8 Tips for Staying Safe in a New City
By Bella Alvarez, Contributor
Travel nurses have one of the most exciting jobs in the healthcare field, but it can also be a dangerous career without the right mindset. Travel nursing requires logical thinking and foresight, not only in a hospital but also during day-to-day life. Staying safe while traveling frequently involves both planning for emergencies and learning tips and tricks to avoid them.
Preventative tips for staying safe when traveling
Identify areas to avoid
It might not be an adventurer's idea of fun, but cautiously investigating your new home before you plan any excursions is important. Before you make your move, take a look at the city or town's crime rate and most dangerous areas. Read the local paper to learn about the town and its most common problems.
Don't leave your shift alone
advises facilities to "provide staff members with security escorts to parking areas during evening/late hours" and "ensure these areas are well lit and highly visible" in order to prevent workplace violence. However, on many occasions, you may need to take your safety into your own hands.•
When you work shifts at late or odd hours, ask an employee who knows the area to walk out with you.•When driving, don't park in an isolated area if you'll be leaving after dark.•Avoid desolate or secluded areas, even during the day.
•When you work shifts at late or odd hours, ask an employee who knows the area to walk out with you.•When driving, don't park in an isolated area if you'll be leaving after dark.•Avoid desolate or secluded areas, even during the day.1) When you work shifts at late or odd hours, ask an employee who knows the area to walk out with you.
2) When driving, don't park in an isolated area if you'll be leaving after dark.
3) Avoid desolate or secluded areas, even during the day
If the area you're working in is known for pick pocketing and theft, make sure you dress inconspicuously and don't attract attention. Don't wear anything exceptionally expensive or that you would miss if it were stolen. Traveling in groups can also help deter pickpockets and thieves.
A trustworthy friend gives you someone to report your whereabouts to. If you're single or traveling alone, knowing someone in the area and making them aware of your location and when you should be back home can help if an accident or issue occurs. Travel nurses often network throughout their careers, so keeping in contact with former co-workers and old friends can come in handy when you start traveling.
Take up self defense
Thousands of locations across the country teach self defense. Taekwondo, karate, jiu-jitsu and judo are only a small number of self defense arts available to learn. Since travel nurses have comprehensive knowledge of the human body, this is a perfect place for them to excel. One study
even pointed out the health benefits of taking regular classes in kung-fu and other martial arts, including improved overall satisfaction with life. These self defense and martial arts classes teach balance, coordination and technique to people of all ages.
Weapons and small tools that can be used in self defense are great options for those who may not have time to learn martial arts or who simply want added protection. Small knives, mace, pepper spray and stun guns can all be easily concealed, and many options are nonlethal. However, do make sure before you bring any of these items into your workplace you understand the facility's policy on what you can carry and store on the premises.
TIP: SOS alerts and emergency options are available on many mobile phones,such as iOS and Android devices. Learning how to use these in case of an emergency is a good idea, especially if you plan to travel alone or at night.
If an emergency occurs
Have a worst-case-scenario plan
It's a common piece of advice to "hope for the best, plan for the worst". The Bureau of Consular Affairs advises
international travelers to "establish your own personal security plan in coordination with your employer or host organization, or consider consulting with a professional security organization." The same advice applies to traveling nurses who move within the country. Emergency planning provides peace of mind and organization in case of a serious issue.
Keep your emergency information organized
The Attorney General's office in the state of Washington recommends
making copies of social security cards, insurance information, your birth certificate and even your passport. It further advises travelers to leave a copy with a trusted friend or relative. Keeping documents in a safe, hidden place is a good way to ensure your emergency information and IDs are in order. Keeping it all in a container or bag that won't be damaged by water or fire is another good step.
Travel nursing can be rewarding, but it doesn't come without a few risks. Knowing about the area you're traveling to, having emergency plans and practicing safety-conscious behaviors can make staying safe while traveling easier. To find your next travel nurse position
, check out Onward Healthcare's job listings