Travel Nurses Prepare for Flu Season

Flu- season- ahead- sign

It’s that time of year again when the flu begins to show up at work, home and school.  As a Travel Nurse, it is important to stay as healthy as you can beginning in the fall and into winter months. If you can’t work you can’t get paid so it is important to do all you can to prevent getting the flu.

As a healthcare professional you may find yourself working in a facility surrounded by patients with the flu.  Staying well will ensure you are able to provide high-quality care.

Try these tips to maintain your health while on assignment.

Get your flu shot:

The CDC recommends the flu vaccine as the number one way to prevent flu infection and transmission. Most hospitals now require you have a flu shot.  Nurses who refuse the shot are then required to wear a mask while working with a patient.  This requirement is for patient and nurse safety.

Eat healthily:

As a nurse, you know how hard it is to eat well and get enough sleep.  Especially at work when you may not get meal breaks and you snack to keep going.  Good nutrition helps your immune system function at maximum capacity. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fish, whole grains and low-fat dairy. Drink plenty of water.

Get enough sleep when off duty:

Have a goal of getting enough sleep every night.  Rest and sleep help your immune system stay in top working order. It is recommended to get six to eight hours, but everyone is different. Listen to your body and go to sleep when you’re tired.

Exercise regularly:

Regular exercise will help you sleep well at night.  If you can only walk for 30 minutes several days a week that will help your cardio.  Keeping yourself healthy with regular exercise will add to the health of your immune system.

Wash your hands:

As a nurse how many times a day do you wash your hands?  As nurses, we recognize the importance of good hand washing habits.  Help yourself stay healthy and minimize germ transfer to your patients by washing your hands regularly. Do so after a cough, sneeze or touch any “high-traffic” areas, such as doorknobs, medical charts or department phones. Never touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.

Conceal a cough or sneeze:

Cover when you cough. Most people cough into their elbow. Use a tissue, your sleeve or hand if necessary.  Use hand sanitizer or wash your hands after a cough or sneeze.

Stay home when sick:

Going to work when you’re not well is not fair to your patients or your co-workers.  If you feel you can’t leave your caseload to your co-workers you can bet they would rather carry the load than become sick from you working with the flu.  It’s not fair to expose your fellow nurses or patients to cold or flu germs.

Check with your nursing recruiter regarding the procedure for calling in sick.  Make sure to have a list of important contact numbers so you’re prepared in case you fall ill.

SimplyHired has a list of positions for travel nurses looking to work in a flu clinic.

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Cheryl Roby, RN

Cheryl J. Roby is a Registered Nurse and retired US Army Reserve Nurse Major. She has more than 30 years of nursing experience and 26 years of military experience in the Army Nurse Corp. During her nursing career, she has traveled as part of her military experience visiting many of the 50 states and to South Korea. She was trained as an Army Medic during the Vietnam era and later as an OR tec. She went on to become a Licensed Practical Nurse and then completed her nursing training as a Registered Nurse. She was then commissioned as an officer in the Army Reserves. She appreciated the challenge of working in various specialties and expanding her clinical and professional skill sets. Her time in the Army Reserves and California National Guard gave her the opportunity to travel to most of the 50 states and work in other medical facilities. During her career, she had the opportunity to work in several specialties to include, OR, Occupational Health, Hospice, Sexual Assault Team, Forensic/ Correctional Nurse, Nurse Case Manager for developmental disabilities, Parish Nursing as well as a Nurse Entrepreneur.

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