Inclement Weather Bears Getting Used to for Travel Nurses

Written by Rose Torrento on Thursday, December 05, 2019 Posted in Travel Nurse Tips

rain commuteWe’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.

AB be prepared

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.

If you have questions about the climate of the region where you’re being assigned, do a little research before packing. Remember, you can always ask your recruiter for tips if you’re unsure about how to prepare for the potential of inclement weather. Contact us online or call us today at 888-299-9800.

About the Author

Rose Torrento

Rosemarie Torrento has worked in health care for more than 26 years, beginning as a registered nurse in 1988. Early in her nursing career, Torrento worked as a freelance contract nurse before accepting a position in nursing administration. During her 17-year tenure in that role, she oversaw nursing employment and travel nurse contracting at a Level 1 Trauma Hospital in Michigan. Understanding the challenges travel nurses faced, Torrento founded Health Providers Choice Inc. (HPC) in 2003. Through Torrento’s extensive experience and her role as President and CEO, HPC provides travel placement of registered nurses and allied health professionals to hospital systems nationally.