Preparing for Living in Bethel

From Guide to YKHC Medical Practices
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Whether you are a permanent hire, locums or resident you will need to prepare to arrive in Bethel with appropriate expectations, clothing and supplies, etc. and a way to live comfortably.

You are headed to a very isolated part of the country. There are stores in Bethel and Amazon can ship to you (two weeks standard mail or as little as less than a week for prime), but it is good to come prepared. Most likely you will be staying in resident housing, locums housing or new hire temporary housing. These are shared units and there is no maid service so it is important to leave it as clean or cleaner than you found it and resupply any paper or cleaning products that run out while you are there.

Packing and Arrival in Bethel


Unless you have GCI service, your cell phone will not work in Bethel. There is poor guest wifi available at hospital and OK wifi available at your lodging. Wifi in Bethel is OK, but not great as it is obtained through satellite connection.

Food and Supplies

You should bring a lot of food. Food is flown in and costs 30–50 percent more in Bethel than in the Lower 48. The grocery stores in Bethel are very well-stocked, but you will be paying a Delta premium. Example: A gallon of milk at about $8 and flour at $10–15. You cannot buy alcohol in Bethel so bring it if you want it. Boxed wine travels and keeps well! Bring with you things like soap and shampoo (all toiletries). They are expensive and the stores may not have what you like to use.


The dress is casual, and is more functional than fashionable. You have either snow and ice or mud and dust. So don’t bring your super nice things. Boots are essential. You need warm ones for winter, when it can be -30, and you need waterproof ones to combat the mud and wet tundra. Breakup is normally early May on the Delta. Work attire is business casual and neat and professional. On Fridays, clinic providers can wear jeans. The hospital has scrubs for inpatient/ED, but if you have a favorite pair or two bring those. Hospital Scrubs CANNOT leave the hospital.

For the cold months of October through April, make sure to pack appropriately. If you have any interest in medevacs, riding a snow machine or exploring outside, you will need a very warm jacket, snow pants, gloves, hat and possibly a face mask. There are people willing to lend you the warm jackets and pants, but if you have warm stuff and it fits in your bags, you should bring it. The boardwalks and roads can be very icy, so a pair of microspikes to go over your boots is helpful.

First Days of Work

  • Go to HR on the second floor of the admin building across the street from the hospital.
    • Attend your two days of corporate orientation or the AMO (Annual Mandatory Orientation) in the computer kiosk in HR depending on whether you are staff or a resident.
    • Get fingerprinted in HR
    • Have someone in HR bring you to technology in the same building.
  • IT — Obtain your passwords for:
    • network access
    • RAVEN
    • email (might be the same as network access)
    • AFHCAN telemed password
    • other passwords you will get elsewhere include imaging eRad from the Radiology Dept. and the ANMC Cerner computer charting by calling 907-563-2662, asking for Technology and having them set you up with your password—if they say they don’t have your SARF, have Susan Richard resend it)
  • After corporate orientation, go across the street to the hospital side
  • In West Wing, enter through the doors on your left as you ascend the wheelchair ramp. Find employee health past the WIC window to have them update your immunization record from the record send from your residency.
    • If you are due for a Tdap or flu shot, etc., they will give it to you for free.
    • If you are due for a PPD (or CXR since a pos ppd) they will offer that for free as well.
  • Get a badge in maintenance (ask Thi-Anna to escort you since you need someone with a badge to get you in the hallway to maintenance)—Make sure the badge says “MD” or “DO” as well as “Resident Physician,” “Family Physician,” “Pediatrician,” etc. on it.
  • Hospital tour, usually provided by Thi-Anna.
    • Get eRAD access when visiting Radiology.
    • Call ANMC at **97 to ask for Technology to get passwords to their Powerchart/Outreach program as above.

EMR: We have a “new” Cerner system that we call RAVEN and you should be receiving a half-day orientation on it within your first few days of starting work.

Living in Bethel

see Bethel A to Z for more information about Taxis, Utilities (water, sewage), Grocery stores, Restaurants, events, and other things to do in Bethel

Navigating Around Town:

While Bethel is not a large town, it can be a bit tricky to navigate and find your way around. Bethel is a town of approximately 7,400 people in western Alaska. There are very few road signs; there are no street signs and not all the roads are paved. The roads weave around off the main ‘highway’ and it is easy to get lost. See Bethel City Map

Getting to work:

Walking to work is a good way to get exercise and see the town. Most of the lodging for our staff and residents is within walking distance, but some is farther than others. Walking on the Tundra or boardwalk can be more pleasant than walking on the roads.

For people less willing to walk through the mud, snow, ice or wind, you can always call a cab.