Luckily, headlines earlier this week reporting Travel Nurse Andria C. Terrell missing were followed quickly with updates that she had been found safe and in no need of assistance whatsoever.
Terrell is from Georgia and on assignment in Eugene, Oregon. She was traveling to check out Crater Lake when her family reported her missing because they hadn’t heard from her and weren’t able to reach her by cell phone. It’s always better safe than sorry, so good on her family for being proactive, but I was relieved to hear she was just fine, traveling with a friend, and had simply encountered a bad patch of cell service.
Travel Nurse safety is pretty much the same as your safety concerns when you’re not on assignment. When traveling, it’s highly likely you’ll be more concerned with patient and clinical safety — or safely securing your life jacket to go on a boating adventure! — than worried about your personal safety.
But, like Terrell’s family, you’re always better safe than sorry, so here are a few tips for Travel Nurse safety:
Check in with Friends and Family Often
This is easy, as you’re likely to want to reach out and tell them all about the fun you’re having on assignment anyway! You could even designate a person or two with whom you will make a point to check in with at regular intervals. You should also have a safety buddy in your current city — a colleague, neighbor, or friend more geographically near that you can reach out to if necessary.
Use Technology to Stay Safe
With advanced technology there are a variety of ways you can reach out: text, email, phone call, Skype, social media, and other means. There’s a great, free app called bSafe that tracks your location and lets you have a friend virtually walk you home, sends an alarm to someone you designate if you are danger, has a flashlight — it will even make fake phone calls to your cell to interrupt a bad date or meeting! Also, always make sure your “Find My Phone” feature is enabled.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Get your housing address as soon as you can and do a little research on your new neighborhood as well as the area your facility is in. It’s also a good idea to know where the nearest police station or other emergency resources are — knowledge you might take for granted back home. Always walk with purpose and keep an eye on everything going on around you. When parking, avoid shady looking areas and situations, opting for well-lit, higher traffic areas. You should also always check the weather report to stay aware of any environmental safety concerns.
Travel with Safety Measures
Always travel with a roadside emergency kit (click here to learn more about vehicle safety) if you’re driving. If you’re on foot you can carry a whistle and/or pepper spray, in addition to tools like the BSafe app. Also, taking an introductory self-defense class can give you confidence and easy-to-learn maneuvers.
Again, anybody anywhere can benefit by following these safety precautions. You shouldn’t be especially concerned for your safety while traveling — really no more than usual.
Do you have any additional tips or thoughts to share about Travel Nurse safety? Be sure to share in the comments!