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5 Easy Ways to Succeed in Cold Weather Assignments

From sub-zero temperatures to heavy snow, cold weather assignments can be challenging. However, that’s no reason not to take one. Wintry climates can offer so many fun experiences, like snowboarding and ice-skating. As long as you’re prepared, you can make the most of your winter contract. That’s why we compiled these 5 easy ways to succeed in cold weather assignments.

1. Invest in warm clothes

With freezing temperatures, it’s important to know how to dress for outside, even if you’re just walking into and out of work. First, invest in the basics you’re going to need: gloves, a winter coat, insulated boots, and wool socks and hats. If you’re coming from a warmer state, it might be hard to find a few of these clothing items. You can always search online stores like Amazon, or wait and purchase these items when you get to your assignment. Either way, prepare to invest in quality items to keep you warm.

If you’re finding it hard to adjust to the colder climate with just your clothing, you can also buy hand and toe warmers for an extra oomph!

2. Prepare Your Car

In cold weather, your car can have it’s engine freeze up, doors freeze shut, and windows freeze over. To help you avoid these problems and other winter-related issues, here are a few things you can do to prepare your car for your cold assignment.

Check your tires

With icy road conditions, it’s important to start at the base of your car. Make sure your tire tread depth is at least 4/32-inches to help you increase your stability on wet roads. If your tires are wearing thin, you can easily replace them with new, or snow-specific ones. While you’re at it, check your tire pressure as well.

Lubricate your car

With freezing temperatures, important parts of your vehicle can start to corrode. To counteract the weather, use dry Teflon spray, spray lithium grease, a rag and glass cleaner. Lubricate your weather stripping, window channels, door locks, latches, and hinges. Making sure these items are lubricated before a freeze can help you prevent getting locked out of your car and avoid a busted regulator.

Battery maintenance

The last thing you want during the winter is to be stranded on the side of the road – so check your battery before you leave for your assignment. You can test your battery for free at a local automotive store like AutoZone, or use a computerized battery tester. Furthermore, you should make sure you clean the battery terminal posts so you can easily recharge your battery if needed.

Before you drive

In the winter, it’s important that you run your car for at least 3 minutes before you drive. This allows the transmission to warm up, and help the necessary fluids start flowing. However, do not leave your vehicle running while in a garage. Even with the garage door up, this could cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

While your car is warming up, take the time to scrape your windows, and knock the snow off of your headlights and break lights, and off the top of your car. This prevents the snow from flying off into other cars’ windshields, and keeps it off your own as well.

3. Create a survival kit

The National Weather Service suggests you prepare for cold weather by having an updated car survival kit. They mention including items such as:

  • Jumper Cables
  • Flashlights
  • First Aid Kit
  • Water
  • Cat litter / Sand
  • Non-perishable food
  • A blanket
  • Shovel
  • Ice scraper
  • Extra clothes
  • Portable phone charger

4. Drive cautiously

If you’ve never done it before, driving in cold weather can take some getting used to. To help keep you as safe as possible while driving in the snow, AAA recommends these tips:

  • Try not to stop, especially when driving uphill
  • Follow at a distance around 5 to 6 seconds or more
  • Drive cautiously, accelerating and decelerating slowly
  • Avoid using cruise control
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full

What to do if you get stuck

If you happen to get caught in snow or other bad weather, move your car safely out of the road and call for help. In the meantime, stay with your car for both shelter and safety purposes. To help your car remain visible, you can try tying a bright colored piece of cloth to your vehicle’s antennae.

Check your surroundings and see what is possible for you to do. If you can dig yourself out with a shovel (thanks survival kit!) then do so cautiously. Try not to over exert yourself. Furthermore, make sure to check your exhaust pipe. It’s important that it remains unblocked to prevent carbon monoxide buildup in your car.

Lastly, stay warm. You should only run the heater long enough to remove immediate chill so you can conserve your fuel. Instead, use what you can to keep your body protected from the cold, whether it’s pre-packed blankets or floor mats.

4. Watch the weather

When dealing with cold temperatures, you never know if you’ll have an intense freeze, heavy snow, or hail. If possible, when weather conditions are poor, stay home. However, we know as nurses, this isn’t always an option. So, it’s important to watch the weather to keep yourself safe. Whether it’s knowing you need to leave extra early for work or to double up on gloves for your skiing adventure, being prepared is key to succeeding in your winter assignment.

5. Make a “Stuck Bag”

Sometimes, thanks to a winter storm here and there, you may find yourself stuck at work. To help you feel more in-control and organized in these crazy situations, we recommend packing a “stuck bag” filled with necessities. When on assignment, Ethos’s Chief Nursing Officer, Lindsey Stoner, liked to plan ahead by keeping a phone charger and toothbrush in her bag. Other helpful items might be an extra jacket, snacks, face wipes, and hair ties.

Dealing with winter weather can be challenging, especially if you’re new to snow and ice. However, if you follow these 5 easy ways to succeed in your cold weather assignments, you’re sure to have a great experience.

Whether you’re wanting to embrace the cold or fly south for the winter, Ethos Medical Staffing can find you the perfect assignment. Wherever you want to go, your path is our purpose. Call us today at 1-877-ETHOS-RN or contact us online.



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