How to get to work in a snowstorm? - page 6

Hi. I was wondering what your hospitals policy is on snowdays? Ours doesn't have one and I live 1 1/2 hours from work. The highway was actually closed and I was still expected to come in?... Read More

  1. by   vamedic4
    Quote from AfloydRN
    Hi. I was wondering what your hospitals policy is on snowdays? Ours doesn't have one and I live 1 1/2 hours from work. The highway was actually closed and I was still expected to come in?
    If they're truly interested in having you there, they'll send someone to get you...assuming that's even possible.
    We have a few icy days every couple of years here in North Texas, and of course you're expected to be here if you're scheduled..but some people who live in rural areas can't make it for one reason or another. That leaves those of us here to pick up the slack...not a problem really, but it can make for a very long shift.

    If you feel unsafe travelling out in inclement weather the likes you describe, then DON'T do it. Call in as soon as you know you won't make it (at least 2 hours in advance of your shift) and say...you know what? I'm not going to be able to make it because ....

    A few years ago we had a particularly bad ice storm, and only 2 nurses from the day shift made it to work, so many of us stuck it out and worked a shift and a half (20 hours). It happens. You get through it, and you move on. Oh, but you better get some kudos from those administrators who decided not to come in either!!

    I'd call the hospital and tell them "hey, you want me there, find a way to get me there"...even if they have to bring you in in a cab, it's cheaper than a lawsuit from inadequate staffing. That's what they'll do for you here.

    Stay safe, everyone.

    vamedic4
  2. by   softstorms
    O.K. here goes....I lived up north... and in the winter we would get a call that a blizzard was coming and when we came in, we would be expected to stay for 3 days. Bring what you need. If a the end of 3 days, it was still bad, road crews would carry us back home after bringing in new staff. I now live in the south, and we plan the same. I also know that if I was at work and pt. safty was my best concern, I would be there, but if I had children and family that needed me, I would make them my first concern by not commiting myself to the work place first.
  3. by   burn out
    Today we are snowed in..it is the coldest temps so far this century and all schools are closed and roads are still covered. If I had to work today I would feel sick.
  4. by   MomNRN
    It is bitterly cold and snowy here too this morning - once again! Add some ice under that snow as well! Unsafe driving - probably. One of the risks of living in the Midwest.

    It always amazes me that people act surprised and perplexed by our weather. I have lived here for 43 years - it snows folks! It always has, it always will! Have a plan.

    I am glad I don't work with some of you posters. If I did, it sounds like I would be there for a week until the road is cleared and the sun is shining.

    If you don't want to work, don't go. Just don't ask for validation from me. I have a family and obligations also. I am just one of those that feel responsible for taking care of those people who end up in the hospital.

    Can you imagine heading to your ED with a child with a hot appy or a husband having a MI? Sorry we took the day off - too much snow!
  5. by   russ11
    I have been a nurse for 27 years...I have never not been able to get to work because of weather. I rarely call in for any reason. In the last 17 years have only been out only 5 days usually with sick kids. That said here are a few of my experiences. Once I was at the hospital when the snow hit...policy said they could hold us for until next shift arrived. I worked 16 hours ...hospital refused to feed us because the patient cafeteria couldn't figure out how to charge us...patients were giving us food off their trays...worked 24 hours like this until staff revolted and someone called a local radio station that shamed the hospital into feeding us. Worked 16 hours/day for 3 days...we were allowed 8 hour off to sleep and shower ...after 3 days when I was told I could leave the floor I went to my car, put on boots and walked 4.5 miles home. Once EMS brought us into the hospital ...stayed 2 days working 16 hours/day...hospital refused to get us home ...had to pay a cab. Hospital required those who didn't have enough money to sign IOU"s for meals from cafeteria. Once I went in on Friday ahead of the storm and got a hotel room with 3 other nurses (150.00 for 2 days split between 4 of us) Worked 16 hours for 2 days. All Administrators and physicians were reimbursed for the hotel but not nurses. 4 nurses for 2 days for $150.00 seemed like a bargin to me...won't do that again. Once was involved in a wreck with a new car when someone slid into me while coming to work to help out (on my day off ) because people further away couldn't make it in ...car badly damaged...2 weeks in the body shop ...$500.00 deductible...won't do that again either . Ever notice that nurses are expected to be on the job but ...all "non essential personnel" are not expected to come ie, laundry, housekeeping, secretaries, operators... are exempt. Often Administrators are not even required to come...they should be required to come and pick up the slack for all the non-essential people they have allowed to stay home...answering phones , getting laundry , passing meal trays.....after all if we don't need them then why do we hire them... For me these are all lessons learned...I will probably still continue to come but I expect the hospital not taking good care of me while I am there... Our administration learned the hard way that if you need to treat staff well because it snows every year and if you don't take care of your staff they won't make the effort to come in ....lkast year administration was in cooking breakfast and putting pizza on the corporate credit card (they struck a deal with local Papa Johns). I have learned "you get what you settle for" They expect me to come.I expect to have plenty of food, supplies, and someone besides me to answer the phone...I also expect the folks that make the big decisions and the big bucks to be on the sinking ship with me.

    My plan: I keep blankets, boots, bottled water and plenty of snack food in my car. I pack an overnight bag with shampoo, hairdryer, clothes as well as extra scrubs. If they pick me up I get the name of the administrator who is going to see that I get home. I work in the ER...there is nothing I can't or won't do. I let them know I am always available for staffing issues but if it is not safe to drive, they have to get me there , feed me and get me home...this is non negotiable. And for the record, you can not be fired for abandonment if you have not assumed the care of the patient.
  6. by   traumaRUs
    I currently live in IL but have lived in the interior of Alaska too. At any rate, the weather folks are getting really good. If I'm scheduled to work, I go in ahead of the storm if possible.

    In Dec, we had 14 inches of snowfall during the night. I started out two hours early (it usually takes me 45 minutes to get to work), had plenty of blankets, water, cell phone, some munchies in my car and off I went. Yes, I made it (with 30 minutes to spare). It was very hard, but I went slow and did it. This is only the latest little experience.

    This is what you do when you live in places where there is snow. If I lived in Florida, I would plan for hurricanes. Nursing is all about being prepared. My husband is now a school teacher but for 23 years was in the Air Force. He would have been the laughing stock of the entire unit if he had said he couldn't get to work because of the weather.

    I do agree that you don't put yourself in danger. However, I drive an AWD vehicle, keep it maintained and am very careful. I also live in a rural area so help is not always readily available. Its all about planning.
  7. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Quote from traumaRUs
    Its all about planning.

    Bottom line. Plan ahead. Weather reports give us a pretty good idea what is to come. We can plan for these things and have a contingency ready in these cases.
  8. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Nobody is calling anyone a "bad" employee here. All I see are folks saying to plan for bad weather (esp if you live in places where it snows, ices up or other foul possibilities) and plan ahead. I live in an earthquake and tsunami zone. You can't predict those, yet they (our employers) still ask us to have a plan for if/when they occur. They also conduct telephone drills on and off to check availability of employees in the case of an unpredictable disaster. Snow/ice storms and other weather tend to be predictable disasters. Most of the time, we have warning when they are coming. I know here in the PAC NW, snow is a rarety (west of the Cascades) but in every case, the weather people were right-on when they warned us snow and the giant windstorm that hit, were coming-----and it gave us time to prepare, in most cases up to 24-48 hours. Still, so many folks were unprepared and the power was out for an extended time here. Folks DIED burning grills and fires in their living rooms, trying to keep warm.

    That is what is meant by planning ahead. Making sure you have enough food, water and blankets, batteries, flashlights, etc in case. This applies to the job. The hospitals have to run no matter what Ol Man Winter tosses at us. It's not being mean or unreasonable to ask employees to figure out a contingency should foul weather or a disaster hit-----how would their families be cared for? And how to handle work? That is not calling anyone a bad employee. It's reasonably asking everyone to be prepared, and yes, make a best effort to help out in desperate times.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Feb 7, '07
  9. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Quote from russ11
    I have been a nurse for 27 years...I have never not been able to get to work because of weather. I rarely call in for any reason. In the last 17 years have only been out only 5 days usually with sick kids. That said here are a few of my experiences. Once I was at the hospital when the snow hit...policy said they could hold us for until next shift arrived. I worked 16 hours ...hospital refused to feed us because the patient cafeteria couldn't figure out how to charge us...patients were giving us food off their trays...worked 24 hours like this until staff revolted and someone called a local radio station that shamed the hospital into feeding us. Worked 16 hours/day for 3 days...we were allowed 8 hour off to sleep and shower ...after 3 days when I was told I could leave the floor I went to my car, put on boots and walked 4.5 miles home. Once EMS brought us into the hospital ...stayed 2 days working 16 hours/day...hospital refused to get us home ...had to pay a cab. Hospital required those who didn't have enough money to sign IOU"s for meals from cafeteria. Once I went in on Friday ahead of the storm and got a hotel room with 3 other nurses (150.00 for 2 days split between 4 of us) Worked 16 hours for 2 days. All Administrators and physicians were reimbursed for the hotel but not nurses. 4 nurses for 2 days for $150.00 seemed like a bargin to me...won't do that again. Once was involved in a wreck with a new car when someone slid into me while coming to work to help out (on my day off ) because people further away couldn't make it in ...car badly damaged...2 weeks in the body shop ...$500.00 deductible...won't do that again either . Ever notice that nurses are expected to be on the job but ...all "non essential personnel" are not expected to come ie, laundry, housekeeping, secretaries, operators... are exempt. Often Administrators are not even required to come...they should be required to come and pick up the slack for all the non-essential people they have allowed to stay home...answering phones , getting laundry , passing meal trays.....after all if we don't need them then why do we hire them... For me these are all lessons learned...I will probably still continue to come but I expect the hospital not taking good care of me while I am there... Our administration learned the hard way that if you need to treat staff well because it snows every year and if you don't take care of your staff they won't make the effort to come in ....lkast year administration was in cooking breakfast and putting pizza on the corporate credit card (they struck a deal with local Papa Johns). I have learned "you get what you settle for" They expect me to come.I expect to have plenty of food, supplies, and someone besides me to answer the phone...I also expect the folks that make the big decisions and the big bucks to be on the sinking ship with me.

    My plan: I keep blankets, boots, bottled water and plenty of snack food in my car. I pack an overnight bag with shampoo, hairdryer, clothes as well as extra scrubs. If they pick me up I get the name of the administrator who is going to see that I get home. I work in the ER...there is nothing I can't or won't do. I let them know I am always available for staffing issues but if it is not safe to drive, they have to get me there , feed me and get me home...this is non negotiable. And for the record, you can not be fired for abandonment if you have not assumed the care of the patient.
    Very good points on this post. I agree.
  10. by   deleern
    I live in "sno Cat" (snowmobile) Country. becase i am a nurse the sherrif would come and get me if the LTC needed me. but i own a couple of 4wheel drive vehicals, so I have never needed to be picked up. DH loves to be out in it. we don't have hurricans just Blizzards... this has been a good year very little snow. But some years we have had 4 to 5 feet. and that can be misserable.

    if we have to work 12 hours for any reason the facility feeds us,
    Last edit by deleern on Feb 7, '07
  11. by   lorster
    Quote from kate1114
    Hey hon, never said I had all the answers. Just wanted to see if the OP had even tried to find a way to go to work, or just decided she didn't want to try. I never advocated even driving in the snow. If you actually read any of my posts I advocated getting there ahead of time. And when the OP stated that even the libraries were closed (heaven forbid) and that she had no idea what the repercussions were for missing work (remember there's no "policy") then I suggested that she talk to someone to find out what would happen to her if she had to call in repeatedly. Yes, Virginia, there is snow in Michigan.

    I've been surprised at how many people are astonished that they might be needed at the hospital. How many of you work day shift? Ever worked a 15 hour night with no end in sight because day shift couldn't make it in? What about working hours on end because some people on days, knowing that there was a massive storm coming in, knowing that the roads were totally clear when they went to bed, chose to stay home and drink cocoa? When we had our 16 inch snowfall, the snow didn't even start until 11pm. The highways closed at around 2am, and were opened around 9am. There were a few people who called in later than they would have left on a normal day, leaving us high and dry.

    So just remember, the next time that you don't even try to make arrangements, that you are leaving the previous shift in a precarious position. And we have kids, too.

    You're right I know nothing about the OP, and my questions to her went unanswered. She never said if she had anyone else to help with kids (outside of the babysitter), or if she ever talked to her manager or HR or anything. I know that if I had a problem getting to work, I'd want to make sure that I wasn't jeopardizing my career that I've worked so hard for. But that's just me.

    So I apologize if I've offended anyone for advocating that we take a little personal responsibility. We all knew what we signed up for, and it should be no surprise that hospitals don't close for the weather. I know that I'd hate to know that my loved one was in a hospital being cared for by a skeleton crew or by an entire shift of people who were exhausted with no relief in sight.

    And for the record, my concern is NOT for the employer, but for the many nurses who had to pull together to work her precious shift, and for the patients who were left in the lurch. Obviously, they don't matter in this "it's all about me" atmosphere.
    The op simply wanted to know if anyone had a snow plan. If you read back through your own posts, I'm sure the OP felt that she was on the witness stand as you interrogated her. I WILL NOT put my life on the line to go in and work at the hospital. Period. All I am is a warm body and like previous posters said, other staff were not made to come in, only nurses. I also do not want someone taking care of me who has worked the entire night shift and is still working at noon. Where is administration in situations like this? And where are all the managers? Would they roll up their sleeves and get dirty? It is not up to ME to have a plan, it is up to my hospital to put in place, a plan in case this is a problem. I have worked here for 18 years and I live in the mountains in western Montana so when it snows here, it not only dumps, but it blows. My safety and the health of me and my family is most important and I will always go to work but if I had to drive 1.5 hours in a blinding blizzard, I would call in sick, pure and simple. No questions asked. I have not abandoned my patients as I never actually accepted an assignment. Believe me, if you are in an accident on your way to work in conditions that you...and the hospital know are unacceptable, they do not care what happens. You are simply a warm body that CAN and WILL be replaced. Don't forget that you work for corporate america.
  12. by   nuangel1
    well i have been a nurse 20 yrs i have only missed work for snow on 3 occasions.we get snow and blizzards too.and while i make plans to go in ahead there are somethings you can't plan for .1st time i missed i left 2 hrs early for a 20 min drive i was 1/3 way there had a car accident ended in a ditch ,3 times i tried to get out to ask plowfor help and each time was ignored i started walking and had severe asthma attack ,fell hit my head etc no one in site ,this was in days before cell phones.finally i got home and called out work and ended up in local er .2nd time i missed both ends of my street were blocked off and the major highway which was my only way to work was closed we were in a blizzard.(this was years later).i just could not get there .lastly 2yrs ago i had 45 min commute planned ahead had car ready with stay over bag blanket etc and we got 2 feet snow plow did not show up my snowblower wouldn't work and the roads were closed .i called over a doz people to try and find a way in no luck .my hospitals have never offered to pick me up.my point being yes we have responsibilty to our coworkers and pts to show up and plan ahead but sometimes things happen outside my control .and i feel i have made the effort to get in but on 3 occasions in 20 yrs plus i couldn't and i don't feel bad about that.its not worth my life.
    Last edit by nuangel1 on Feb 7, '07
  13. by   jill48
    I know this is off subject, but SmilinBueEyes, you have the prettiest picture under your name.

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