10 Great Travel Safety Tips for Travel Nurses

Safety is of great concern to travel nurses. Here are 10 Great Travel Safety Tips.

Please note that this list is not all-inclusive. Most generally, if you exercise common sense and use your gut feelings, you will be fine. The biggest thing that I will stress is that if you feel unsafe, leave the unsafe location immediately. Always be aware of your travel safety.

Here are some tips that I try to follow to stay safe:

-Plan your stops in town vs rest areas.

Avoid places without vehicles or people around. We prefer truck stops as they are usually well-lit and active—Park close to the door and, if after dark, in a well-lit area.

-Have some sort of Emergency Assistance

AAA is a great resource. If the car breaks down or gets a flat, stay in the car until the tow truck (well-marked with AAA) arrives. AAA will generally ask if you feel safe. If you do not feel safe telling them and they will usually send a police officer to you.

-Give A Friend or Family Member your Itinerary and check-in.

I give a basic itinerary (route) and call to check in when leaving and arriving.

At your assignment location, drive around and orient yourself during the day.

Scout out grocery stores, the hospital, and other things you need to visit while it is daylight, so you don’t have to be wandering around in the dark looking for them.

Select your Hotel with Safety in mind.

I suggest using a hotel with rooms on the inside, i.e. no door straight out to the parking lot

Choose the 2nd Floor

Always ask for a hotel room on the upper floor (2nd or higher), as ground floor rooms are the most vandalized. This is a good tip for any temporary housing as well.

Never travel without at least two sources of money available.

In addition to whatever cash you have on hand. Periodically you might find that your bank thinks your debit or credit card is being used suspiciously (has happened to me) and freeze it on you without warning. Don’t store these all in one place.

Secure any belongings that stay in your vehicle overnight.

Don’t leave anything obviously open to be viewed from the windows.

-Always park in a well-lit area.

If I am able to park in a location that can be viewed from the front desk all the better.

Check the new neighborhood:

http://www.cityrating.com/crime-statistics/ or http://www.crimemapping.com

Do you have additional tips to add to these Top 10 Travel Safety Tips? Please post them in the comments.

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Ways to Combat Loneliness as a Travel Nurse

As a travel nurse, you are packing up your belongings after every assignment ends.  Many times, these assignments are thousands of miles away from your family and friends.  So, how do you handle being that far away from those you love, in a town you aren’t familiar with?  Loneliness can be a real fear for travel nurses, but it doesn’t have to be. 

Avoiding travel nursing loneliness is possible! There are many options to keep your time occupied while on assignment, aside from working.  We have put together a list of things you can do to combat loneliness you may feel while away from your family and friends.

Get a pet:  

Pets can provide you companionship no matter where you go.  You won’t feel quite so alone, having them with you in your new “home.”    Coming back to an empty home can make the loneliness worse, but having a pet there waiting can make a huge difference.   Having a pet on an assignment can change the way you have to travel and look for housing. 

Join a gym:  

Find a gym in your new area that offers classes!  You have a better chance of meeting people by joining a gym class than just by going to the gym.  Yelp is a great place to search for gyms in your area because they also give reviews just like they do for restaurants.  Many gyms offer classes more than once a week so that you can work around your work schedule!

Video chat:

With today’s technology, staying in touch with loved ones while on assignment is much easier than ever!  Our cell phones now allow us to make video calls.  If that won’t work for you, there are numerous ways to use different apps or programs like Skype.  While it may not be the same as seeing them in person, it will definitely help you feel closer to them and avoid travel nursing loneliness.

Get out:

Explore your new temporary city.  Getting out and exploring your new area is a great way to get out, and you may meet some friends along the way as well.  A lot of cities and businesses offer events to bring people together.  Facebook is a great place to look for events happening around you.  You can also ask your co-workers for ideas on what to do. 

Meetup App:

Many travel nurses use the Meetup app. People use Meetup to meet new people, learn new things, find support, get out of their comfort zones, and pursue their passions, together.  The app has groups you can join that you are interested in, such as; Health and Wellness, Outdoors, Family, Sports and Fitness, and many more.  When you join a group, you will see who is hosting local events for that group.  If there isn’t a group for a topic, you enjoy you can always create one yourself.  It is a great way to find others in the area that enjoy the same things you do.

Meet other Travel Nurses in the area:

This is a great way to combat loneliness while making friends! What better people to connect with than those who know exactly what you are going through? There are many groups on Facebook dedicated to certain cities for travel nurses. 

Learn a new hobby:

You are on assignment, usually for 13 weeks at a time, which gives you plenty of time to pick up and learn a new hobby.  Learning a new hobby will help with loneliness because it keeps you busy and your mind off being away from family and friends. There are so many options to choose from. Knitting, crocheting, hiking, writing, yoga, and the list goes on and on. 

Hiking is a great option if you can find a place in your new city. It gets you out and about and away from your home away from home. Knitting and crocheting are great because they can be done from your home, and there are many tutorials on YouTube that make it easy to teach yourself. The list of new hobbies to learn is really endless; it just depends on what interests you and what you think you will enjoy.

Volunteer at an animal shelter:

Giving of your time is also a great way to combat loneliness. What better way to give of your time than spending it with adorable animals at an animal shelter?  Animal shelters are always looking for volunteers. Volunteering will get you out of the house while you spend time with other people and animals that are so appreciative of any attention you can give them. At the same time, it may not be in the books for you to adopt a pet while on the road. You can give love to those in the animal shelters while you are on assignment.

Loneliness is inevitable while being away from your family and friends, but it doesn’t have to be. 

These are just a few ways that you can combat loneliness while traveling for an assignment. There are many more ways. 

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Tips To Help Travel Nurses Survive Night Shift

For many travel nurses, working the night shift is a way of life.  Some natural “night owl” travel RNs make this transition very easy and actually thrive in a 7p-7a type of environment.  For most travel nurses, however, this schedule can be extremely challenging, even on a temporary basis.  On your feet, all night, working a crazy-busy shift, fighting natural and work-induced exhaustion…does this sound familiar? For those travel nurses that are working nights, here are some tips to help make the most of this demanding schedule.

1.) Eat smart:

When you’re physically and mentally tired, our bodies often crave “comfort food” to satisfy the unusual demands of a nighttime schedule.  The problem with this is that there is a difference between a craving for junk food and the real need for healthy energy foods to keep you properly nourished.  It’s very important to try to avoid the easy-to-grab snacks out of the break room vending machine.  Refined sugars, empty calories, high levels of sodium, and bad fats actually wreak havoc on your system and your sleep patterns, not to mention your overall health. 

Eating smaller, more frequent healthy snacks will keep you awake and energized throughout your shift.  Fresh fruits and vegetables, high-quality proteins, and frequent hydration with water or nutritious drinks are the keys.  Foods like bananas, low-salt nuts, low fat (and low sugar) yogurt, low-fat cheese and are great for keeping your engine running throughout the busy evening. And for a sweet treat, try dried fruits instead of candy bars.

2.) Use Caffeine with Caution:

It may seem like a great idea to grab that cup of coffee and give yourself a little extra jolt to get through the back half of your shift, but it may come back and haunt you when you finally do get home and try to wind down from a long “night”.  Instead, have your caffeine earlier in your shift and try to avoid it as much as possible in the latter half.  Avoid “energy drinks” at all costs.  These drinks usually contain high amounts of sugar and a ridiculous amount of caffeine that can make you jittery and uncomfortable during a shift, not to mention give you an upset stomach.

3. Sleep Schedule

Working odd hour shifts makes it difficult to get into a regular routine, particularly when you are trying to maintain some semblance of a social life!  Take steps to ensure you get some quality sleep when you get home.  Simple things such as blackout shades to keep the sunlight out, earplugs to block noise, turning off your phone and other electronic distractions, and even scheduling your sleep will all make it easier to obtain those 7-8 hours of rest that most of us require to maintain our health and well-being.

4.) Stay active during breaks:

Take a quick walk to the cafeteria, step outside the facility for some fresh air, do some light stretching exercises, or rhythmic breathing.  It can all help to keep you awake, refreshed, and mentally alert during your shift.

5.) Exercise Regularly:

Regularly scheduled exercise throughout the week is critical to maintaining healthy sleep patterns. Try and find a time each day to get 45-60 minutes of activity each day to keep in shape and keep you feeling good. If motivation is a problem, see if you can find a colleague that will be your workout partner to help get you moving or drag you to the gym on those days where you would rather be curled up on the couch with Netflix and a bag of Doritos.

It takes a special breed of travel nurse to work the night shift, either that or being the “newest” member of the staff!  As a travel RN, it may even be the shift you end up working because of staffing shortages!  Whatever the reason, your night shift experience does not necessarily have to be a bad one if you plan correctly and follow some of these guidelines.

If you’re a night shift nurse and you successfully navigate the evenings, please share some of your tips below with your colleagues who may need some help adjusting.

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Tips for Making Friends in Your New City

So you are on your latest adventure as a travel nurse…you landed the ideal job in your dream city, packed up, and settled in. Now what? All of a sudden, you have some time on your hands and no one to share it with, nowhere to really go, and you’re feeling a little lonely. It’s perfectly normal to go through this type of adjustment stage as a travel nurse. And, with the stressful demands of your job, sometimes it’s better to keep a more moderate schedule. However, that doesn’t mean living like a hermit. Socializing is very important for everyone’s mental and emotional health. To keep nursing and life balanced, you should stay connected with people, feel needed and appreciated outside of work, and look for opportunities to meet new people that can add richness to your life.

Here are a few ways you can meet and win new friends while on a travel nurse assignment. They may not all be right for your particular personality, but keep an open mind and be sure to give some a fair try. Here’s hoping you are on the road to popularity very soon.

Be approachable at work

Clearly, you don’t want to limit all your friends to co-workers because that would leave very little variety to your day. However, it is a good place to start. Grab lunch or take a walk with others in your department. You will learn quickly who is a good fit, then perhaps it can grow into some after-work get-togethers.

Maintain

Once you have done a great job meeting new people and have formed a few friendships, you have to keep them going. Any relationship takes some effort. Try to schedule regular “dates” or activities. Go for coffee, have a monthly movie night, commit to trying a new restaurant regularly, or even have a “call date’ to chat. In a world of instant technology and texting, it is still imperative to have live conversations for a relationship to last.

The fitness factor

Join a gym or sign-up for a class. Yoga, Pilates, Zumba, and other fitness classes are all popular ways to get exposed to a group of diverse people. These also provide flexible commitment on your part. You set your time at the gym and usually roam away from a conversation if it’s not working for you. Classes have set time limits, so you know there is a little time at the start and finish if you want to pursue a new friend further.

Start a club

Once you have a few people that seem to fit well with your personality, it can be very helpful to engage on a regular basis to help those relationships grow. Host a book club, regular dinner potluck, or even a wine and cheese tasting to bring people together.

Open up

While it’s not advisable to download your entire life story at a first encounter, it is often helpful to share about yourself gradually to grow a relationship. Showing emotion and confiding in someone you trust can help bolster a casual friendship into something more valuable to both parties.

Network

One of the fastest ways to meet new people is through your existing friends. Ask if they know people in your new location. This can be an excellent source of new friendships because your current acquaintances know your personality and might be able to match you with those who share common interests.

Tread lightly on work talk

Most of your life may be currently consumed by your work and it is no doubt a proud part of your day, however, nursing may not be interesting to everyone. Share on a gradual basis and gauge reception from your audience. And, be sure never to share personal details about your patients, or information that can be linked to a specific person. Privacy and discretion should always be your top job despite how rousing the details may be.

High tech options

Social media is just as the name suggests, a place to foster socializing. It is a great place to look for new friends in your newest city.  Look for Meet-Ups, Facebook pages and groups, and apps that are designed to connect people with similar interests. Always use precautions to stay safe. Never give out personal information online, meet only in well light public places, inform someone about any meetings with location details, etc. 

 

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Travel Nurse Do’s and Don’ts

Travel nurses are met with unique challenges as well as many benefits that a traditional nurse might not encounter. Here a few do’s and don’ts designed to help your journey as a travel nurse.

Do get active

join a Zumba class, yoga, cycling or enter a road race. Staying active is important for a healthy lifestyle and a great way to meet people in the area.

Do learn something new

hospitals and healthcare facilities have different ways of doing things. Learn how the units are run, ask questions, and try to gain new knowledge around a procedure or process that can benefit your career.

Don’t argue the rules

there will always be minor differences in procedures and processes between hospitals. As long as there are no safety concerns, don’t assume a different style is wrong. Adhere to the policies in place.

Do make new friends

with all the technology today it’s tempting to stay close to your inner circle through facetime, email, and texting. However, nothing compares to personal interaction, a hug when you need it, or a friendly face across a cup of coffee. Be sure to connect with people in your area so you have a few friends to count on in person.

Do eat healthily

your energy level and ability to perform is directly related to your nutritional intake. While it may seem obvious to a medical professional, everyone falls into the trap of rushing, grabbing junk food, or skipping meals altogether from time to time. This is especially true when you are in a new area, unfamiliar with restaurants, or alone and feel food prep is just too time-consuming for one person. Stay strong by planning aheadeating right, and taking care of you as the number one priority.

Do rest

nursing is a demanding job, any day and every day. There are physical and emotional aspects, stress, and enormous responsibility at every turn. Adequate rest is key to good decision-making, stamina, and mood.

Don’t be afraid to ask

a new area, a new job, and a new home can add up to a lot of uncertainly and unknowns. Ask questions of those you respect and trust, research reliable sources online, and never be embarrassed to inquire about something.

Do visit a park

take advantage of your new location by taking in the sights. Find a few parks, nature centers, or animal parks and enjoy the local attractions.

Don’t fail to review your contract

read carefully to understand the assignment, location, hours, benefits, pay, and housing parameters.

Don’t get into a rut

avoid eating and shopping at the same place every time. You can still have favorites, but be open to new experiences. Try new restaurants and stores every week.

Don’t forget to stay streetwise

vary your routine, avoid leaving valuables visible in your car, walk and park in well-lit areas, and stay alert of your surroundings.

We hope these Do’s and Don’ts help you with your travel nurse journey!

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Dealing With Difficult Patients While Travel Nursing

Dealing with difficult patients is a skill. Whether you are new to the nursing scene, or a seasoned vet, you know that there are just some patients that push you a little (or a lot) over the edge some days. Most of the time, we are pretty easy going and know to expect the unexpected, especially if you are an ER nurse. Here are tips for dealing with difficult patients while travel nursing that you can think about when you or your patient are having one of those days.

Use these tips to help deal with difficult patients.

Listen

Whether your patient is in for something minor or something major, sometimes they just want to be heard. Just a moment to make eye contact and hear them out with all their complaints, doubts, anger, etc. This could be a way of expressing how nervous or scared they are about what may or may not be happening. One of our Gypsy’s put it best on Facebook, “Listen, and listen some more. If a patient has a complaint about a previous nurse, often better to just listen, then obtain the presence of the charge nurse or supervisor, or if the facility has a patient liaison or representative. A lot of times, they just need to be heard. Never make excuses.”

Respond

It’s typical after a long day or even a long week to have a short fuse. Nurse or not, we are all guilty of this from time to time. Although it may seem like a no-brainer for you, sometimes all they need is for someone to hear them out and respond with patience and kindness. Assure them that they will have all their questions answered and even ask if anything needs to be clarified. This may take a bit longer for some, but it will result in a better, more satisfying stay for both in the long haul.

Ask

“Ask when you can’t find something, ask when you don’t understand them, ask for help if you need it, ask if you can help them, ask the patient questions, it’s okay to show emotion to your patient, it’s okay to sit and cry with them. Sitting down next to them for 30 seconds makes it feel like you spent 5-10
minutes with them sometimes. Share yourself with patients and their families.” This can mean the world to your patients and the lives they touch by a simple act of compassion. Showing the patient that you’re human too with a little bit of humility can go a long way in calming them down as well.

Kill them with kindness

Biting your tongue can be hard. It’s not always going to be a patient that is just hurt or confused or frustrated. Sometimes you just plain cannot calm them down or talk sense into them. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s perhaps something they’ve ingested that is making them act that way. For all involved, at times, it may be best for the sake of your own sanity to just kill them with kindness. Even at your highest stress level, at least you can leave with no remorse in your actions and may even be able to get a laugh out of it down the road.

If all else fails, be honest.

When you have tried and tried, and nothing seems to work, be sure you abide by the policy and let the patient know, calmly, the consequences of their actions if they proceed. Ensure you have documentation of what you’ve done or tried to do, as well as any documentation they may need to fill out to leave AMA, etc.; it’s best to have all your ducks in a row. It may be that “gentle” nudge to show them that you care, but they respect expected both ways.

Take-Away

How do travel nurses deal with difficult patients?

Listen, Respond, Ask Question, Kill them with kindness, and if all else fails…be honest.

I hope this helps you regroup your thoughts after a rough day, make you feel like you’re not alone on these crazy days, or even help if you’re new to the game. We love hearing your thoughts and what works best for you! Comment below with your best advice to share with the gypsy community!

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Top Benefits of Compression Socks

Nurses and healthcare workers are on their feet for sometimes 12 hours at a time.  Sometimes even more. And for numerous days at a time.  Finding ways to keep your feet comfortable is imperative.  Great shoes play a huge part in this, however many nurses swear by compression socks.

What are compression socks and what are the true benefits of them?

According to Wikipedia “Compression stockings are elastic compression garments worn around the leg, compressing the limb. This reduces the diameter of distended veins and increases venous blood flow velocity and valve effectiveness. Compression therapy helps decrease venous pressure, prevents venous stasis and impairments of venous walls, and relieves heavy and aching legs.”

Healthline says that some benefits of compression socks are:

1. Boost circulation in your legs

Boosting the circulation in your legs helps to get the necessary nutrients and blood flow to the tissue in your legs, keeping them healthy.

2. Support veins

Compression socks help to support your veins and can help prevent varicose veins.

3. Prevent blood from pooling in your leg veins

Pooling in the leg veins can be very painful and if not treated can the swelling and pressure will increase.

4. Diminish leg swelling

Leg swelling can lead to other issues and can also be very painful.

5. Prevent the development of deep vein thrombosis in your legs

This is a huge plus for compression socks as deep vein thrombosis is very serious and can lead to more serious issues and sometimes death.

6. Help lessen the pain caused by varicose veins

Being on your feet for as many hours at a time that nurses are, already causes tired and painful legs.  Add varicose veins to it and it can be unbearable.

Other benefits can include:

  • Fewer leg pains
  • Better circulation
  • Less swelling in the legs and feet
  • They can help with joint pain

There are many benefits to wearing compression socks, we hope that you have found this article helpful.  Not all compression socks are the same, so you need to do your research.

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To Extend or Not to Extend: The Travel Nurse Dilemma

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Should you stay or should you go? It all depends on what you’re looking for in a travel nurse contract extension.

By Megen Robbins, Cirrus Medical Staffing

By definition, travel nurses have the opportunity to move from place to place, and hospital to hospital all over the U.S. with every new assignment. Part of the fun is finding the next position offering the pay package you need, the location you want, and the facility that will help you grow professionally.

Most of the informative articles and tips circulating about travel nursing relate to helping you find a new assignment, and yet information about extending your current assignment seems almost absent from the narrative. This article will break down the pros and cons of extensions, and how to talk to your recruiter and facility about this option.

What is an extension?

An extension is when a healthcare traveler chooses to extend their current contracted assignment for an agreed-upon number of weeks. The length of the extension varies depending on what the hospital needs and what you’re willing to do.

Why extensions can be good

It’s easy. For everyone involved, extensions require less work to arrange. All of your paperwork is done, so you won’t have onboarding or orientation at the facility. You have housing set up and you already know your way around the city. Licensing and testing are already complete. Just sign on the dotted line to extend and you’re up and running!

It means you get more time to enjoy your current location. Maybe it’s the new people you’ve met that you’re not ready to leave behind quite yet or the hiking trails you haven’t had time to explore, or maybe you just need more time to think about where you’d like to go next.

You can still negotiate. Usually, recruiters provide the best deal possible on your first contract at a facility, but sometimes you can redistribute expenses into your pay package such as travel stipends, expenses for drug/TB testing and physical, criminal background check (if ordered by facility), or compliance and credentialing costs. However, if you’ve never traveled with a company before, you may have already received things like a sign-on bonus and other one-time-only perks in your first assignment’s pay package, so keep that in mind.

It’s flexible. On new assignments, the number of weeks you’ll be there is set in stone on your contract, and most facilities aren’t interested in shortening the length to appease a traveler. If you’re offered an extension, however, the facility knows you’re acclimated to your unit. Having you stay on, even if only for half the length of your first assignment, is more efficient than orienting a new traveler in your place. Unconventional contract lengths are typical for extensions, so you have more control over how long you stay.

Why extensions can be bad

It’s not in your best interests. Feeling pushed into an extension is the most basic reason why extensions can be bad for you as the traveler. Make sure you communicate to your recruiter how you feel about every aspect of the assignment throughout your contract. If there is something that can be changed to make your experience better, your recruiter can help you consider your options by pinpointing exactly what’s making you unhappy. Otherwise, your recruiter may not know what needs to change and therefore cannot help you in a meaningful way. If your recruiter knows why you’re unhappy and they aren’t actively submitting you elsewhere per your request, it might be time to find a new recruiter.

You’re unhappy at the facility itself. If you’re unhappy at the facility, and other factors don’t make staying worth it (like money), then extending may only be an option for you if no new contracts work out. Again, communicate with your recruiter and make sure they are actively submitting you to new positions so you have a new assignment lined up. One of the beauties of being a travel nurse is that you have the option to move on after a relatively short time, no questions asked.

How extensions come about

You’re approached about it by your recruiter and/or facility. Hospitals typically start to consider extensions up to four weeks prior to the end of your current contract. Sometimes you’ll get more notice; depending on the time of year or census patterns of the facility, hospitals may release their needs well in advance. You’ll be approached by your recruiter to weigh your options when they’re made aware of an opportunity to extend.

You bring the idea to your recruiter. Whenever the thought to extend occurs to you, it’s never too early to let your recruiter know. They can tell the facility you are interested in and start the process of arranging a contract that maximizes your income. Also, keep an open line of communication with your nurse manager so they know you’re interested in staying and they can work on getting any necessary approvals for the contract extension in advance.  Also, be prepared to discuss time off requests with the nurse manager and your recruiter.  You want to have those ready to go and approved up front to get the contract locked down quickly. Your recruiter can help you navigate an extension even before a facility’s needs are released. Just like you would for a new assignment, the earlier you start hunting – even if you’re looking to stay put – the better your odds of a successful placement.

The bottom line on extensions

Contract extensions should be carefully considered on a case-by-case basis – every assignment is different, and your reasons for staying may change depending on your circumstance. Extensions are a great way to get more of what’s important to you at the time; whether it’s more of the people, more money, more time to explore, or simply more time to find your next destination without a lapse between assignments.

Whatever your reasons to extend, they’re your reasons. Communicate openly with your recruiter and maybe your dilemma, to extend or not to extend, will cease to be a dilemma at all.

 

About the Author: Megen Robbins is the Marketing Supervisor at Cirrus Medical Staffing, a full-service healthcare staffing agency and travel nurse company. In her spare time, she’s usually hanging out with her two children under age 4, while simultaneously daydreaming about alone time. Find more travel nursing job advice, tips, and news on the Cirrus blog!

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Preparing for Hurricane Florence: What Travel Nurses Should Know

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A look at Hurricane Florence from space. The Category 2 storm is expected to hit the East Coast this weekend.

Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall near the Carolina coast later today and into the weekend. Forecasters are already calling it “the storm of a lifetime.” Are you in the path of the storm? If you are, don’t panic. Here’s what travel nurses can do to stay safe before and after a natural disaster while on assignment.

Before the storm:

Learn your facility’s emergency response plan: Most facilities have an emergency response plan in place to protect their patients and staff during critical events or natural disasters. In some cases, hospitals will even evacuate their patients if they can. However, just like hospitals, no two emergency response plans are alike. So, make sure you understand your role within that plan. Your unit manager should be able to brief you on your specific role and answer any of your questions.

Stock up on supplies: Prepare for what you’ll need before and after a natural disaster. The American Red Cross recommends this handy checklist of emergency supplies. For example, you should have a 2-week supply of non-perishable food and water as well as a full tank of gas in your car. You may also want to purchase a battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio so you can get the latest information from the National Weather Service.

Consider your housing situation: Make sure you have a Plan B for housing in the event that your current living situation becomes uninhabitable. Talk with your recruiter and your facility managers beforehand to determine your best course of action.

After the storm:

Contact your friends and family: Let your loved ones know you are safe. You can do so on Facebook or use the Safe and Well website. As a travel nurse, it’s also a great idea to put your recruiter on this list.

Avoid flooded areas and downed power lines: Flooding brings with it the risk of waterborne bacterial contamination and downed power lines pose a potential threat in the aftermath of a storm.

Don’t drink the tap water until authorities have given the all-clear. Tap water might not be safe to drink immediately following a natural disaster, so use your bottled water and/or boil the tap water before you use it.

Should you ever find yourself preparing for a natural disaster while on assignment, we hope these tips can help you stay safe. Thank you to all the travel nurses who have weathered similar storms or disasters in the name of patient care! You inspire all of us!

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Travel Nurse Holiday Contracts: Four Things to Know

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What’s on your wish list for a travel nurse holiday contract? Follow these tips to get the best experience!

It may only be July, but Christmas is fast approaching for those in the travel nurse industry. If you are a travel nurse, now is the perfect time to start thinking about where and how you want to spend the holidays. So, here’s what you need to know about travel nurse holiday contracts:

 

  1. Plan Ahead: Seasoned travel nurses know the early bird gets the worm, or in this case, the ideal assignment. They also know that October, the month when most holiday contracts begin, tends to be a busy time in the industry. (Hello flu season!) However, while demand for travel nurses is high, so too is the supply. Many travel nurses like to get one more assignment into the books before the year ends. This means competition for these jobs could be intense. So, it’s wise to start your job hunt in August or September if you’re planning on working a holiday contract.

 

  1. Make Your Contract Work For You: There’s a common myth among travelers that a holiday contract means you’ll automatically be working all holidays. However, that’s not necessarily true. For example, some hospitals might not want you to work any holidays while on contract because they simply can’t afford you to do so. Then again, other hospitals may only be hiring travel nurses to help fill in during the busy holiday season. In any event, if you don’t want to work on or around certain days, simply communicate your preferences during the interview process and ensure these requests are written into your contract.

 

  1. Talk with Your Recruiter: Chances are your recruiter has had plenty of experience helping travel nurses like you find their ideal assignments. So, help them help you. Let your recruiter know which states you’d prefer to work in as well as which holidays, if any, you are willing to work. They might not always be able to get everything you’re looking for, but it is super helpful to have an industry insider’s guidance and negotiation skills when you need them.

 

  1. Competition for Post-Holiday Contracts Is High: Do you plan to skip the holiday assignment and start traveling again after the New Year? You’re certainly not alone; after all, that’s the beauty of the travel nursing career! If you do decide to take the holidays off, you might want to wait until mid-January to find your next assignment. Early January is yet another peak season for travel nurses, and competition for these jobs is high. For those already on assignment, it might be a good idea to extend your current contract, if that option is available to you. Your job hunt will certainly be less stressful!

 

Have you worked a holiday contract before? What other advice would you suggest? Leave your comments in the section below!

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