I have read with great interest Mr. Hudson's recent series on the “Help Wanted” situtation in Pagosa Springs, and the general state of economic affairs there. It has been quite interesting to discover the viewpoint of the potential employers to which he has referred in these articles. As someone who has — on multiple occasions — inquired about potential relocation to and employment with the local health care community, I have had a very different experience than those he described.
I thought Daily Post readers might be interested in a different perspective on the “Help Wanted” situation.
I currently reside in a very small town in northern Indiana (Upland), with a population of around 3,700 — on a busy day and when the local university is not on hiatus. I have lived in this county for my entire life and, although small-town living has its challenges, it is where I belong. With that said, I have been fortunate enough to travel quite a bit and fell in love with Colorado many years ago, (more than 35 years, if we’re counting). I’ve always wanted to relocate and, after having the incredible experience of Wolf Creek and Pagosa Springs, set my sights on your little berg.
My research over the years, aside from ski trips, has included subscribing to the print version of the local newspaper until the information became available online, which I continue to follow. I have also obtained information from the Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center. Within the last four to five years, I have also made inquiries, both by phone and via e-mail, regarding the possibility of employment. At the time of my original inquiry, I was an RN, and the health care structure in Pagosa Springs was in some turmoil. I received, “Thanks, we’ll be in touch” generic type of responses from each person with whom I had contact, which was somewhat disappointing. My attempts to obtain information were routinely met with very little enthusiasm and no follow-up.
I did not perceive that help was truly wanted.
Now, I am completing my master’s degree and will graduate in June, 2015, as a Family Nurse Practitioner. The local health care system seems to have made an admirable recovery and may in fact be expanding, if rumors become truth. My hope is that I can be a part of this progress; however, my fear is that my inquiries will be met with the same level of disinterest I have experienced in the past.
I suppose the point of these ramblings is to say that the challenges voiced by those Mr. Hudson mentioned in his article seem disconnected from my personal experiences. It appears that there have been management changes at the medical center, which seems to have had a positive effect on local health care. I plan to inquire about potential employment within the next few months — and hope to be met with a bit more interest as a result of an evolving discussion about local employment.
I am concerned about all the variables Mr. Hudson mentioned, including income, affordability, cost of living, access to amenities and those intangibles that contribute to a satisfying experience. However, my goal is to relocate to Colorado within the upcoming year or two. I am familiar with the logistics and politics of rural living; my eyes are open to the pros and cons of this choice. Despite the frustrations that accompany the decision, I want to know my neighbors and I want them to know me. My desire is to become a part of the Pagosa Springs community and contribute to the health care system in a positive, meaningful and valuable way.
Can I promise to stay forever? Of course not. What I can promise is to expend my time, energy and resources toward the betterment of the town and its residents. I can promise to be a caring, productive, thoughtful and involved citizen.
To paraphrase John Mellencamp, I can breathe in a small town; it’s where I’m most comfortable and at home. I think I’d be an asset. I hope to have the opportunity to demonstrate that belief.