10 Safety Tips for Foreign Educated Nurses
Moving to a new country is exciting, especially when moving to the United States. There is so much to do and see and experience. However, it is important to know when to be cautious. Foreign educated nurses (FEN) often travel to the U.S. alone. As an FEN in the U.S. for the first time, it can be easy to get lost. There are several proactive things you can do to protect yourself. Here are 10 safety tips to follow as an FEN.
Use the buddy system
This may sound cliché, but do your best to never travel alone. Whether it is when you are leaving the hospital or going to the movies, try to travel in pairs. As an FEN, you may not know anyone when you first move to the U.S. Ask a coworker to walk to your car with you. Are you staying at a hotel? The front desk or other staff may be happy to accompany you wherever you may need to go. Or you can even call your recruiter whenever you do not feel comfortable and they can provide you with the proper support.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Never be embarrassed or afraid to ask questions. As an FEN, it is understandable not to know social norms in the U.S. It would also make sense not to know your way around town. Ask your recruiter, property manager, hotel front desk, supervisor, or even your local coffee shop barista how to get where you need to go. If you do not feel comfortable asking a person your question, try asking SIRI or Google.
Some cities are safer than others, but it is always recommended to lock up. Lock your apartment. Lock your car. Lock your work or gym locker. Often thieves will walk down streets testing car doors to see if they are open. They will try to steal anything that is visible. The same applies to technology. Password protect your phone and your computer. And be wary of people trying to look over your shoulder at your sensitive information.
Learn your surroundings during the daytime
You are less likely to get lost at night if you learn your surroundings during the daylight hours. Drive around town to your new local grocery store, shopping mall, medical facility, movie theater, and more. Your new surroundings will look vastly different at night so do your best to orient yourself during the day. Also, GPS is a great tool, but do not solely rely on it. Your phone may die or you may not have service.
Invest in emergency assistance like AAA
Being stuck with a flat tire on a highway or rural road is never fun and can often be dangerous. If you can, invest in an emergency or roadside service program like AAA (triple A). As an FEN, ask your recruiter or employer if they can reimburse you for signing up for the program. AAA will be there to help you change a tire or tow your car. Also, never get out of your car on the road if you do not feel like it is safe. You can tell AAA if you do not feel safe and they can also send a police offer to your area.
Always park in a well-lit area
This may not always be an option, but if possible, park in a well-lit area. If you can, park in a spot where someone inside the building can see you and your car. Criminals are less likely to steal from a car if parked in a well-lit area. Also, it is easier for security cameras to spot you when parked in these higher lit spots.
Let someone know where you are ahead of time
Whether it is a friend, family member, co-worker, or recruiter, it is recommended to give someone your itinerary before heading out. Give this person your flight information, travel times, origin information, and destination. Plan times for you to check in or for them to call you. You can also share your location using the Find My Friends feature on your phone.
Pack an emergency car kit
This tip is especially important if you are working as an FEN in a rural community. In these areas, locations may be miles apart and down low-lit dirt roads. Your emergency kid may include a car charger and/or back up phone battery, first aid kit, flashlight, reflective warning signs, blankets, non-perishable food like protein bars, and most importantly, drinking water.
Watch out for scams
Unfortunately it can be easy to fall for a scam, both in person or online. Be vigilant for these scams and do your best not to fall for them. One example is taxi ripoffs. Taxi drivers occasionally will take advantage for foreign travelers because they do not know where they are or where they going. Negotiate the fare ahead of time or call your hotel or apartment complex and ask how much your fare should cost. Never click on links in emails from people you do not recognize and never give anyone your personal information like a social security or passport number. You may also find people on the street trying to rip you off. You can always call the police if you feel like you are being scammed.
Travel with two forms of payment
Foreign educated nurses in the U.S. may find their credit cards being frozen as the bank may think it is being used suspiciously. Make sure to carry cash, but never too much cash. You should not carry more than $20-$50 at a time. Also, try to keep your cash and your credits separate from each other. If you do not want to carry cash, you can also carry checks though many places now will not take a check.
Let us be your safety guide!
Recruiters with MedPro International are ready to make sure you are safe and happy in the U.S. From help with the immigration process to help with housing for FEN, MedPro International is here for you! Contact us today.