The life of a travel nurse can be gratifying and often very thrilling as you get to go on road trips and see many different locations around the world while also helping those in need. Still, like anyone else who travels for a living, it’s essential that you remain safe and sound along the way.
How You’ll Get To Your Nursing Gig
You have many different transportation options to get to your destination and each has its pros and cons, so weigh them out. You can take an RV because it allows you to take most of your essential belongings along the ride, and you can cut down on lodging expenses by staying inside. However, to avoid unnecessary stress, do your research by ensuring that it has the amenities you need, like Wi-Fi and electricity hookups.
If you’re not going too far, you may also consider taking public transportation, like a bus or train. This is often a more affordable option, and many of these vehicles have become much more comfortable over time. A plane is also a great option to get somewhere fast. If you take either of these options, cut out the stress of the unknown by researching the proper airline, bus line, and route so you end up where you desire without unnecessary stops.
You may also decide to rent a car once you reach your destination, and again, research is key. Look at the vehicle options and find one that will fit you, your team, and your equipment, and then make a reservation and confirm it before you leave so you can ensure the car will be there waiting. Also, verify that the car comes with insurance and that you have a roadside assistance app, like AAA, just in case an unexpected incident occurs along the way.
Stay Safe On The Road
With your vehicle selected, sit down and draw out your route so you know exactly how long you’ll drive every day and where you’ll stop for meals and breaks to rest and stretch your legs. Don’t push yourself too much during the day, and plan enough time for sleep. Book your hotels beforehand so you know you’ll have a room when you arrive. Some nurses stay at truck stops because they’re cheap, have hot showers, and often have a hotel attached for a place to stay.
When you do stop at night, it’s essential that you make enough time to get quality sleep so you aren’t tired when you get back on the road. Falling asleep in a new place can be challenging, so you should establish a sleep routine beforehand. That may include meditating or taking a bath so you can relax. Also, plan on taking a sleep mask as you never know how high quality the shades in a hotel will be or how dark it will get, and you don’t want to risk good sleep.
Once you wake up refreshed and get back on the road, you need to keep your eyes on what’s out the windshield so you don’t fall victim to distracted driving. This dangerous behavior shows up when you are talking on the phone and only giving part of your attention to the road, or when you reach for one of your supplies and take your hand off the wheel — or even when you turn your eyes to the radio or phone. While it can seem like second nature to text while driving, it only takes a second to get into an accident. You can be cordial and talk with your fellow nurses while driving. However, your eyes should remain on the road and your hands on the wheel.
Maintenance And Vehicle Emergencies
While most vehicles are pretty reliable these days, there’s always the chance that an accident could occur or the car could break down while you’re on the way to the next appointment. You can eliminate many potential car problems by maintaining your vehicle and bringing it in for a check-up before you leave. Have a mechanic check your tires for holes or leaks before you go. Also, have them check the brakes, battery, and lights so they don’t fail when needed.
It’s also important to check your vehicle’s coolant levels before the trip at least once during your journey so you can ensure that the brake fluid, coolant, and windshield wiper fluid are where they should be. If you’re unsure how to check those, then the manual in the glove box can tell you everything you need to know. Also, when you stop at gas stations, take a moment to fill up the tires to the necessary pressure level because properly inflated tires can help with gas mileage and stay strong if you drive over debris on the road.
Wherever you go, pack an emergency kit in a duffle bag so you can keep everything together. Your kit should include jumper cables, a tire pressure gauge, a first aid kit, a flashlight with batteries, water, and long-lasting food, like protein bars. Never leave this kit behind.
These are all of the essential tips you should remember during your next nursing road trip because many of them can help you avoid stress and may save your life. Get to your destination in one piece so you can help the folks who need you when it matters most.