Nurses on the Road: How to Prepare for Bad Weather

April 05, 2022

Jamal Ali


Photo of a stethoscope lying against an image of a cloudy sky

Weather, to traveling healthcare professionals, can have a big effect on day-to-day work. If you’re a traveling nurse or caregiver working with homebound patients, you are likely on the road a lot. Not only do you need to plan where you stop for bathroom breaks, but you also think about if the lunch you brought will freeze in the car or if your water will get too warm. The road warriors of healthcare need to plan ahead and stay safe, for your sake and the sake of your patients.

When snowstorms or torrential rain covers the streets, driving becomes treacherous. For those who work in fields like home health and hospice, driving can be half of the total day. Traveling staff need to be prepared, not just for the road conditions but for weather-related emergencies or unknowns.

Everyone should have basic emergency supplies in their vehicle. Flashlights, reflective tape, water and a space blanket are some easy-to-find items that can be bought for under $20 on Amazon. They’ll give you a measure of peace of mind for the journey ahead. If you work in a rural setting, ensure someone knows your route and check in frequently with the office or a fellow nurse.

Here are some other safe driving tips:

  1. Take your time: You can’t help your patients if you’re injured.
  2. Check your tire tread each major season change. Many tire companies will inspect for free. While your there, check the battery as well.
  3. Stay above half a tank of gas in extreme hot or cold. You may need to stay in a running car for an extended period of time.
  4. Be aware of deep water, which can cause hydroplaning. Remember to turn your steering wheel in the direction you want to go.

Another big danger comes with driving in unfamiliar territory. If you don’t know the area, there will be a temptation to check the map or your phone while driving. Make sure you pull over first before consulting navigation.

If caring for your patients means a lot of driving, take care of yourself when getting from point A to point B. Don’t underestimate the weather and the trouble it can cause. Make sure you are prepared. After all, you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of your patients.

One thing you won’t need to travel for is American College of Education’s online nursing programs. See how you can advance your career without traveling far from home.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of American College of Education.
Jamal Ali
Jamal Ali, MSN

Jamal is a Registered Nurse and the director of healthcare services for Briarwood Home Health and Interim Hospice. He is pursuing his master's in nursing from ACE, with a focus in nursing administration.

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