Nursing Careers with the Indian Health Service
Discover your Opportunity,
Begin your Adventure,
Find your Purpose.
The Indian Health Service (IHS), an agency within the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), provides federal health services to 1.9 million American Indians and Alaska Natives through a network of 45 hospitals and more than 230 clinics in 35 states across the United States.
IHS offers nurses extraordinary opportunities for providing comprehensive care to a medically underserved population in diverse American Indian and Alaskan Native communities. More than 2,500 IHS nurses play a leadership role in Indian health clinics, hospitals and public outreach programs nationwide. IHS nurses are vital to the health of Tribal individuals and entire American Indian and Alaskan Native communities.
IHS nurses live and work in some of the most spectacular areas of the country, in rural locations where there is great demand for generalists in clinic settings as well as for specialists in hospital settings. Setting off to live and practice in a new culture is an opportunity, and nurses practicing in Indian health programs can become involved in local social activities gaining a wealth of memorable experiences. Imagine being present for a whaling festival in Alaska, watching umiaq races and contests of whaling skills, attending a Hopi bean festival or watching the intricate dances and pageantry of a traditional Indian pow wow in New Mexico or Oklahoma. An IHS nurse can choose to stay in one location or transfer to other locations, further exploring American Indian and Alaskan Native cultures and geographic regions.
IHS nurses care for patients with a wide range of conditions and practice in a variety of clinical settings, so every day is different. A patient roster might include an infant with reactive airway disease, an adult diabetic and a new mother needing basic education in child care.
IHS offers three employment options. Nurses can join IHS as federal civil service employees or as officers of the US Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps. Both paths offer generous vacation, sick leave, insurance and retirement packages, as well as possibility for sign-up bonuses. The third option is to work directly for a Tribe, in which case pay and benefits are comparable to federal employment but are negotiated directly with the Tribe.
Nurses are eligible to apply for the IHS Loan Repayment Program (LRP), which repays eligible health or allied health professions educational loans — up to $20,000 per year, plus an additional 20% for taxes — in exchange for an initial two-year service obligation at an eligible site.
The mission of the Indian Health Service is to raise the physical, mental, social and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest level.
The policy of the IHS is to provide absolute preference to qualified Indian applicants and employees who are suitable for federal employment in filling vacancies within the IHS. IHS is an equal opportunity employer.
No open postings.