A natural disaster can happen in an instant while on assignment, leaving you with limited time to prepare. When the power goes out and your phone isn’t working, it is easy to panic. As we continue to encounter tropical storms and hurricanes that have lasting effects on various regions, it’s important for travel nurses to be prepared for natural disasters.
Nurses provide crucial support in healthcare facilities in a time of crisis. This puts a lot of responsibility on nurses to be prepared when disaster strikes. The American Nurses Association (ANA) considers disaster preparedness part of nursing practice. Being personally prepared will ensure you can provide the necessary care to those in need. Here are some tips for natural disaster preparedness for travel nurses to help alleviate some worry and help keep you safe.
Natural Disaster Preparedness Tips
- Be sure to familiarize yourself with evacuation routes from your temporary home as well as any designated shelters nearby so that you know where exactly to go when disaster strikes. As a travel nurse, you may not be as familiar with your surroundings so this is very important.
- Make sure you have enough food and water stored up at home to last an additional 72 hours after a disaster strikes so that you do not have to leave until roads are cleared.
- Pack a survival bag. In an instant, the city you are staying in may need to be evacuated. This bag may contain items like a flashlight, phone charger, and an extra pair of scrubs
- Pack extra batteries!
- Pack any necessary medications you may need if you are evacuated.
- Prepare snacks and pack water. If you plan on packing any canned goods, don’t forget a manual can opener.
- Consider storing a car charger for your cell phone in case the power goes out.
- Do not forget about your pets! If you are traveling with a furry friend, keep a leash and water bowl handy along with enough pet food, medications, bowls, and other supplies if you have to evacuate
- Keep emergency contact information handy by including it on your cell phone under “ICE” (In Case of Emergency).
- Have an emergency plan in place with contact information for family members or friends that are out of town, etc. just in case communication lines go down
Nurses are in a unique position in disaster situations. They have a responsibility to care for their patients and themselves when disaster strikes. However, disaster preparedness is often overlooked. Check with your healthcare facility or organization to see if they have any disaster plans. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) has a ton of resources available to nurses and other healthcare providers. Check out those free resources here.
The Importance of Being Prepared as a Travel Nurse for Natural Disasters
An article in the American Journal of Nursing stresses the importance of disaster preparedness and a need for basic competencies. This is especially important for travel nurses! With each travel nurse assignment, the nurse is out of their comfort zone and in unfamiliar territory.
Having the basic skills and necessities will help keep you safe no matter where you are. Once you start a new assignment, gather the necessary information related to disaster preparedness. Find out the exact policies, procedures, and what is required of you as a travel nurse. This will prepare you mentally and emotionally. Being prepared for any disaster may play a vital role in your next travel assignment.
Find Your Next Travel Nursing Job with CareerStaff
Here at CareerStaff, we value every nurse and believe in being prepared for any situation. If you are looking to boost your resume or find a new career opportunity, we have available assignments all over the United States! You can search all available jobs here.
Good luck on your nursing journey and stay safe!