Information and advice on how to prepare for traveling to
a work assignment for Doctors, APPs and Nurses.
As you are preparing to run towards the COVID19 fight, you should ensure you are as prepared as you can be. This includes keeping yourself healthy while on assignment, packing appropriately, researching your site and making sure you have stress management tools. This guide will help you pack and think ahead to what you will need for a successful deployment. From bringing your favorite foods, doing laundry and staying sane are topics we aim to cover. Most importantly, we want to encourage the sharing of information with your colleagues who have already been there.
Research your new location
Always research your new location before deployment. Weather, physical access, infrastructure and other factors that will help you decide what you need to bring to make your assignment as comfortable and safe as possible.
Have a good understanding on facility PPE capabilities, volume and acuity, as much as possible in these changing times. Back in medical school we would write a one page guide for new residents coming onto the service, as we were coming off. Consider asking for input from the outgoing crew, in advance.
Ask what they brought and wish they had, how they did laundry, ate meals and things they wish they could change. Share this with the new incoming team as you are rotating out.
What to pack for the assignment?
Different assignments in different environments will need unique considerations. However, this is a list of items that will make you better prepared for the added problems due to the outbreak:
- Travel Documents
- Valid Identification (passport preferred)
- Adequate amount of cash in smaller bills
- Credit cards
- 4 passport photos
- Medical Documents/Supplies
- Current Medications/Supplements
- Immunization record
- Prescription copy of eyeglasses or contacts
- Blood type
- Personal first aid kit
- Prescription meds for expected duration plus 2 weeks
- Medications for allergy, headaches, decongestants
- Lip Balm
- Small scissors
- Small pack of oral rehydration salts or electrolyte powder
- Pocket knife
- Swapping items (pins, badges, stickers, patches)
- Personal first aid kit
- Food for 36 hours (low weight, high energy)
- Non-perishable food: Energy bars, granola bars, jerky, dehydrated food, MREs
- Non-perishable treats: for moral boosting: Hard candies, jerky, dried fruit and nuts
- Drinking water for 36 hours (2-3 liters)
- Caution if carrying these in your airplane carryon bag
- Four changes of clothing
- Baseball or sun hat
- Flip flops
- Spare pair of glasses
- Laundry soap pods or clothes washing powder for 2 washes
- Clothes line
- Communication Devices and Electronics
- Phone (consider redundancy)
- Battery Chargers, wires and peripherals
- Battery packs for recharging
- Solar Battery Pack
- Flashlight with spare batteries
Prepare mentally for the assignment
- Burnout Look after yourself and your team first. Spot signs of burnout in yourself and teammates early. Plan for some time for you to de-stress and get your mind into a happy place. Ask teammates how they are doing and ask often. Be ready to listen. Don’t be afraid to go to your friends and colleagues with your worries.
- Self-Care Take time for yourself to decompress. Stay physically active, stretch, exercise in your room, mediate and talk to your family.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made the importance of proactive safety precautions even more clear. Given the speed of transmission, precautions that manage outbreaks before they happen are absolutely crucial, but doing so requires comprehensive safety precautions that address and mitigate risk for your team. It also requires planning for an outbreak before it happens, putting procedures in place that will let your team mobilize quickly in situations where time is of critical importance.
While it can be easy to take a reactive approach—solving problems as they come up—taking a moment to step back and reevaluate how prepared you really are in terms of preventative and responsive procedures and precautions is a must for all healthcare providers as society continues to navigate COVID-19.
- Travel Health Notices – Center’s for Disease Control and Prevention https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/
- Travel Health Advisory – US Department of State https://travel.state.gov/content/travel.html
- Weather – National Weather Service https://www.weather.gov/
- News and Resources – AB Med Healthcare Solutions
Are you ready for COVID-19?
You are battling a highly communicable virus, one we know little about other than it is making a lot of people sick and killing many. You are running towards danger. You are doing what you are trained to do and have a calling for. You are caring for sick patients in their greatest time of need. Please do not become a patient yourself. Take precautions, wear your PPE, eat healthy, rest, look after each other and watch your stress load.
Sick people need us more than ever. Our skills as clinicians, nurses, techs, directors, leaders and advisors are the prescription to stop this virus. The prescription to keep our communities well. Let’s stick together, share information and remain compassionate. We are the healthcare team. We are the wall.
If you want to create a COVID-19 preparedness plan that is reassuring, accurate, and effective, contact AB Med today. Our experts are here to help!
At AB Med, accuracy is our highest priority, and everything we publish is up-to-date based on research and news at the time of release. However, due to the continually evolving nature of COVID-19, we are aware that available data changes quickly. The available data and recommendations may have changed since this article’s publication. Please check the CDC, WHO, and your local health department for the most current recommendations and news.