Staffing during hurricanes?

  1. 0 Hey all, just wondering what your hospital does in regards to staffing during a hurricane.

    Do they increase staffing, maintain staffing, or decrease staffing?
    How about immediately after a hurricane or storm?
    Thanks!
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  3. Visit  blackvans1234} profile page

    About blackvans1234

    From 'Western US'; Joined Feb '13; Posts: 327; Likes: 411.

    22 Comments so far...

  4. Visit  CaitlynRNBSN} profile page
    0
    GOOD QUESTION! i always always wondered that. I'm from the midwest, so everytime i see a hurricane out east, my first question always is how the heck do they staff the hospitals?? If they order a mandatory evacuation, i will be darned if i stay to work...i'm leaving!!! So how do the hospitals do it?? Are you all required to still work your shifts?
  5. Visit  applewhitern} profile page
    0
    I've been thru many of them, in Florida and Alabama, at several different hospitals. During each, we were told to come and bring clothes and your own food. They did not provide food or drink for the employees, only the patients. We slept on the floor, or on army mats. We also were not allowed to bring any of our kids or family members. The doctor's families were given a patient room to sleep in, but not the other staff. The doctors could bring in their kids, but we could not. I vividly remember being there for several days already, and finally crashed in a hospital bed that was not occupied. Just as soon as I closed my eyes and drifted to sleep, someone came in my room and said get out, a doctor's wife was coming and would need that bed. We slept in the hallway on army cots.
  6. Visit  CaitlynRNBSN} profile page
    1
    I thought a little more, the only thing we get is tornadoes and blizzards in the midwest. Then they call a "code grey" meaning you are forced to stay at the hospital. They have never called a Code grey on a blizzard and i don't think they ever will, because you driving in it is a judgment call. We are all so used to driving in snow, that hardly anyone calls in due to snow (maybe 1-2 total). As for torandoes, yes i will stay because i shouldn't be on the road. And it is so short lived, maybe a few minutes. But a hurricane lasts for DAYS. I will agree to being forced to stay until a tornadoe is over, but being forced to stay until a hurricane is over?? Not happening, i'd quit my job before doing that.
    LisaLPN7 likes this.
  7. Visit  applewhitern} profile page
    3
    In answer to your question, we were always threatened with termination if we didn't show up. It was hard for the people with kids, like myself. During the last one I went thru, they called me 3 days early, to come in on my weekend off, and be prepared to stay. I found that ridiculous, because the hurricane was still far out in the bay and our skies were blue with no rain. I didn't mind working or having to be there, but I had no family there and nobody to keep my kids. Everything shuts down. You will probably lose electricity, water, phone, TV, etc. so communication is problematic. Once my kids ended up in a shelter so I could work. I will never do that crap for a job again. I felt like everybody that is there for the patients is important, not just the doctor's wives/husbands and their kids.
    1feistymama, SoldierNurse22, and GrnTea like this.
  8. Visit  CaitlynRNBSN} profile page
    3
    Quote from applewhitern
    I've been thru many of them, in Florida and Alabama, at several different hospitals. During each, we were told to come and bring clothes and your own food. They did not provide food or drink for the employees, only the patients. We slept on the floor, or on army mats. We also were not allowed to bring any of our kids or family members. The doctor's families were given a patient room to sleep in, but not the other staff. The doctors could bring in their kids, but we could not. I vividly remember being there for several days already, and finally crashed in a hospital bed that was not occupied. Just as soon as I closed my eyes and drifted to sleep, someone came in my room and said get out, a doctor's wife was coming and would need that bed. We slept in the hallway on army cots.
    Whhhhaaaat? Thats BS. My family is my priority. I'd be with my family before my patients. (Sorry, but its true). Is it mandatory you stay or optional for you to come in for extra help? I don't like that hospitals think they can force you to stay.

    This past winter we had a TERRIBLE blizzard. It was awful, they made it optional for us to stay and gave us Showers to clean up, extra clothes, food, cots, drinks. basically offered whatever we wanted. I sucked it up and drove home.
    1feistymama, SoldierNurse22, and GrnTea like this.
  9. Visit  CaitlynRNBSN} profile page
    1
    Quote from applewhitern
    In answer to your question, we were always threatened with termination if we didn't show up. It was hard for the people with kids, like myself. During the last one I went thru, they called me 3 days early, to come in on my weekend off, and be prepared to stay. I found that ridiculous, because the hurricane was still far out in the bay and our skies were blue with no rain. I didn't mind working or having to be there, but I had no family there and nobody to keep my kids. Everything shuts down. You will probably lose electricity, water, phone, TV, etc. so communication is problematic. Once my kids ended up in a shelter so I could work. I will never do that crap for a job again. I felt like everybody that is there for the patients is important, not just the doctor's wives/husbands and their kids.
    My reply to them?? "You are forcing me to be away from my husband and children? I'll take termination. See ya, good luck with staffing."
    SoldierNurse22 likes this.
  10. Visit  blackvans1234} profile page
    0
    I think we got a little off track.
    My initial question was to inquire regarding the working nurses during a hurricane and shortly after. More specifically do they ask more nurses to come in when there is ''impending doom''?

    Does management expect a large increase in the number of patients during / immediately after the hurricane? (Rationale for asking more nurses to come in)

    Thinking about it, it seems as though it is something that would be ideal, not real(istic) in practice.

    Those are interesting issues you all bring up though.
  11. Visit  rumwynnieRN} profile page
    2
    My teachers in nursing school, one in particular, said that you have the choice to be part of the "ride out team" and "after the storm" team. Depending on how bad a storm is expected to be dictates what the hospital will say regarding if you can bring your family or not. If you know in advance that you have a Katrina/Rita/whatever on its way, you do what another poster said about bringing extra clothes and all that. Not sure about food because the hospitals are usually rather well stocked, but I think they restrict who can buy from the cafeteria and who can't.
    DawnJ and redhead_NURSE98! like this.
  12. Visit  xoemmylouox} profile page
    2
    Each hospital has their own rules/policies.
    applewhitern and Meriwhen like this.
  13. Visit  Meriwhen} profile page
    4
    When I worked in Hurricane Country, the policy was that if you were regularly scheduled to work during a weather emergency, you had to be there or risk termination. My facility would try to get additional staff in because of call-outs (people would still do it, and some were let go), travel delays causing staff to be 1-2 hours late or more, and just to have extra hands around to deal with any problems that may come up. They would be generous with the incentives to get extra people in: time and a half, PTO, gift cards, etc.
  14. Visit  amoLucia} profile page
    2
    Remember that bad weather affects not only the hospitals, but also the rehab/LTC/NH/AL facilities, psych & DD facilities, and other places out there that have in-house populations of at-risk residents. Some of these facilities will go out of their way to provide for the emergency housing needs of their staff as best as possible; but many others DO NOT.

    I believe there was an in-depth post here on AN after hurricane Sandy that detailed many of the stories of storm-affected staff. It was extremely interesting and informative.

    In bad weather, if on the schedule, I would make the effort to get to work, and if there, I stay as nec. I would pack extra clothes & supplies. But I'm not going in early. It's just the luck of the draw how weather and scheduling fall in place!
    NutmeggeRN and redhead_NURSE98! like this.
  15. Visit  Poochiewoochie} profile page
    2
    Quote from applewhitern
    I've been thru many of them, in Florida and Alabama, at several different hospitals. During each, we were told to come and bring clothes and your own food. They did not provide food or drink for the employees, only the patients. We slept on the floor, or on army mats. We also were not allowed to bring any of our kids or family members. The doctor's families were given a patient room to sleep in, but not the other staff. The doctors could bring in their kids, but we could not. I vividly remember being there for several days already, and finally crashed in a hospital bed that was not occupied. Just as soon as I closed my eyes and drifted to sleep, someone came in my room and said get out, a doctor's wife was coming and would need that bed. We slept in the hallway on army cots.

    That's not right. What makes the doctor's families any more special than the nurses? As for the food-they SHOULD provide it for free.
    1feistymama and SoldierNurse22 like this.


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