This article provided by TaleMed
Nurses are on the front lines every day, taking care of our communities. With that responsibility comes the increased risk of infection, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As you take COVID-19 precautions at work, it’s important to protect your family members some of whom may be elderly or immunocompromised ― when you come home.
Taking COVID-19 Precautions at Home
Your facility’s COVID-19 precautions are designed to protect you from exposure at work and keep you healthy. At the same time, you can take additional safety measures to reduce the risk of bringing the virus home with you.
TaleMed Clinical Director Susan Abbott, RN, said she understands there are a lot of things about this crisis that are not ideal, but as a healthcare professional, you do your best to control what you can.
“We know that we’re always at risk of contracting a virus or infectious disease, at any time. That’s why we take precautions and follow our training and protocols,” she said.
Susan recommends planning your clothing in advance.
“I would take a clean change of clothes to work in a large Ziplock bag. Plus, I would leave a second large empty Ziplock bag in my car,” she said. “At the end of the shift, I would change into the clean clothes from my Ziplock bag then place my dirty uniform into that now empty Ziplock bag. Also, I would avoid placing anything I wore during my shift into my locker, thus, keeping my locker ‘clean.’ ”
Susan said she would often wait to change her shoes until she got back to her car. Then she would put her hospital shoes into the large empty Ziplock bag, put on another pair of shoes, and place the sealed Ziplock bag with the hospital shoes, into the trunk. Her shoes remained in the Ziplock bag in the trunk until the next day of work.
“When I got home, I’d throw my shift clothes or scrubs into the laundry, and I’d take a shower,” she said. “It never hurts to be cautious, and the goal is to minimize the chance of spreading the virus.”
The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) recommends the following additional tips:
- Separate your living spaces among family members and use different bathrooms during the pandemic.
- Follow all surface sanitizing recommendations. We know that you’re fatigued after your shift, so we recommend picking another member of your household to handle this important daily chore.
- Ask all your family members to wash hands thoroughly and often, according to best hygiene practices.
“A little extra care can go a long way in protecting yourself and your family,” Susan said. “Even nurses who aren’t working in COVID-19 units should be cautious and practice good hygiene. Take the extra time to take care of yourself ― and stay healthy.”
By following these tips, you won’t eliminate the potential for COVID-19, but you have done your due diligence to reduce the chances of contracting the virus.
Request COVID-19 Priority Testing
If you or a family member experiences symptoms, we also highly recommend that you get tested. Healthcare professionals and their family members should receive priority for testing from your hospital or local health department.
When deciding which travel company to travel with, make sure you know the company’s policies related to time spent in quarantine from work due to a facility-related exposure. Policies on how travel nurses are paid during a quarantine can vary. In addition, ask about sick leave policies, and if you’re traveling with a loved one about policies for time off or if you have to care for a sick family member. Sick leave and paid time off policies can affect your travel assignment.
At TaleMed, we believe in taking care of our healthcare professionals, so they can focus on taking care of patients. Do what you need to stay healthy and keep your family healthy and ask questions about how your travel company will support you if you are exposed to COVID-19.
If you’re looking for a trusted travel partner who will treat you like you’re a part of the family, learn more about TaleMed’s travel opportunities and our COVID-19 Action Plan.
Are you looking for more COVID-19 articles or resources? Click here for our COVID-19 article page.