Snow- at what point do you call out?

  1. 4
    I am a new grad, and my first day off of orientation is tomorrow... and we are set to get 2+ feet of snow in an area that only sees that much snow once every 15 or so years. While I've been in the healthcare setting for quite some time, I've never experienced a snow quite like this during my career. I understand my responsibility to work, but I also want to keep in mind my safety out on the roads (I have a 35 mile drive to the hospital). At what point do you decide that you just can't make it into work? Do you always attempt to make it in, or do you look out the window and make that decision?

    Disclaimer: I am a team player, and understand that if I call out, that means our unit runs short. I'm interested in hearing when to draw the line.

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  2. 138 Comments...

  3. 4
    I've never called in for a snowstorm and made it into work when we had over two feet already this year. I suspect I've been lucky mostly though, there was one time I was not scheduled but all the roads in my 10 mile trip were closed for nearly two days.

    I do think if you call your work, they may have a group of volunteers who can try to get you to work - I needed them once. Check all the routes with the DOT and call work before you attempt it.
    fiveofpeep, psu_213, tkane, and 1 other like this.
  4. 29
    Ask your employer what weather contingency plans they have for employees. Do they have rooms for you to sleep in, food to eat, et cetera? Most hospitals have emergency plans for personnel housing in an emergency, whether it's empty patient rooms, on call rooms etc, free food in the cafeteria, whatever.

    Also, make sure you close up your house tight, turn off all water and purge pipes. Then grab clothing changes enough for 3 or 4 days. Pack enough dry food and water for 3 -4 days, have extra batteries, 2 flashlights, blanket, thermal clothing, charged cell phone with car charger, full tank of gas, shovel, snow chains.

    Then go to work. The food and water is if you yourself are stranded on the road with no help. Also, since you're a new grad, if you could make it, I would suggest that you do. That will show you to be a dedicated player willing to put up with hardship for the team.

    *** Sidebar *** I got trapped at work for three days once. When I went back out to look for my car, it was buried under 8 feet of show. Half of it was mother nature, the rest was city sanitation, whose show blowers opened the roads by blowing the snow onto parked cars. It took me and a few helpful colleagues, more than 6 hours to dig myself out.
    Last edit by Emergency RN on Dec 19, '09
    Dazglue, ChristaRN, noyesno, and 26 others like this.
  5. 2
    This is a much discussed topic.

    I just called in to my place to see if anyone called off yet. A good of our staff is local and I was going to see if I could pic them up. So one called off. I really, really hate working short. LTC is staffed short as it is. I'm willing to bet that we will have at least one within the next hr or so.

    We have about 5 inches of snow already and is bad in some areas BUT.....I will leave plenty of time to get there and pack extra supplies.

    Depending on a lot of things I would make the decision to call off or not. Can you call to see if anyone wants to trade with you, what are the major roads like in your area? When you take a job that is far away like that and it snows in your area...those are the things you want to think about.
    tkane and EMSnut45 like this.
  6. 2
    the only time ive ever called in is when i was physically stranded.once was in my driveway- had to call someone to dig me out(snow was about 2 foot). otherwise, thats why i have 4wd, and it might take 2 hours to get there, but ive gotten there.(normally takes 45 min on a good day)Days like that I wish I lived closer to work.good luck- be safe.
    tkane and EMSnut45 like this.
  7. 7
    Nobody calls out here because of snow--some people who live a ways out will leave two or three hours early to get there. I do understand your hesitation to travel, but my experience has been that calling in for snow will, at best, raise a few eyebrows.

    Is there someone you could stay overnight with who lives closer? A lot of nurses who live close by my hospital are more than willing to "board" distance nurses for a night (or day) or two.

    Two idle thoughts, the first is that it's funny that nurses who preach safety as a priority will go to work in the most unsafe conditions. The second is that I really hate looking out the window at 0530 and seeing snow and ice that I will have to scrape off and dig out of before driving to work...
  8. 7
    My hospital offers empty patient rooms, and keeps the cafeteria open and free. There have been times when I went to work several hours early, before the snow hit, and have spent the night after working.
    BigBee48, telenurse85, wooh, and 4 others like this.
  9. 2
    We don't see a lot of snow here but we usually have two or three ice storms every winter. I just give myself plenty of time. I'm not worried about my driving. I worry about the idiots who are out there and see no reason to change the way they drive just because of an inch of ice on the road.

    What bothers me weatherwise is drivng in some of the thunderstorms that pop up around here. There aren't a lot of places to take cover on my route. Last year there were several evenings I saw a tornado on my way to work. Not to mention 6 or 7 inches of rain in an hour, 80 mph winds, and hail the size of golf balls. I never missed a shift over this but I was late a couple of times while I rode one of these out parked on the side of the road. I guess it all depends on where you live and what you are used to.
    nursel56 and EMSnut45 like this.
  10. 7
    especially as a new grad, i would make every effort imagineable in getting to work.
    as has been suggested, anticipate the worst by leaving very early, packing some clothes...
    whatever it takes to get you there.

    as a new grad, i walked to work in a blizzard.
    the snow was up to my hips and it was a few miles away.
    never even considered calling out...not as a new nurse.

    noyesno, waterlily777, nursel56, and 4 others like this.
  11. 5
    a couple of people called out today -- one looked out the window and then called out because "my parking lot isn't plowed and i don't have four wheel drive." i can tell you that after our manager drove to work 25 miles in her mustang she had very little sympathy for that person and i suspect it will be reflected in her evaluation. i made it to work 21 miles in my prius. the only problems i had were the fools that got stuck and blocked the whole road. i had to help push a couple of cars out of the way so i could proceed. our hospital has declared a state of emergency now, and our emergency plan is in place.

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