Inclement Weather Bears Getting Used to for Travel Nurses
We’ve all sat through a thunderstorm or stayed close to the air conditioner during a heat wave. But not everyone has weathered a hurricane, battened down the hatches for a tornado, or driven to work in whiteout conditions.
As a travel nurse, it doesn’t matter what kind of severe weather you’re familiar with — what matters is what you’re up against at your new assignment. Chances are — you haven’t faced the same extreme conditions as your new coworkers. They know what Mother Nature is capable of in their region of the country. It’s part of your job to learn and prepare for inclement conditions, too.
Weather affects you more than you realize
When you’re familiar with your region’s weather, preparation becomes second nature. Unfortunately, travel nurses don’t always get the luxury of being familiar with their area’s weather risks. If you live in Arizona, your wardrobe is probably not equipped to handle the winter snowstorms of Michigan. Or, if you’re from Minnesota, you might not know what to do when a western wildfire gets close to your neighborhood. Before you leave for assignment, consider the potential weather conditions of the area.
What to expect during inclement weather
Depending on the location of your next assignment, you could face a range of potential weather conditions, so it’s important to be prepared ahead of time. Pay attention to the news and weather reports, so you have ample time to make arrangements. Additionally, an emergency supply kit containing flashlights, batteries, water, first aid, and more can help you feel better prepared and ready to take on a wide range of conditions.
Inclement weather can affect many aspects of your job. Bad weather can make it difficult for you to get to work, causing traffic delays and road closures. It also can increase the prevalence of injuries and illnesses, which means you’ll probably need to brave the weather and traffic to handle an influx of patients.
You may even need to stay overnight at your facility to ensure you can be on time for your shift. Hospitals typically issue a notice if your area is expecting a severe storm. Pay close attention to these notices — they often include expectations for hospital staff and explanations of emergency protocols.
Preparing for weather-related disasters
Weather disasters pose different threats to you and your facility. For example, blizzards, hurricanes, and violent thunderstorms can all lead to power outages, which are disastrous for hospitals that rely on life-saving equipment. At home, make sure you have flashlights with extra batteries to help you navigate if the power cuts out. At work, learn about the backup power systems and emergency plans when electrical outages take everyone by surprise.
Tornados pose the risk for extreme destruction and usually require you and your patients to take shelter below ground. Learn where your facility’s tornado shelters are to ensure you get everyone to the right place quickly.
Wildfires usually require evacuation if they get too close to your building. Pay attention to the news and adhere to all evacuation notices for your region to ensure you have time to pack your belongings and seek shelter outside of the fire range.
Weather has the potential to affect us all. As a travel nurse, understanding what to do in the event of inclement weather should be a top priority so you can help others during these dangerous situations. When you know what you’re up against, you’ll feel more confident and ready to take action while on assignment.