How to get to work in a snowstorm?

  1. 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?
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  2. 170 Comments

  3. by   Quickbeam
    I live in a very cold snowy state. When I did hospital work, we were expected to get in no matter what. Since I worked nights, it was even more urgent for some reason....

    In 20 years and countless snowstorms, I've never missed work and I've always lived over an hour from any job. And drove a crappy little car. Once in the middle of a raging gale, both my headlights blew. State Patrol took me to work.

    Seriously, I think most hospitals are hardcore on this because if you start to excuse on account of weather, at the first flake people will be calling in. I feel your pain. I always got in but somehow I often didn't get relieved and would be stuck doing doubles.
  4. by   Kyrshamarks
    I am sorry but the old selfless I must serve others at the expense of my own or families personal safety and care just does not cut it. It is crazy and dangerous to think that you should have to drive in a blinding blizzard 1.5 hrs to get to work. Think about it. You end up going off the road and at best you only get stuck, you may have to wait literaly days to be rescued. At the worst end you get killed or die while stuck or in an accident and now people are going out to look for you in that storm. You are now putting their lives at risk and not just your own. I live in an area that gets hurricaines. I have called off during them and will continue to call off during them. My safety and my families safety come first before the needs of a hospital or patients needs.

    P.S. I also have lived in areas that get blizzards and have called off druing them as well.
    Last edit by Kyrshamarks on Feb 6, '07 : Reason: rotten typing skills and spelling
  5. by   puggymae
    When bad was weather was expected I left for the hospital before it got bad and took and overnight case with me. The National Guard has picked me up and taken me in. Hospitals do not close because of the weather.
  6. by   MT RN
    i've got to agree with kyrshamarks. having lived in the snow belt for many years, there were times when i was just plain not able to get out and get to work during a blizzard. yes, i realize that hospitals don't close, and when i don't come in someone else has to stay, but that also works both ways. living in florida, i have had to stay at work during a couple of the hurricanes that came close to our area because it wasn't safe to leave, and others couldn't get in.

    maybe it's just because i'm getting older, but i think you have to make your safety and well being the priority. if you get in an accident and are hurt or killed then you have made the problem worse. don't ever think that the hospital will shut down without you there, don't worry, it won't...and don't feel guilty if you're simply unable to make it in due to unsafe conditions, it's just as unsafe for those who are there to leave.
  7. by   bargainhound
    We just lost 2 nurses in our community due to weather related car wreck.
    It definitely makes you think of life priorities for yourself and your family.
  8. by   AfloydRN
    I do feel guilty calling in...however I do have little ones @ home and if the schools are closed, there goes my sitter. I live in MI by the lake and we get dumped on. We have had more than 3 feet of snow sine this AM. I know it goes on my attendance, but I don't have many other options.
  9. by   Midwest4me
    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?
    The jist of our policy is that we HAVE to be there; i.e., weather cannot be the reason for one's absence. If we do use it as an excuse, we'll be in "leave without pay" regardless if we have available comp time, vacation time or some other time to cover the absence. So.....people just call in sick. Truthfully, NO JOB is worth risking your life in a snowstorm and it's just heartless to expect you to come in if the road is closed. Why don't you consider an employer closer to your home?
  10. by   Quickbeam
    Of course no job is worth your life. However, I understand the hospital point of view. If they have a lax policy on weather it will be abused.

    I work in an office setting now with some community health travel. The people (non-nurses) who work around me mostly live within 4-5 miles of the office. They call in all the time. They call in for fog. They call in for cold. Snow? I'll be the only person here.

    I think most hospitals expect the nurse to make an honest effort.
  11. by   Antikigirl
    I live in an area that rarely gets snow, and when we do it is typically ice below a layer of snow (rains more then freezes!). In fact, this last snow storm we had was a comedy of errors if you watched it on the local news...cars were bumper cars in all this, lots of people getting injured by standing by their stranded cars and then get hit, and even emergency vehicles got hit or stuck. Nope, we aren't really a snow friendly area, even with sanding and de-icers!

    So, I had to go into work...so I had to get gas eariler than my swing shift started so I made the trek slowly to the gas station. Got there, but as I turned into the station I slid (I was going less than a mile an hour, but can't help it if you hit a long path of black ice). I nailed a telephone pole, crushing the passenger side corner of my front...no injury to me, and nothing we couldn't pull out and fix later thank goodness! Car still ran, so I was able to get gas and go home! Got home safely.

    So I call into work to tell them that it is so dangerous that I already wrecked my car just trying to get gas~! They asked if I was okay...well yes..and got someone to come get me for work. I wound up going in. I brought a night bag of things incase I had to stay.

    I guess there have been times when they have had local EMS come get nurses for the snow days because they need us so badly! Snow days are a day of injuries...and we needed all the help we could get. Not to mention all the help we needed in dealing with generator power only, and the million and one calls from every family member in the greater NW calling to see if their loved one was okay! (that was actually the worse part..the phones never stopped!!!!!!!! Okay answer phones, or treat pts??? UHGGGG!).

    I hate snow days...well, the ones where I have to get to work that is! LOL!
  12. by   nurse_nan
    I make the honest effort. About 6 weeks ago the area where I live was hit by an ice storm, power outages, the whole nine yards. The first roadblock I hit was no power to open the garage door. Managed that one. Then the extra weight of the ice on the door. Had to chisel it off to be able to lift the thing manually. Next my driveway. Runs the length of my lot to the garage at the back. My 100 year old trees had thoughtfully dumped tons of large branches on it which were now stuck in the ice. I went out to clear them. Listening to the branches that were still breaking out and dodging the falling ones I decided it just wasn't worth a concussion. I called in.
    It took until noon for the wind to die down enough that branches weren't falling and took me another 2 hours to pull all the branches loose from the driveway.
    I think that was an honest effort that failed to make the shift. But yes, I had to take PTO to make up for it. That's the breaks.
    One hospital I worked for had lists of drivers with 4 wheel drive vehicles. If you called up and said you couldn't make it because of the snow, they came out and got your bum and hauled it in. Then took you back home at the end. NO excuses there!
  13. by   HisHands
    I know that sometimes situations cause us to live farther away from our employers than we would have hoped for... however....

    I'm just curious why you would commute 1.5 hrs to work? Now, I'm definitely the pot calling the kettle black. I've worked 1 hr 15 minutes away from work, but it was transitional. I just moved from one of the snowiest places in the country. Maybe that's an advantage for me. I shift the truck into 4 wheel drive, leave early and drive slow. Really the only times I have/had problems was when it's a complete white out (ie. visibility 1 foot in front of windshield), but the national guard is very happy to get nurses in to work. It's inconvenient to leave early, and risk having to stay at work overnight due to weather, but it is necessary. I DO however believe there should be some sort of a pull list for people. I would be happy to go in on an off day or work a double to help cover, if during the next storm when I'm scheduled someone else could stay over or come in if it wasn't fesable to me.

    Anyway, leave early, drive safe, drive slow, always have extra blankets, coats and a candles in your car, and above all BE SAFE

    Blessings
  14. by   wooh
    So if I call and say I can't drive in, the hospital sends someone to get me, who foots the bills when that person wrecks with me in their car? Will I get worker's comp? Just because someone else is doing the driving, doesn't mean it's safe for me to be in that car.

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