Currently, the entirety of the United States is being affected by the coronavirus. While many places of work are shutting down, healthcare practices are remaining open. As a traveling nurse, you put yourself at risk each day that you travel or work due to exposure to COVID-19. There are many steps that a traveling nurse can take to stay healthy during this troubling time.
What is Coronavirus?
The SARS-CoV-2 virus is what causes COVID-19. The coronavirus has rapidly spread across the world, including the United States. There are over 3,000 cases of COVID-19 in the United States with 68 total deaths. 205 of these cases are due to travel-related exposure. As a travel nurse, you are not only putting yourself at risk with potential coronavirus patients but with the traveling you do.
How the Coronavirus Spreads
Understanding how coronavirus spreads can greatly help anyone, especially a travel nurse. The most common way the coronavirus spreads is by close contact with infected people (who are within 6 feet together). When an infected person coughs or sneezes, they project droplets into the air that can come into contact with nearby persons. These droplets can also survive on surfaces and objects for quite some time.
Currently, many agree that COVID-19 is being spread to doctors and nurses through aerosols (droplets filled with the virus). Evidence of fecal-oral transmission is also coming up, meaning that it is possible to consume the virus from unwashed hands or from contaminated food or water. Obviously, this is a scary time to work in healthcare, but fortunately, it is possible to keep yourself safe from the virus.
Hand Hygiene & Social Distancing
Practicing good hand hygiene is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus. As a traveling nurse, you will come into contact with many patients and surfaces that could potentially hold the virus. If you practice hand hygiene consistently, you will be helping prevent yourself from contracting coronavirus. When you wash your hands, you should be doing so for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol can also be helpful, but this does not mean that it is a good replacement for washing your hands.
Many are being advised to socially distance themselves from others. You might think this is impossible in your profession, but there are still precautions you can take. Obviously, you will be required to work closely with patients. If a patient potentially has coronavirus, your current place of work will follow a particular set of precautions. Outside of work and during travel, you should avoid large crowds, if possible.
What to Do If You Think You Have Coronavirus
The most common symptoms of coronavirus are fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath. If you think you have come into contact with someone with coronavirus, you should closely monitor your health for 14 days while keeping your distance from others. Furthermore, if your symptoms worsen, you should isolate yourself at your temporary place of living. If things worsen (or for medical advice), contact a healthcare provider in the area.
Travel Nursing Jobs
If you are interested in work as a travel nurse, you are in luck! Travel nurses are currently in high demand. With New Directions Staffing, you will receive amazing benefits and compensation, your pick of assignments nationwide, and access to our large library of resources. With New Directions Staffing, you will never have to be alone. We offer support to each of our travel nurses. For more information or to submit your resume, visit our website.