You’ve chosen your next assignment and it is going to be cold. Are you a fan of the winter? Do you dream of hitting the slopes on your days off? Cold weather travel nurse assignments aren’t for everyone. Whether you grew up in a cold weather climate or it is your first time experiencing snow and ice, we’re sure you will make the most of it. In this article, we will discuss tips for a winter assignment including what to wear, what to ask your recruiter, and preparing your pets.
Preparing for a Cold Weather Travel Assignment
If you’re used to the cold weather, then your research may be less than someone coming from a milder climate like Phoenix or Southern California. Either way, take time to find out what the weather is like for your 13-week assignment. Alaska in the winter means darkness most of the day but Denver might mean snow in the morning and sun in the afternoon. We want you, your pets, home, and vehicle to be safe and ready for whatever may come your way!
Clothing for your cold weather assignment should include a variety of jackets, boots, gloves, hats, and scarves. Our friends in colder climates have a variety of jackets they wear – windbreakers, fleece, wool, and goose down. You may also want flannel shirts and flannel-lined pants, gloves, and waterproof boots for the coldest of days. Wool socks, hats, and gloves along with a good pair of leather driving gloves should round out the winter weather gear. Keep an extra set with you for snowy days so you can layer or change if you get wet shoveling or cleaning the car.
Speaking of your car, we recommend checking with your trusted mechanic to find out what is best in terms of winter-friendly tires, windshield wipers, and snow chains. When the weather gets snowy and icy, you will be grateful to have the proper equipment for your vehicle. Also add blankets, ice scraper, freeze proof windshield wiper fluid, shovel, and an emergency kit in your car. Even if you’re just commuting from work to home, you may find yourself in need of these items.
It is important to start your car a few minutes prior to leaving. Not only will it run better and be warm for your commute, but you will also make sure you can get into your locked vehicle. On the coldest of days, you may need to de-ice the lock before you can even start the car. Warming the key with hot water or putting rubbing alcohol on the key will melt ice to loosen the lock.
Another reason to leave early is that you will need to allow extra drive time, especially when it is snowy and icy. If you’re moving to a colder climate in the fall, keep in mind that fallen leaves plus rain are as dangerous and slippery as black ice so exercise similar caution. Whether freezing rain, ice, or snow, drive slowly and carefully, using lights and turn signals.
The winter can be tricky because it may snow one day and be warm the next. You may think the snow has melted but when the temperature drops again in the evening, there could be a layer of black ice on the road. Keep in mind there is a difference between when it snows and when it is freezing or below freezing. Just because it is cold and the roads are clear, doesn’t mean you can drive like it is a warm day. You and your car will need extra time to be prepared.
When you speak to your Recruiter about your cold weather travel assignment, we encourage you to ask questions not only about the facility and the community but also about the housing accommodations. You may need extra blankets, sweatshirts, and socks to stay warm indoors on the coldest of days.
In our article Making the Best of a Travel Assignment With Your Pet, we discuss what to do before, during, and while on assignment. It’s more than just putting a pet in the car and driving to your next location, especially if you’re heading to a cold-weather climate. In addition to the paperwork from the vet, you may need to buy extra blankets or jackets for your dog. Keep in mind some breeds do better than others in cooler temperatures and may not need an extra layer. Either way, they, like you, need time to adjust to their new surroundings.
As you’re preparing for a cold-weather travel assignment, we recommend talking to your recruiter and researching the area, so you’re prepared!