Travel Nursing During A Natural Disaster

From winter blizzards and earthquakes to tornadoes and wildfires, natural disasters are unpredictable. There's no telling how much damage they'll cause or how they'll impact a community, and there’s nothing to prevent another disaster from happening before the area can begin to rebuild. It's times like these that travel nurses are needed the most. No matter what the natural disaster is and where it takes place, there are vulnerable people all over the country in need of your support. Whether you plan on traveling to a specific destination during the next natural disaster, moving to an area prone to environmental disasters, or want to prepare in the event of an unpredictable occurrence, consider the following tips: 

Have an emergency kit ready

If a natural disaster occurs while you're on assignment, you need to keep your own safety as a priority. While your furniture and valuables may be at top of mind while packing, don't forget to include an emergency safety kit as well. In the kit, make sure you have a portable flashlight with batteries, a blanket, a fully charged portable battery for your phone, non-perishable food and water, and a fresh pair of clothes. Lifestyle blog The Gypsy Nurse also recommended having a pair of work gloves handy, because disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and fires can shatter windows. If you are on shift when a natural disaster occurs, there is a chance you will be at your facility for a day or more until it is safe to leave, keeping a change of clothes in your kit will help keep you more comfortable. Having these resources on hand can help you remain calm in the event of a natural disaster or crisis. It's not a bad idea to always keep this kit with you - when you're at home, leave it in the bathroom. If you're on the go, bring it in your car. 

Educate yourself

If a natural disaster occurs while you're at work, your patients are going to look to you for protection. Understand how to take control of the situation and ensure everyone remains calm and safe. To prepare for such chaotic situations, the American Nurses Association recommends utilizing available resources like taking natural disaster certification classes and educational courses for disaster preparedness. Being educated before a natural disaster occurs will allow you to keep calm and levelheaded while in the midst of an unpredictable event.  

Search for volunteer opportunities

As stated earlier, when disasters occur, nurses are needed more than ever. If you're on assignment in the midst of a situation, look into volunteer opportunities or additional assignments in the area. If you’re not on contract when something happens, take the initiative to respond to the disaster by asking your recruiter to send you to the area of distress. He or she can help link you to a hospital or facility in need of nurses or volunteers. If you’re committed to traveling to help those affected by a natural disaster, register with a volunteer organization that matches your desired level of response. Being registered to volunteer before a disaster occurs allows you to aid those in need faster.  

Remember: You began your career as a travel nurse to help those in need across the country. Let the opportunity to assist those during and after a natural disaster be a reminder as to why you chose this professional journey in the first place.