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Old 04-03-2021, 11:34 AM
 
109 posts, read 209,884 times
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Currently live in St. Louis and work in I.T. at Barnes Jewish hospital. Barnes hospital is one of the largest hospital complexes in the country. Washington University is integrated in with Barnes hospital. I've been working in the I.T. field for many years and am currently a Senior Deskside Support Technician and have been a Senior tech for almost as long as I've been working there, which is right at five years. I have been in the I.T. field for nearly 8 years. A little over a year ago, Barnes hospital decided to outsource most all their I.T. positions to an Indian company. I'm still at Barnes hospital doing exactly the same thing before the outsourcing was implemented. I have built a good name and reputation for myself from the President on down and was even offered a letter of recommendation from the President should I ever decide to go elsewhere but have been threatened to not ever leave; lol However, with that said and without going into detail here concerning the changes that came with the outsourcing, it is time for me to make a change. That change is the possibility of just moving. I have for a long time really liked NW AR and what it offers. I say all of that to ask this: What do I.T. positions in the area hospitals/health care sector look like in NW AR? I see there is Mercy and Northwest. These hospitals are nowhere near the size and the complexity of Barnes, but I still would like to continue in I.T. work in the health care field. I have accumulated a lot of knowledge and experience in this industry over the years. My main concerns would be: How hard would it be to get on? Do the area hospitals also outsource their I.T. department or is it done in house? I've read good things about both Northwest and Mercy, but as far as jobs and a career, which one over the other? Working at Barnes pays fairly well, and without going into what I make, what does pay look like for my position or similar position in that area? I don't believe with my knowledge and experience, I would have a problem finding a position but wanted to get a feel for the health care sector as far as I.T. positions go in that area. I appreciate your time and willingness to help me figure out what I'm up against and perhaps what direction to go -- pros and cons.
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Old 04-03-2021, 07:14 PM
 
Location: Bella Vista, AR
266 posts, read 115,409 times
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A frequent poster on here... “ Tyryztoll”, has experience in the medical field, and knows the area, and may be able to offer some assistance. I’m sure he will read this and respond soon.

NWA is growing. Health care and IT is a big business here. Good luck to you.
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Old 04-03-2021, 08:47 PM
 
109 posts, read 209,884 times
Reputation: 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by vcvs View Post
A frequent poster on here... “ Tyryztoll”, has experience in the medical field, and knows the area, and may be able to offer some assistance. I’m sure he will read this and respond soon.

NWA is growing. Health care and IT is a big business here. Good luck to you.
I really appreciate your reply. Hopefully, my post will generate some additional feedback. Look forward to hearing what others have to say.
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Old 04-04-2021, 08:36 AM
 
308 posts, read 88,131 times
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Originally Posted by bdj5773 View Post
Currently live in St. Louis and work in I.T. at Barnes Jewish hospital. Barnes hospital is one of the largest hospital complexes in the country. Washington University is integrated in with Barnes hospital. I've been working in the I.T. field for many years and am currently a Senior Deskside Support Technician and have been a Senior tech for almost as long as I've been working there, which is right at five years. I have been in the I.T. field for nearly 8 years. A little over a year ago, Barnes hospital decided to outsource most all their I.T. positions to an Indian company. I'm still at Barnes hospital doing exactly the same thing before the outsourcing was implemented. I have built a good name and reputation for myself from the President on down and was even offered a letter of recommendation from the President should I ever decide to go elsewhere but have been threatened to not ever leave; lol However, with that said and without going into detail here concerning the changes that came with the outsourcing, it is time for me to make a change. That change is the possibility of just moving. I have for a long time really liked NW AR and what it offers. I say all of that to ask this: What do I.T. positions in the area hospitals/health care sector look like in NW AR? I see there is Mercy and Northwest. These hospitals are nowhere near the size and the complexity of Barnes, but I still would like to continue in I.T. work in the health care field. I have accumulated a lot of knowledge and experience in this industry over the years. My main concerns would be: How hard would it be to get on? Do the area hospitals also outsource their I.T. department or is it done in house? I've read good things about both Northwest and Mercy, but as far as jobs and a career, which one over the other? Working at Barnes pays fairly well, and without going into what I make, what does pay look like for my position or similar position in that area? I don't believe with my knowledge and experience, I would have a problem finding a position but wanted to get a feel for the health care sector as far as I.T. positions go in that area. I appreciate your time and willingness to help me figure out what I'm up against and perhaps what direction to go -- pros and cons.

Walmart Health is fixing to make a big push in the in-store clinic arena. You might check the Walmart IT openings as well.
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Old 04-04-2021, 03:01 PM
 
Location: Isanti County, Minnesota
3,701 posts, read 5,295,500 times
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Hi OP, so I'm a radiology tech who has tried in vain to get to NWA for many years now....but I've interviewed ad nauseam with the big 3 (Northwest, Mercy, Washington) medical players in that region and spent tons of time down there (and in the Little Rock/Hot Springs vicinity) scoping things out in case the good Lord ever sees fit to make that happen for us. Obviously can't speak to the I.T. aspect of your inquiry being in direct patient care myself, but am happy to share what I have encountered.

First and most glaring - Coming from a big system in a major metro like STL be prepared to take a pay cut - and possibly a substantial one - with any of these organizations in Arkansas.....but also note that is what I encountered in my particular field. I.T. may be a different story, so don't abandon ship before you check into what your skills might command. Back in '16 the first offer I received from Northwest in Bentonville was so low I accidentally laughed out loud at the HR person over the phone and immediately had to regroup and apologize to her. At the time I was based in Dallas/Ft. Worth, where the pay for rad techs is very good, so when NW quoted me a rate that was almost as low as what I made coming right out of school I just couldn't believe it. They tried to skate around it by saying the COL in AR accounted for the difference, but I had already done enough research by that time to know that angle wasn't going to float for us. Again....this was roughly 5 years ago right around the time the COL in DFW was just beginning to head skyward to the point it is now, which is many layers of the atmosphere higher than when we lived there.

I tried Washington Regional in Fayetteville next. Drove up from Texas for a job fair so I could get some face time with their radiology manager. It went really well.....until - again - an offer eventually came forth for a position down the line. Way low. Beautiful facility, though.

Since then I've had a few go rounds with Mercy, including this year.....but although their wages seem to be a bit higher I just haven't been able to find a position that suits our needs. Being in Missouri I'm sure you're aware of Mercy, which is a good sized outfit that spans 4 states including that one. Northwest is run by Community Health Systems, which has facilities in 16 states. I believe Northwest and Mercy are for-profit organizations, while Washington Regional is locally owned and not for profit. That could have changed since I was last down there, but I don't think so. The newest player on the scene is Arkansas Children's Northwest, which spun off from the giant kids hospital in Little Rock and opened in Springdale back in 2018. Pediatric radiology is not really my thing so I haven't made any attempts to get in with them, but again, another beautiful facility and a major feather in the regional cap to have their own children's hospital.

So what you may have gathered from scanning all this is that NWA, although still much smaller than the towns you and I have resided in, is nonetheless a vibrant, thriving metro playing host to some fierce competition in the healthcare sector that only intensifies with each passing day. Now besides the hospitals you're beginning to see scores of clinics, outpatient centers and even free standing ER's popping up....all of which serve to expand the job market of course. Even though I haven't found the job that can take us there yet I still have a lot of fun scanning the job boards every week because it's exciting to see the growth going on.....and knowing that the next job I click on could be the one! I have gotta believe the demand for I.T. skill is every bit as hot as it is for mine, if not moreso due to the fact that pretty much everything is run through that medium now. Someone else mentioned Wal-Mart also. Do not sleep on that gig....you get in with a company that size and who knows where you could go.

In closing, there are 4 main things about NWA that initiated our love affair with the area. 1) The people. Just super friendly and down to earth for the most part. Even the ones I go back & forth with in here over politics seem to be good folks whom I could easily imagine myself sitting down to a cold beer with. All the folks I've interviewed with and met through that aspect have also seemed very nice. The people we've met traversing the area, whether it be hotel staff, restaurant personnel, tourist stops, you name it.....just all so chill and not afraid to smile with a stranger. We love that. 2) The natural beauty. This goes without saying for anyone who's ever been there, but we never had the pleasure until 2015. I remember the first time we drove up to NWA on I-540 (it's I-49 now) from Alma through the Boston Mountains. *sigh* I never knew there was terrain that looked like that up there....and I was a well traveled guy who'd been to almost every state in the union (Brief but funny story - after I went to the Washington regional job fair I decided to check out some mountain scenery on the way back to TX and wound up getting lost DEEP in the Boston's driving my wife's old, rusty minivan! That was an experience I won't soon forget - going up and down incredibly steep, dirt mountain roads with the locals I'd pass looking at me like I was crazy!). Those mountains push right up to Fayetteville and then you plateau from there up to Bentonville before things get hilly again on the north end of Bentonville and into Bella Vista on the Missouri border. Others have mentioned places like Devil's Den, Eureka Springs, Beaver Lake......man, the natural splendor is just everywhere. We've been going to NWA routinely since 2015 and haven't even come close to getting to all the spots we want to yet. There are rivers, caves, cliffs, trails....it's all out there. Not to demean Missouri at all, but people often compare the Missouri Ozarks to the Arkansas Ozarks and to me there is no comparison. The Missouri Ozarks are pretty, the Arkansas Ozarks are spectacular. Just my opinion, of course...but I've also had job inquiries from places like Branson and didn't pursue them because I felt like I'd be settling for a light beer version of the Ozarks - geez I hope that doesn't sound obnoxious.......I just prefer Arkansas, what can I say? 3) The weather. I love that NWA is what I refer to as a "mid-south" locale.....where you can have a little taste of everything weather-wise if you wait long enough. Intense southern heat, but also refreshing reprieves that might not occur further downstate. Gloriously milder winters than in STL or especially where I currently live in Minnesota, but also the occasional dip down of snow & cold that again, you probably won't see too often in spots like Little Rock or Texarkana. Just enough to have some for a spell, but you never have to worry about it being there for 6 months straight. Gorgeous springs. Gorgeous autumns.....and best of all (for me at least) major league thunderstorms, which I miss badly as a weather nut up here in east central Minnesota, where the air is all too often not warm enough to support such. 4) NWA's metro composition. I love that NWA is such a thriving region but that it doesn't all revolve around or depend upon a giant, urban nucleus. Fayetteville is the biggest town there and it's only 80,000 or so. I believe Washington and Benton Counties as a whole are both around 270,000 and then things start to get more sparse as you head east into counties like Madison, Carroll and Newton, which are also amazingly beautiful. I mean, you have traffic and other big city issues to deal with, mainly along the 49 corridor, but it's nothing like Dallas, STL or Minneapolis.....and they're always doing some kind of construction to expand the road system in NWA according to what I've experienced when down there, although I know many of the locals would prefer that gets stepped up a bit.

Ok, I think I've rambled enough for now. I don't know if OP will even get anything out of this, but once I start talking about Arkansas to others looking at going there I have a tendency to drone on for a bit. I do hope OP will keep us posted if their Arkansas intentions progress. My other hobby is living vicariously through those who manage to make it down there before I do!

Last edited by Tyryztoll; 04-04-2021 at 03:29 PM..
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Old 04-04-2021, 06:09 PM
 
109 posts, read 209,884 times
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Hello Tyryztoll! I can't tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to compose that. Like you, I have research NW AR to death. I have tons of Websites and Videos saved from that area, but nobody knows the area like those who live there who would have a lot better pulse about things. Hence the reason for my post. The last time I was down there was around 4 years ago when my daughter toured UofA and loved the area. Such a beautiful area with outdoor recreation galore. Speaking of the weather, I think NW AR ended up with more snow than the St. Louis area this past winter season, but as a general rule, there is a pretty good difference between the winter weather down there vs St. Louis. I live in a little town not foa from St. Louis and average snowfall is right at 20” for the entire season. I don't like the cold at all, especially the older I get.

Anyway, to the issue at hand. So you're a radiology tech. That's great! I work with radiology techs everyday with their I.T. issues. Most all my work would be considered level 2 which requires onsite time and have made many great connections. The way the I.T. structure works at Barnes (and is true with many places), is that you have level 1 (helpdesk), then level 2 (deskside support), then level 3 (more specialized I.T. issues), and then the engineers, who make the really big bucks. I will say that a level 2 deskside support technician is not your typical run of the mill deskside support, as is characteristic of many companies. It requires knowing a lot about so many things throughout the entire hospital which can get pretty complex at times. I consistently have to work with many level 3 techs who comes to me about issues. I have covered just about every part of Barnes hospital. I currently cover radiology and all the labs. It is quite massive in scope and keeps me very busy.

Having to take a pay cut is very concerning. A little I can handle but a big pay cut is out the question. While COL around the STL area is slightly higher than NW AR, it is only slight. Home prices are comparable as well as most utilities and commodities.

Do you know if the I.T. jobs are outsourced by the area hospitals?

Scanning ”indeed” website, I did find several I.T. jobs and some were in health care. One that stood out was at the U.S. Dept. of Veterans affairs as an I.T. specialist. The qualifications pretty much match mine. The pay range was also comparable. I have no idea about the Veterans affairs dept. but may be something to look into.

Again, I appreciate your great insight of the health care field in particular and NW AR in general. Hope things work out for you as well and you find yourself basking in NW AR one day!
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Old 04-04-2021, 09:02 PM
 
Location: Bella Vista, AR
266 posts, read 115,409 times
Reputation: 405
Good info Tyryztoll! As always.
I agree with you regarding the Boston Mountains. It’s an amazing and breath taking site to behold the first time you see them via I-49. But I must say.. the only thing ‘better’ would be the Blue Ridge Parkway in GA. Or the journey from Maryville TN into Gatlinburg (the backroad into Appalachian).
In my opinion, the most beautiful country in the world lies within the corners of North East Georgia/South East Tn, and South West NC. The true foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.

With that said, the Arkansas Ozark's are a very close 2nd. The hills and topography are very much like the Appalachians. And as you said, the people here are incredible. Most are good honest down to earth folks. Most everyone is nice and willing to help if needed.
Drop a self contained (sort of metro) area into the Appalachian mountains.. and you have the Ozark mountains!

We are very happy here in Bella Vista. Every day sort of feels like a vacation.
We are planning another trip back to GA to visit family at the end of April. On the return trip will hit Gatlinburg and Asheville (Biltmore house) as well. We will then run I-75/I-24 to Paducah KY, and then turn West and run state route 60 across Southern MO that will eventually take us back South into Bella Vista.

Gods country and beautiful scenery all the way!
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Old 04-06-2021, 09:28 AM
 
Location: Isanti County, Minnesota
3,701 posts, read 5,295,500 times
Reputation: 5849
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdj5773 View Post
Having to take a pay cut is very concerning. A little I can handle but a big pay cut is out the question. While COL around the STL area is slightly higher than NW AR, it is only slight. Home prices are comparable as well as most utilities and commodities.

Do you know if the I.T. jobs are outsourced by the area hospitals?

Scanning ”indeed” website, I did find several I.T. jobs and some were in health care. One that stood out was at the U.S. Dept. of Veterans affairs as an I.T. specialist. The qualifications pretty much match mine. The pay range was also comparable. I have no idea about the Veterans affairs dept. but may be something to look into.

Again, I appreciate your great insight of the health care field in particular and NW AR in general. Hope things work out for you as well and you find yourself basking in NW AR one day!
My pleasure. I really enjoy following/interacting with those who are trying to hatch the same Arkansas dreams that we are.

Remember, I was speaking of the pay cut aspect in correlation with my field. I don't know anything about how the hospitals there staff their I.T. personnel, but my suggestion is to find out who runs what and contact them to find out. Don't just rely on orbiting websites like Indeed because that's what everyone else may be doing and if you really want to get noticed you need an edge. I like to hunt down managers/directors/what have you on Linkedin and message them as to who I am and what I'm looking for. You never know what may be going on in any particular department at any given time and many of those folks may be thinking about making moves long before associated job postings come to fruition. If you can circumvent the initial HR rigmarole and go right to the source that will always be an indicator to the folks you'll be directly working under that you're a go getter and really want the gig. Of course you'll have to apply through and deal with HR eventually, but I always try to make initial contact with the staff if possible. No rules against that whatsoever. What's the worst they can do? That's right - tell you to apply through HR.

God bless, keep us posted.
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Old 04-06-2021, 10:17 AM
 
Location: Isanti County, Minnesota
3,701 posts, read 5,295,500 times
Reputation: 5849
Quote:
Originally Posted by vcvs View Post
Good info Tyryztoll! As always.
I agree with you regarding the Boston Mountains. It’s an amazing and breath taking site to behold the first time you see them via I-49. But I must say.. the only thing ‘better’ would be the Blue Ridge Parkway in GA. Or the journey from Maryville TN into Gatlinburg (the backroad into Appalachian).
In my opinion, the most beautiful country in the world lies within the corners of North East Georgia/South East Tn, and South West NC. The true foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.

With that said, the Arkansas Ozark's are a very close 2nd. The hills and topography are very much like the Appalachians. And as you said, the people here are incredible. Most are good honest down to earth folks. Most everyone is nice and willing to help if needed.
Drop a self contained (sort of metro) area into the Appalachian mountains.. and you have the Ozark mountains!

We are very happy here in Bella Vista. Every day sort of feels like a vacation.
We are planning another trip back to GA to visit family at the end of April. On the return trip will hit Gatlinburg and Asheville (Biltmore house) as well. We will then run I-75/I-24 to Paducah KY, and then turn West and run state route 60 across Southern MO that will eventually take us back South into Bella Vista.

Gods country and beautiful scenery all the way!
Oh yes, I have a stack of memories that came out of the Blue Ridge/Smoky Mountains as well.

Gatlinburg was our family getaway when I was very young. One of my most dear possessions is a photo that was taken with my since departed grandmother on the SkyLift. We would always make the trek to the top of Clingman's Dome as well.

Later in life my buddy and I used to sell meat out of a truck and we would go deep into the Blue Ridge/Smokies on certain days. We had many a shotgun pulled on us....but it was worth it just to have an excuse to spend so much time there. Every now and then we'd even make a sale! I've probably told that story in here before. Not many folks have the nerve to get off the main roads and go exploring in those rugged mountains, but we sure did....in a freekin' meat truck no less! Spots like Suches and Rabun Gap, GA....McDonald Mill and Culberson, NC.....and of course good ol' Greasy Creek, TN where my buddy actually had kinfolk. We got the truck stuck going up a steep dirt mountain grade there one day. Didn't bat an eye, though. It was good to be young and carefree.

I also used to go and base myself at the Comfort Inn off of I-240 in Asheville, NC for drives up and down the BR Pkwy. There was an entrance to the Pkwy not far from the hotel. I would drive through that splendor from dawn till dusk and then enjoy some food and wine at the hotel after getting back. Again.....young, carefree (and single).

As you alluded to, these experiences likely had a lot to do with my affinity for the Ozarks....as well as the Ouachita's south of the river. I will never forget the rush from those early trips we made there....being so naive as to their existence. We were going through such a hard time in Texas back then. It was like God put those mountains there to bring peace back into our souls and remind us it was all going to be ok. After that we didn't want to go anywhere else whenever we had a chance to get away.

God willing there's still time to make new memories!
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Old 04-06-2021, 08:54 PM
 
Location: Bella Vista, AR
266 posts, read 115,409 times
Reputation: 405
To the OP.. I apologize for high jacking your thread!

Tyryztoll... Man, we got to meet up one day for a cold beer! (and BBQ). I too have a stack of memories from the Smokey Mountains. I grew up with frequent trips to Gatlinburg (the real hometown Gatlinburg, ran by the locals before the big chain restaurants and hotels came in). The locally owned pancake houses and gift shops are long gone, but the memories will live on forever! I remember going up on the original space needle, and the chair lifts. And ice skating at Ober Mountain. And I’ve been to clingmans dome several times. We would normally do that on our return trip over the mountain, landing in Cherokee North Carolina (before the casino stripped the culture away). There was always a guy selling boiled peanuts on the side of the road (next to the “Pink Motel”) and we would stop and get some. There was also an amusement park there. It’s out of business now. Can’t remember the name of it.

One of my favorite routes to the Smokey’s from GA was via the ‘tail of the dragon’ road. It’s a windy road that truckers and RVs mistakingly traverse and most of the time get stuck on the curves. It’s an amazing patch of road (YouTube “tail of the dragon” , you will see what I mean).

My wife (native Arkansan), hasn’t yet seen the Great Smokey Mountains. As said before, I’ll take her there at the end of April (this month). I know she will love it. And for me, it’s just a trip back ‘home’.
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