Staying Safe While on a Healthcare Travel Assignment

by Howard Gerber on September 19, 2013

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travel healthcare safety You might not like to think about it, but crime can happen anywhere. When you are starting a new healthcare travel assignment, you’re likely thinking about whether you will like your job and new coworkers. But is it also important to consider some practical things, such as maintaining your personal safety. 

Safety at Home

Being away from home and in a new environment both on the job and where you live means a little extra diligence with your personal safety. It also may present a few new challenges. For example, certain parts of your new city may have higher crime rates than where you are from. Knowing which parts of town are considered to have high crime is something you should be aware of.  Usually crime statistics can be found online or through the police department.

Before you move into your new living arrangements, ask about security. Find out if the community is gated, if there is a courtesy patrol or if your new place has an alarm system. Consider introducing yourself to a few neighbors. Knowing your neighbors may help increase the chances they will keep an eye on suspicion activity around your home.

Safety at Work

Not only do you need to keep safety in mind in your new place, but it’s important to stay safe at work. For example, if you will be parking your car at work, find out what employee parking areas are safe and routinely patrolled. Ask if the parking lot has cameras.

Patients and visitors can become aggressive and even violent in some instances.  If you will be working in a psychiatric unit or the emergency room, you are at an even higher risk of a potentially dangerous situation. Be sure you know what the procedures are for dealing with a combative or aggressive patient.

Know how to call security in your new place of employment. Additionally, know what code to call for help with an aggressive patient or family member. Utilize security when needed. Remember, that is what they are there for. Don’t be afraid to call for assistance with a situation or for an escort to your car when walking to or from the parking lot.

If a workplace violence prevention program is offered at your new job, consider taking it. Although programs may vary information, such as hospital techniques for restraining patients and hospital safety policies and procedures may be taught. In addition, instruction on how to predict aggressive behavior in patients and methods to diffuse aggressive situations may also be part of a workplace violence prevention program.

Although you don’t want to be paranoid, being aware of potentially dangerous situations at both your new home and at work is important. Remember to follow your regular safety precautions, such as being aware of your surroundings and locking doors and windows. Above all, trust your gut. If a situation seem off or a person makes you feel uncomfortable, trust your instincts. Remove yourself from the situation, get assistance and report suspicious behavior.

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