While the majority of NSHC’s 500 employees are based in Nome, many staff members regularly travel to villages to treat patients. Fifteen villages, ranging in size from 150 to 750 residents, are scattered along the Bering Sea coast and on islands of the region. Each village has a clinic staffed by local residents trained as community health aides. These front-line primary care providers are a critical link between patients and medical staff in Nome.
In larger villages, NSHC stations a physician assistant or nurse practitioner. In addition, the clinics in Shishmaref and Unalakleet also have dental health aide therapists.
Village patients requiring the next level of care are brought to Nome. In an emergency, staff fly to a village to transport the patient back to Nome or on to Anchorage for care above the level NSHC provides. The hospital in Nome does not have the capability of providing surgery, CAT scans or MRI. Patients needing this type of care are transported to Anchorage.