Home (in Nome, AK)

Hi there! This blog is my way to tell the stories and share the pictures from my adventures in Nome, Alaska. I hope some of it will be informational for anyone wondering what it is like to move to, and live here. And what it’s like to work here. I want to show life here in pictures to share the beauty and uniqueness of this place. Since I always intend to journal, but never really do, hopefully this will serve to collect my stories, thoughts, and be a way to process my experiences while working as a doctor in Alaska.

There’s no place like Nome!

green wellies Home (in Nome, AK)

Muckin’ around is more fun in green wellies!

Oh, by the way! This is where Nome is: (in case, like me, you hadn’t ever really known much about it). It’s a lot closer to Russia than to Anchorage!:

google map nome ak Home (in Nome, AK)

Happy in the mountains 1024x685 Home (in Nome, AK)

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32 thoughts on “Home (in Nome, AK)

  1. Hello Shana! This is awesome! I look forward to seeing and learning about Nome. I am a friend of Sarah Miller, through my daughter who she worked with at Winterberry. I hope you don’t mind :-) Enjoy your new adventure in Nome! Thank you, in advance!

    • Oh, wonderful! I’m glad you found the site. :) It’s so much fun to share these adventures with friends and family, and anyone interested! I love Tim and Sarah & Co.–I’m really lucky to have them as neighbors here. They have taught me some of the things I’ve written about on here. Thanks for taking the time to write! Shana
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  2. Hello,
    I am a West Virginia friend of Sarah Miller’s. She shared your site so that I can see where she is now and learn about the area.
    Thank you for sharing,
    Lynne Bostic

  3. Your Sunday post made me and Dan smile as we remembered our short time in Kotz. I’m so glad to read your stories, you are a remarkable young doctor. Amazing how much and yet how little we know after all those long years of training, right? As long as you learn how to use the tools you have, though, you can probably help someone along the way. I don’t know if it ever sinks in that you are it…;)

    • Wow, thanks Kmac! this was encouraging to read!!! I was wondering how long it would take to sink in. :) It’s true: it is amazing to feel that we learn “so much, and yet little.” I am grateful for the tools I accumulated in residency, and hope to keep adding to them! Thanks for all your teaching!!!! Miss you! Hope you and your beautiful family are well. Much love.

    • Hahaha! Happy Holidays! Where in the World are you now? Well, yes, that is the pet of a Noman (that is clever). :) He is famous around town. But he is an uncommon type of pet. Except for Santa Claus. :)

      Thanks! I am actually staying quite warm. The Circumpolar saying is: “There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.” Which I’m finding to be really true–I am warmer here than I ever was in Minnesota and Chicago, because I didn’t have proper winter stuff! :) Hope you are well!

  4. Hi Shana, wishing you a wonderful Christmas and I know your New Year will be fantastic and we get to read all about it!!!! Thank you. Yes, I am Ann’s mother. I love your photography and descriptions. That emergency flight sounded right out of Grays Anatomy. Keep warm and if you need anything just drop a line. carino, rose

    • Thank you, Rose! I wish you a great Christmas and New Year filled with lots of joy and love and peace! Thanks so much for your note. :) You are so sweet. How about a visit to Alaska? ;)
      Cariño y un abrazo!
      Shana

  5. I was just wondering what it was like living in Nome, Alaska. I may have a job opportunity up there. I have a wife and three kids. I don’t drink, smoke, or hunt. However, I enjoy being outdoors and doing things like rollerblading, biking and hiking.

    • Hey Leo! It’s overall great! I know a lot of families who are enjoying raising their kids here. The great things are that kids can get outside and play fairly freely around. There are still things that parents have to be mindful of for their kids here (like anywhere), but compared to the cities I’ve been living in the Lower 48, kids are so much more active outdoors here! All of the activities you mentioned can be done here, except rollerblading might be a little tricky since there are only a few blocks of paved road. I don’t smoke or hunt and I barely drink, and there is plenty to do! It’s good to have some indoor hobbies too, just because the winter can be dark, cold and kind of long (although this year didn’t seem bad at all!)
      Shana recently posted…Spring collectionMy Profile

  6. Hey Shana,

    It’s me again. It appears as though I’m idiot. I found some other links RIGHT BELOW THE COMMENT BLOCK! I will check those out.

    Sorry,

    leo

    • No worries! The post definitely doesn’t answer everything (I wrote it when I was still new here!), and a lot of information is randomly scattered through the blog. So if you have any specific questions, feel free to ask! :)
      Shana recently posted…Spring collectionMy Profile

  7. “It also appears I’m idiot.” It also appears as though I can’t put a full sentence together. My apologies.

    What large purchase items would you suggest? Should I buy a snow mobile, a four wheeler, both, or none? Do I need a snow blower, shovels, etc?

    Additionally, I contacted the police department up there and the officer was very helpful as far as crime and that sort of thing- very nice guy. He practically knows everyone in the entire Nome area. I didn’t want to bother him so I kept my questions to the law enforcement side of the house. So, I didn’t ask him about general living and that sort of thing.

    • Haha! No worries…I do the same thing all the time. For the Summer, Spring and even Autumn, a four wheeler is excellent. For most winters (except the last anomalous winter) a snowmobile is great to have! Shovels are also good to have. If you have a family, it’s nice to have a vehicle (like an SUV) that everyone can go in. There are 100s of miles of roads out of Nome (granted they don’t lead anywhere), but they are fun to explore and go berry-picking or just to get away. As far as other large purchase items–it depends on what kind of housing you are getting. Some housing with companies is fully furnished with appliances, but others are not. There are lots of things you can get or order on Amazon Prime in Nome. Sometimes it’s easiest just to have the basics and figure out what you need as you go along. Whatever you need to survive is findable in Nome. :) That’s awesome you have contacts already–feel free to ask anyone about things. I’m sure the officer/police department people will be happy to help. It’s the kind of community where people are more than happy to take the time to help others out! You can also sign up for Nome Announce–the local bulletin board/Craigslist/community announcement place. :)
      Shana recently posted…Wild Alaska by Flight: Cliff Birds, Seals, Walruses, Rivers, Hunters and Ice Floes of the Bering Sea!My Profile

    • Hey! That’s awesome! :) Where are you from? I only know a little bit about how it is for travelers just from chatting with traveling nurses. Here’s some of what I’ve gleaned: As far as coming here for 13 weeks, you don’t really have to bring a lot. What you bring kind of depends on what time of year you come. I think most housing is covered and most places are fully furnished. As far as who likes living in Nome, that depends a lot on each person. A lot of enjoying it stems from accepting and embracing things how they are. It’s definitely not the Lower 48! (which I struggled with figuring out at first and still sometimes I have to remind myself!) But it has lots of cool, unique aspects, challenges and bonuses. If you are a can-do person, proactive, and eager to take good care of patients, and also if you can be easy-going and roll with the way things are (while striving to help make positive change), then it’s a great fit! The nursing-patient ratio is not usually that high, but there are a lot of extra details that nurses do here, that techs and clerks and social workers and other job descriptions do elsewhere, so it can be busy in a random way! Being cross-trained for Peds, OB, critical care is helpful (but I don’t think required) because we have a little bit of everything here! :) Which is the fun, challenging, unique aspect of the job. I’m sure some travelers could give you more great tips and input! Good luck to you! Nome is awesome and a unique place to live for at least 13 weeks. You can do anything for 13 weeks, right?! :)
      Shana recently posted…Back-to-back medevacs!My Profile

  8. I guess my interview went well. I got the position! Maybe we’ll see you up there. If you need anything, please don’t hesitate to email me. I will get you in contact with my wife and we will help you out.

    In the meantime, I have a question; do things rust out up there as far as vehicles and things like that? A couple years ago I was living in Aruba. The amount of damage that salt air did was astounding. I had a brand-new, side by side barbecue grill I took down there. Within a year it was badly rusted. My buddy had a scooter down there. I swear, if you kicked it, it probably would’ve blown apart into dust. My wife wants to get an ATV to take up there. I just want to make sure I don’t run into that same problem up there. Thanks again for all of you input.

    • Yay! Congratulations! Thanks so much for the offer. When are you guys moving up here? I would definitely get an ATV and any other vehicle–there is too much to explore around here not to! There is a small level of rust, just by being by the sea, but nothing like the tropics where the heat and salt corrodes everything! most ATVs hold up here pretty well for years. Also, for about half the year, the Bering Sea is frozen, so it’s that much less exposure to corrosion (and that much more need for an ATV to get around on the snow/packed roads). :)

  9. Love your blog, and its great to see a doctor of all people have one. Me and my wife are considering moving there for the elementary school. (She’s a teacher). What I’ve been curious of is the hospital facilities. I have PKD but am hopefully a long way from dialysis. Only like a 1.5-1.9 creatine. My curiosity is in the facilities there, is there at least a emergency dialysis machine there? I understand ill probably have to fly to anchorage for specialist but just curious what you are capable in Nome.

    Off that subject do you happen to know what the internet is truly like there? Speeds/service interruptions?

    • Hi Trenton!
      Thanks for your message! Yes, Nome is a great place to teach…and live. :) The hospital facilities are beautiful, although we really don’t have specialists or a lot of on-site specialty care here. There are specialists who travel up to Nome for field clinics, which is awesome, and we have some very medically fragile patients that are well taken care of (which continues to amaze me)! There is not an emergency dialysis machine here. There are a few patients who do have peritoneal dialysis, which I was really surprised to learn of, because you are right–we are really off the main grid. :) If there was an emergency, it would mean traveling to Anchorage. Some people’s insurance covers travel to Anchorage, some does not. But if you have an Alaska Airlines credit card and Club 49 member, getting to Anchorage by commercial flight can be super cheap. And of course, if it was emergent emergent, there is always a med-evac, which is 4 hours from door-to-door (Nome to Anchorage).

      Internet is pretty decent here. I stream a lot of video/occasional Netflix and only have minor interruptions–some days a little more. GCI just got a new fiber optic cable (or something techy like that) last Fall, so I’ve heard it’s really good now compared to before when they had internet via satellite connection. I’m not sure of the speed, but if you are more technologically savvy than me, you could find out more info. :) To me it works just fine, so I haven’t really investigated the stats. Compared to a big city in the Lower 48, it might be a little annoying sometimes, but compared to Bush Alaska (and developing countries, like Papua New Guinea:)), it is pretty amazing! A lot of it depends on expectations. I thought it might be something like the show “Northern Exposure” and it is constantly wowing me. :)

      Hope this helps! If you have more questions, feel free to ask! There was so much I didn’t know and didn’t know how to find it out before I moved!
      Shana recently posted…Drops of poetryMy Profile

      • Hello, just thought I’d say my wife accepted a job in Nome so looks like we will be there august 10th! All happening pretty quick. Seeing how my medical stuff I’m sure we might meet sometime. Thanks for the great info. Did you say you had Verizon in a post and that it works fine? If so does the data work on it?

        • Trenton,

          I believe she said Verizon DOES NOT work in Nome and you will have to switch to AT&T. I have Verizon as well and although I pay a little more, it has been exceptional. I’m hoping AT&T is good, too. My buddy has it and says it works fine – customer service probably isn’t the best. We should have a welcome barbecue as soon as I get up there. It will be a blistering 47 degrees by then. HA!

        • Yay! congrats to your wife! …and good luck with the big move! :) Verizon does NOT work reliably in Nome–it worked half the time, but I missed lots and lots of calls, texts and had dropped calls. I had to get out of my contract early. :( AT&T is the best if you need service in the Lower 48 and Alaska. GCI is the best for Alaska only service.
          Shana recently posted…Summer GloryMy Profile

  10. We are hoping to be up there by next month! Thanks again for the information! If you think of anything I might need, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

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