The weather in the Midwest is very unpredictable. This winter in Indiana we are experiencing a Polar Vortex and we are seeing temperatures as low as -20 and that doesn’t even take into consideration the windchill. We have put together some tips for travel nurses while on assignment in cold locations. Here is A Midwesterner’s Guide to Travel Nursing in Cold Assignment Locations.
Staying Warm- Tips on Dressing for the Weather
- Double up, maybe even triple up the socks
- Get insulated, waterproof boots. No rubber boots because they will lock in the cold!
- Get a Longer coat, slightly bigger so you can add layers upon layers under it. If you’re worried about lugging it around all year, try finding a “packable” one that you can roll up in the spring. I highly suggest longer coats because it covers most of your body. Need some coat suggestions? Here are what some of are travel nurse network users wear.
- Invest in warm insulated gloves, not the $1 section cotton gloves.
- Scarves are necessary for keeping snow drifts out of your face
- Stock up on hand warmers and feet warmers.
- Hot coffee, Hot coffee, Hot Coffee.
Driving- Preparing your car for travel
- First of all, heat up your car 10 minutes before you leave. This give it enough time to defrost a bit or else invest in a window scraper. Basically every gas station in the Midwest sells them all year long. If you don’t have a scraper, beware of what you use to brush off a car. Do not recommend a shovel…
- Also, if you’re not parking in a garage and don’t fully wipe all the snow off your car, all that snow will land in your front seat. Not fun to sit on!
- NOAA recommends having the following in your Car Survival Kit;
- Jumper Cables- flares and reflective triangles are great as well
- Flashlight- put new batteries in before winter and also, have extras in the car as well
- First Aid Kit- also, have essential medications in your purse as well
- Food- make sure to stock non-perishable food items such as canned food and a can opener. Dry cereal and protein bars are great options as well.
- Water- NOAA suggests having a supply of 1 gallon per person for up to 3 days
- Basic tool kit- Pliers, wrench and a screwdriver
- Radio- battery operated or hand crank
- Cat litter or sand- for better tire traction
- Snow shovel- to dig your car out if needed
- Ice Scraper- even if you park in a garage, have one in your car
- Clothes- make sure you are dressed for the weather. Furthermore, keep a change of clothes in your car as well.
- Warmers- pack extra for body, hands and feet
- Blankets and/or sleeping blankets- if you get stranded due to traffic or on lonely road you will be glad to have them
- Charged Cell Phone- be sure to have a spare charger in your car as well
- Pet Supplies- if you have your pet with you make sure you have food and water for them as well
- Baby or Special Needs Gear- If you have a baby or family member with special needs be sure you have diapers and their formula or special foods.
Pets- how to keep your pets safe during the cold
- BRING OUTDOOR ANIMALS INDOORS- they are not made for these extreme temperatures.
- Limit their time outdoors
- Keep them dry and hydrated – their coats will only protect them from this cold if they are dry for that reason make sure they are staying dry.
- Layer them- Yes, even pets need clothes layered in this weather. Add a coat or two to help keep them warmer.
As travel nurses coming from warmer climates, you may have never experienced winter like this. There will be days that it is 50 degrees and the next 5 degrees. Keeping up to date on the forecast will help you prepare. Being prepared is the biggest key to winter in the Midwest.