and typically at IHS facilities) and that was also a negative. Way back in the early 90's when I went to MSU Bozeman, a girlfriend of mine was from Polson and I visited a couple times one summer. Seemed nice enough, though I don't remember much from that time (too much experimental indulgence).

Stunningly beautiful part of Montana though.
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Old 02-11-2012, 05:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian_M View Post
Stunningly beautiful part of Montana though.
I only visited there twice and it was in the 80s. I imagine the scenery is still fabulous, though.
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Old 02-11-2012, 06:44 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
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I wouldn't live on any reservation under any circumstances. The poverty, drugs, crime, and despair would not be worth it.
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:37 AM
 
Location: Warm Springs, GA
1,304 posts, read 1,640,527 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WyoEagle View Post
I wouldn't live on any reservation under any circumstances. The poverty, drugs, crime, and despair would not be worth it.
Well, look at Kayenta, AZ:

kayenta, AZ - Google Maps

The alternatives to living on the res are Cortez, CO, Flagstaff, AZ and I think Page, AZ is off res too, though I can't recall for certain. Anyway, you're looking at a 2~3 hour drive, one way (so 4~6 hours of driving a day) if you worked IHS and wanted to live off-reservation. Even Tuba City, AZ is 90 minutes from both Flagstaff and Page ~ there ARE some who do the drive too. Actually, I think there's a commuter bus to the hospital from Flagstaff.

Anyway, point being that in some cases you don't have the option. Some people cope just fine, but my Personal opinion is that those people are there because they can't cut it in the real world. I told my wife it'd be fine based on my experience with the Wind River rez (I stayed out there lots with friends growing up), the 2 places are worlds apart when it comes to quality of life.
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Old 02-16-2012, 09:46 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
206 posts, read 280,694 times
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My in-laws had a ranch on the Reservation that was in the family for a long time (my father-in-law passed away in 2010). They never had any issues living out there, but I'd never want to live in town. But like Brian said- it's an easy enough commute to IHS. My kids have gone to IHS as my husband is part Shoshoni, and I have to say they get better care out there then they ever have at the Lander clinic.
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Old 02-16-2012, 11:00 PM
 
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Just had dinner with some people, one of whom gets her medical and dental care through IHS. She had nothing but good to say about the care she receives. Her non-Indian husband was envious.
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