The holiday season sees spikes in emergency room traffic every year, which means more doctors are needed at more facilities across the country. Luckily, locum tenens physicians can help remedy this increased need by being available to work in areas that require coverage most.
If you are a locum tenens physician traveling this holiday season: thank you! Your services are in great demand and your time and skills are incredibly valuable. However, in order to provide the highest level of care to your patients, it’s important to keep yourself safe and healthy while traveling to and from assignments.
Whether you’re hitting the road or taking flight, follow these simple tips to help you stay safe while traveling this holiday season.
The average drive-time to an assignment is three hours and depending on where you live can mean going from mild to frigid weather in just a few hours. Always check the forecast and road conditions ahead of time so you can be aware of any hazards like snow or ice or possible slow-downs due to traffic accidents. If you are driving your own vehicle, make sure maintenance is up to date and have a qualified mechanic check the car’s vitals like brakes, battery, fluid levels, and tire pressure before you begin your journey.
A good navigation system is a must have. In addition to added holiday traffic and dangerous road conditions, the last thing you want to be doing is fidgeting with a cell phone or map on an unfamiliar road. Opt for a hands-free GPS system or cell phone stand on your dashboard to eliminate distractions and allow for safer driving. If possible, map out your route ahead of time.
According to the National Safety Council, it’s always a good idea to keep the number of a road-side assistance program handy as well as an emergency kit should a mishap arise. Useful items to include in your kit are: jumper cables, first-aid kit, flashlight, blankets, drinking water, non-perishable snacks and an ice scraper. If an emergency occurs, contacted the necessary authorities first, and then let your recruiter know what has happened so they can make the facility aware.
And this time of year, be especially vigilant for drivers under the influence. As physicians, you know the dangers of driving while intoxicated. Make sure you arrive alive both to your assignment and back home by avoiding alcohol if you’ll be driving, and knowing the signs of impaired drivers on the road. Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) offers the following list of signs of drunk drivers.
Survive Crowded Airports
As a locum tenens physician, you are probably very familiar with the ins and outs of air travel, however, during the holidays, you can expect a number of other less frequent travelers who may not be as savvy. Allow extra time to get through security and keep identifying information like your passport, driver’s license, and
boarding pass handy to keep the process as simple as possible. Sign-up for TSA Pre-Check to make things even easier by avoiding the long lines. All it takes is a simple online application process and quick in-person appointment at a TSA office in the airport. Once approved, you can say hello to shorter screening lines for the next five years. Learn more about TSA Pre-Check, here.
Overly crowded airports during the holidays are also perfect spots for criminals to strike. Avoid using backpacks as your carry-on and instead opt for a zippered cross body or top-handle bag. Make sure your belongings are always in your line of sight and avoid flaunting expensive electronics and other valuable items that may make you a target.