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Flu season: Seven ways travel nurses can prepare

Written by Nichole Gokenbach on Wednesday, November 20, 2013 Posted in Travel Nurse Tips

Flu season is upon us! For healthcare professionals, such as travel nurses, it's important to stay as healthy as possible during the fall and winter months. You may find yourself surrounded by patients who have come down with the flu, and your good health will allow you to provide them with high-quality care.

Follow these steps to stay in good health this flu season:

  • Get your flu shot. The CDC recommends the flu vaccine as the number one way to prevent flu infection and transmission. For travel nurses, it's a good idea to lead by example! Many local pharmacies or supermarkets offer flu shot clinics; the facility where you're currently assigned may also provide them. Get your flu shot and encourage your patients to do the same. Provide them with information about the importance of flu shots in maintaining good health throughout flu season. Also, direct your patients to locations where they can receive their flu shot.
  • Sleep well.Get enough sleep every night to help your immune system stay in top working order. Most people need six to eight hours, but everyone is different. Listen to your body and go to sleep when you're tired.
  • Eat right. Good nutrition also helps your immune system function at maximum capacity. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fish, whole grains and low-fat dairy. Try to avoid fried and processed foods. Drink plenty of water.
  • Exercise regularly. Experts recommend at least 30 minutes of cardio on most days of the week. Keeping yourself healthy with regular exercise will also help you sleep well at night, adding to the health of your immune system.
  • Wash your hands. Keep it clean! Help yourself stay healthy and minimize germ transfer to your patients by washing your hands regularly. Do so after you cough, sneeze or touch any “high-traffic” areas, such as doorknobs, medical charts or department phones. Never touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Conceal your cough (or sneeze). Use a tissue, or your sleeve or hand in a pinch. Remember to wash your hands after you cough or sneeze.
  • If you don't feel well, stay home. You may feel you can't leave your caseload to your co-workers, but the most responsible thing you can do if you feel ill is to stay home from work. It's not fair to expose your fellow nurses or patients to cold or flu germs.

Prepare for flu season by contacting your travel nursing recruiter to discuss the proper procedure for calling in sick. Save important contact numbers in your cell phone so you're prepared in case you fall ill.

Health Providers Choice is the industry's premier provider for travel nursing positions. To speak with a recruiter and learn more, contact us today!