Travel nurses encounter a lot of variety in the cities where they work. Over the course of a few years a typical travel nurse will experience a wide array of foods, cultures, and people as they travel from city to city. If a travel nurse hails from a hometown with a fairly temperate climate, however, they might not be prepared for extreme weather of some American cities. And with winter around the corner, travel nurses hailing from warmer parts of the country may need to prepare for an unusual winter if they’re working in a northern US city. If you’re accustomed to winters where 50 degrees is considered cold, you’ll need to prepare yourself if you work in a city where temperatures drop below freezing for months at a time.
First and most importantly, make sure that you have the proper clothing to keep you warm during freezing temperatures. A windbreaker and a sweater simply won’t cut it when you’re walking around in 20 degree weather. If you’re working in a city with a harsh winter climate, don’t hesitate to invest in quality winter clothes—it’ll be worth the money when the time comes. Starting from the feet and moving up, consider these additions to your wardrobe:
- Snow boots (waterproofed so melted snow won’t leak inside)
- Wool socks
- Thermal pants
- Thermal shirt
- Heavy, insulated coat
- Gloves (thin enough so you can use your fingers, but thick enough to keep your hands warm)
- A thick scarf
- A beanie or a wool cap
As a nurse, you surely know that most of your body warmth escapes through the extremities, so do your best to keep them the warmest of all! When you’re shopping for winter clothes, be sure to choose utility over fashion as the more fashionable clothes won’t keep you as warm.
Secure your car
If you have a car, you’ll need to be wary of the dangers brought on by severe winter weather. Freezing temperatures can render your car useless if you’re not proactive about securing it. Do yourself a favor and take your car in for a routine inspection to make sure everything is in order. When you take your car in for inspection, ask the mechanic to pay close attention to the brakes, the tread on your tires, and the belts and hoses under the hood. If the mechanic recommends chains for your tires, ask that they install them on your car to save you the trouble of putting them on yourself.
Also be sure that your car’s level of antifreeze is up to regulation levels. Antifreeze—like its name implies—helps your car fluids from freezing during extreme cold temperatures. Without antifreeze, your car would basically turn into a useless hunk of metal in freezing weather.
Be prepared for snowstorms
Ask friends in the area about the average snowfall during the winter months. If they tell you that the average snowfall can get to several feet, you should prepare your home in the event of a snowstorm. If you rent a house, invest in a snow shovel for clearing large swaths of snow and plenty of rock salt to thaw out icy pavement. Stock up on groceries if serious snowfall is expected in the forecast so you can cook at home while you wait out the storm. The same advice goes for those living in apartment complexes or condos. Even if you aren’t snowed in during a snowstorm, it’s wise to wait it out inside until the worst of the storm has passed and it’s safe to travel. People unaccustomed to snowy weather would be wrong to have the perception that snow is fun and festive, something not worth worrying about. When the snow starts piling in front of your window, you’ll be glad that you took steps to prepare properly.