The realm of the traveling nurse is an ongoing adventure. You could spend a couple months in a rural, impoverished village in Nigeria then a couple months scrubbing in at the Cleveland Clinic (we all have dreams, and crazier things have happened). Regardless of your assignment, you should spend ample time preparing for your next trip. You probably don’t need to worry about bringing your own personal medical supplies to a prestigious hospital – they’ve likely got you covered. But you would need to bring a first aid kit and emergency supplies if taking a long road trip over a snowy mountain pass. Although much of this list may seem like common sense, if you are pushed for time and need a quick guide to help remember those little things in which you do not immediately think of, consider this quick traveling nurse checklist before locking your front door.
- You’re living in a different place for a few months. What kind of items do you require at your current living situation? Think about your day in terms of retracing your steps. Where did you go, how did you take care of yourself and what items did you use today? Don’t forget items you don’t use every single day: razor, chap-stick, nail clippers, etc. These are easy to forget, but can cause some serious stress if forgotten. Remember bedding, bottle opener, pots, pans, utensils, and vacuums.
- Laptops, iPods, iPads, chargers, phone(s). These may also go under professional items, but especially remember to bring work-related technology. Storing notes via digital database is much easier than taking notes on note pad and paper, and trying to organize those notes effectively later. iPods and iPads are great for that bus ride from the hospital after putting in long hours. Escape the mindset of work and let your stress and work-related mindset ease away by watching mindless TV episodes, listen to relaxing music, or get lost within the chapters of a good book.
- “Going-out” or lounging clothing, undergarments, socks, rain gear, hats, gloves, jackets, coats, sleeping gear, etc. Even as a homebody, you’ll want to go out and experience some semblance of external life once, twice, or maybe more. Ensure to bring clothing prepared for any situation. You’ll probably get asked out, so be prepared for that. You’ll also probably get trapped in a snowstorm, so prepare for that as well.
- In interest of time, there won’t be a way to list each item you need for your new nursing job. So let’s try to provide a few broad categories in which to help your brain compartmentalize items into groups. You should know what is required; after all, you are a traveling nurse.
- Sanitizers/Cleansers – This includes hand sanitizers, surface cleaners, sterilization products, wound wash, and eye washing liquid.
- Suture kits, splints, anti-venoms, etc. – Depending on your assignment, you should know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. What are the dangers within the environment, where are the closest medical resources in case you run out, and what types of injuries are you likely to run into? Generally you won’t need many of these, but you may.
- Disposable scrubs, belts, and face masks. Ensure to bring a different set of shoes for work and off-work times. Generally, hospitals will require you to wear scrubs, gloves, hairnets, and other necessary nursing gear.
- If you were to take a particularly adventurous assignment, but you may experience a flat tire, recurrent diarrhea, motion or altitude sickness, or lose your passport. Be sure to have copies of all paperwork, supply of emergency medications, emergency credit card, and insurance information all available in case of unexpected circumstances.
- Car repair tools. Not only crowbar, car jack, and spare tire, but also make sure to have extra quarts of oil, antifreeze/coolant, and gasoline reserves available.
This article probably didn’t cover 99% of the supplies a traveling nurse needs, but at very least you should get started to think about things you may need. Like was mentioned before, do not let this list scare you, being a traveling nurse can be the most rewarding occupation a person may have. Your life will be ripe with thousands of nursing opportunities and chances to take, try to experience as many as you can.