A natural disaster or a tragedy can strike at any time. But certain locations may be more prone to these types of destructive events than others. For travelers working on assignments in a location where such incidents occur frequently, it pays to be prepared.
If a crisis were to strike, would you know what to do?
Today, we’ll discuss answers to the most frequently asked questions from Host Healthcare travelers impacted by a natural disaster while on assignment and how our team can provide support during these critical times.
Prior to a Natural Disaster
While some disasters may come out of the blue, others may happen seasonally or periodically due to a place’s physical, geographical, and climatic conditions. Although you can’t do anything to stop such an event from happening, you can prepare for any scenario with these pre-disaster questions (and answers).
#1 A Natural Disaster Is Expected to Impact My Area Soon. Am I Expected to Work My Shift if I Feel Unsafe?
If you are a healthcare traveler and find yourself caught in the midst of a natural disaster, we understand that your safety and well-being are of the utmost importance. As such, we want to reassure you that your safety comes first and you are not expected to work if you feel unsafe.
In the event of an emergency, we encourage you to contact your travel nurse recruiter immediately to discuss the situation and determine the best course of action. They can assist you in making decisions that prioritize your safety while also considering the needs of the healthcare facility you are working for.
If you feel that it is safe to work, we ask that you follow the facility’s emergency protocols as well as any guidelines provided by the county and state authorities. Your recruiter can provide you with additional guidance and support should you need it.
#2 I Had to Call Out from My Facility to Prepare My Permanent Home for a Natural Disaster. Do I Need to Submit Anything to Host Healthcare?
Natural disasters can be unpredictable and can require you to take swift action to protect your personal property and loved ones. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to call out from your healthcare facility to prepare for a natural disaster, we want to support you in any way we can.
Start by directly alerting your manager of the situation to notify them of your missed shift as far in advance as possible. In addition, please contact your recruiter to let them know. It’s important to note that while your recruiter can’t notify your facility of your absence, they can assist you with any documentation or paperwork that you may need to submit. They can also help you navigate any policies or procedures that your facility may have in place for situations like this.
During a Natural Disaster
Whether in the form of a hurricane, flash flood, or anything in between, disaster has officially hit. Here’s what to consider and how to act and handle natural disaster management while you’re in the thick of it.
#3 I Heard a News Report That My Facility Is Closing Due to a Natural Disaster. Should I Still Report to My Facility as Scheduled?
If you have questions about your shift or when you’ll be scheduled to work again, please reach out directly to your manager for updates. Since every facility will handle natural disaster events differently, use your recruiter as a resource for facility updates, protocol, or additional direction.
#4 My Facility Canceled My Contract Due to a Natural Disaster. Will I Still Be Paid?
You’ll be paid for the hours you worked at the facility. If your contract is canceled due to an emergency or a natural disaster, rest assured knowing that your recruiter will help you find a new travel job as soon as possible.
#5 My Facility Required Me to Work on Their Disaster Response Team Overnight. How Do I Report That on My Timecard?
You’ll be compensated for the hours you worked in accordance with your time card. Be sure to document all hours, then review your contract with your recruiter to determine if it includes an increased crisis rate.
Post Natural Disaster
When you’re in recovery mode after a natural disaster, Host Healthcare will be there to support you. Here’s what you should know while you get back on your feet.
#6 My Temporary Housing Was Damaged Due to a Natural Disaster, and I Now Have No Place to Stay for My Assignment. What Should I Do?
In the event of displacement, speak with your recruiter as soon as possible. They’ll contact the housing department and work with you to find available housing that hasn’t been impacted by the event.
How to Stay Prepared
Beyond understanding what implications a natural disaster might have on your shifts and housing while on assignment, there are a couple of other ways you can ensure you—and those around you—remain supported in the event of an emergency:
- Pack an emergency supply kit – While you may not be able to travel with a large supply of gear, you should at least have a personal emergency kit readily available so that you can step in to help—whether you’ve been caught in an extended power outage or loss of transportation. If possible, you should consider tailoring the specific essentials to the region and its known disasters. However, it should at least include the following items:
- First-aid kit with bandages, gauze, adhesive tape, and sutures
- Fresh water for drinking and sanitation
- Non-perishable food
- Flashlight with batteries
- N95 respirator mask
- Charged power bank
- Fresh clothes, blankets, and scrubs
- Hand sanitizers and soaps
- Partner with a trusted travel nursing agency – When looking for assignments, travel nurses and healthcare professionals should be judicious about who they partner with. One of the major factors in this selection process should be how the staffing agency supports and protects nurses who are out on assignment when a natural disaster or emergency occurs.
At Host Healthcare, we understand the importance of being there for our travel nurses when they need us the most. That’s why we have a dedicated support team that is available to our nurses 24/7 via multiple communication channels, including:
- Live chat
- Phone call
Host Healthcare—Supporting Our Travel Nurses Through the Good and Bad
As a travel nurse, every assignment offers new opportunities for growth and adventure. But with new experiences also come new challenges, including the potential for natural disasters or emergency situations.
At Host Healthcare, we understand that being prepared for the unexpected is crucial for our nurses’ safety and well-being. That’s why we prioritize emergency preparedness and provide our nurses with the resources and support they need to navigate any situation.
If you’re looking for a travel nursing agency that truly values your safety and well-being, we invite you to join our community of travelers today. Experience the Host Healthcare difference and embark on your next adventure with confidence.
Gebbie, Kristine M. DrPH, RN, FAAN. “Emergency and Disaster Preparedness: Core Competencies for Nurses
What every nurse should but may not know.” American Nursing Journal. 102(1):p 46-51, January 2002. https://journals.lww.com/ajnonline/Fulltext/2002/01000/Emergency_and_Disaster_Preparedness__Core.23.aspx