Your employer's policy re: *snow and ice*?

  1. Hi, I would really appreciate hearing from lots of people about what you do when you have to work but the roads are covered in snow and ice. I get many sarcastic or unrealistic responses from people I've asked. I should explain that snow and ice are still somewhat new to me, AND I have driven in a HORRIBLE ice storm and am still somewhat traumatized!

    Once when I wasn't scheduled to work, the roads were treacherous and I was SO grateful to be off! When I asked my coworkers about it the next day, they said "they weren't that bad, I just drove slowly!" I'm happy for them, but I have slipped all over roads, even when I went slowly, and even slid through stop signs.....and it is SCARY!

    I asked a paramedic what they do when there is an emergency out on rural roads that haven't been salted, and she said there's not much they can do, and maybe it's just that person's time to die......gee, what a great answer! (NOT!) :angryfire

    I applied for a new job and asked the manager about snow and ice, and she said: "I *ALWAYS* make it into work, NO MATTER how bad the roads are, and I live a lot further than you!" The thing is, I am dedicated to my job, but I am *NOT* willing to slip and slide on icy roads and risk my life......

    So please tell me......what is your employer's view on this, and what do YOU do when the roads are just terrible?
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  2. 106 Comments

  3. by   elkpark
    It depends to a large extent on what kind of employer it is. I live in a rural area with pretty rough winters, and, when I have worked for hospitals, the expectation was that you would get there, no matter what (after all, they still have patients who need care, regardless of the weather/road conditions ...) When I have worked for outpatient clinics and worked as a state surveyor, we had more flexibility about staying home when the roads were bad.

    Our local hospital will often send the hospital security and maintenance people out in the hospital's vehicles to pick people up and give them a ride in to work when conditions are v. bad. I have also frequently packed a bag with a change of clothes and toiletries and taken it to work with me when I figured there was a good chance that either the night shift nurse or next day's day shift staff might not be able to make it in (I worked 3-11) and I might well have to stay. There have been many times in the past that I (and others on 3-11) chose to sleep over in empty rooms at the hospital in order to avoid driving home in the dark on bad roads and in case the day shift people called in and we were needed.

    The hospitals in my area, like the nurse manager you quoted, feel that, except for truly exceptional circumstances, it's your responsibility to be able to get to work in bad weather. They would not have much interest in continuing to employ someone who frequently called in because of bad weather/road conditions.

    What do I do? I have 4 wheel drive (I'm a dedicated Subaru driver), and, like your coworkers, I drive slowly and carefully -- and I get where I need to go. People in my area are pretty accustomed to getting around in bad conditions -- if we stayed in every time the weather and roads were bad, we wouldn't get anything done all winter!

    I don't meant this in a sarcastic or mean way at all, but, if you're living in an area where snow and ice are expected in the winter, maybe you need to look into getting a different vehicle that will work better for you in bad conditions. Slipping all over roads and sliding through stop signs, even when you're driving slowly and carefully, is unsafe whether you're trying to get to work or taking care of personal business.
  4. by   Still Riding
    I live in Canada, it is like that here form December till march.

    I should move
  5. by   shammy
    When I lived in TX we had a HUGE ice storm (six inches of ice over night). My employer didn't expect anyone to risk their life for work but to make it in if they could. I drove home the 1st night of the storm then was scheduled off for 3 days. But many nurses that were working would get in and then work a double or stay in a empty room and work the next shift (if doubles weren't their thing).

    But my last job in Home Health in WA was you come in irregardless and be prepared to see pts even in rural areas.
  6. by   bethin
    I'm lucky. My dad, who has a 4 x 4 truck and has much experience driving on icy/snow covered roads will drive me to and from work. Last year, we had an especially bad winter storm and even my dad refused to drive in the weather. When I called in and told them my dad even refused to bring me in, they were not too happy. I live ten miles from work and there's lots of hills and turns to make. Nursing supervisor wasn't too nice. I don't know what our hospital's policy is, but I have heard from numerous people that if you call in because of bad weather that it does not count against you. When I got back to work after the storm, I heard that the nurses who live 2 and 3 blocks away from the hospital called in but the nurses who live in the rural areas mad it in. Does this make sense to anyone???

    My advice: get someone to drive you or ask in maintence workers will pick you up and drive you home.
  7. by   Ruby Vee
    nursing is a 24/7/365 job, even when the roads are bad. someone has to be there to take care of the patients, and when you're scheduled to work, that someone is you.

    make sure you have good tires -- even a subaru will slip and slide if the tires are poor. and a fwd or 4wd vehicle helps in the snow. so do chains. buy a set and learn how to put them on. learn how to drive in the snow -- driving slowly and carefully is only part of it. if you know there's an ice storm coming, go in to work early, or stay there overnight. rent a room nearby or stay with a friend who also has to work.

    if you absolutely cannot bring yourself to drive to work in the snow and ice, get a different job, move closer to work or relocate to the deep south, because winter is a fact of life.

    ruby
  8. by   Someday-C.R.N.A.
    I almost rear-ended a police car on the freeway a few years ago while on my way to work. (He had all of his emergency lights on at the time). The freeway was covered in so much ice and snow that it was impossible to tell where the lanes (or road, for that matter) were, and the blowing snow had visibility reduced to a matter of a few feet at times.

    And that's just the way it is in Wisconsin!!

    Driving on snow/ice covered roads is difficult, but it can be done. Going SLOW (I was doing between 5 and 15 MPH for most of my freeway travel in the above incident) and leaving alot of distance between you and the car in front of you are BIG things that people tend to forget. Brakes stop your wheels from spinning, but that don't mean squat when your driving on ice. (Sorry for the grammer).

    Many people mistake a four wheel drive vehicle for a reason to ignore road conditions. They drive like they are invincible, and end up stuck in a ditch, or worse.

    I would never encourage you to do something you weren't comfortable with, but 'slippery roads' is not a permissable excuse around here.

    Have you tried looking for some advanced driving schools? Maybe try poking around and see if you can take a driving course somewhere. Driving in slippery conditions is a skill, and it needs to be learned.

    Whatever you do, good luck, and stay safe!!
  9. by   Someday-C.R.N.A.
    I totally agree with a previous poster about having good tires, only would like to add:

    -Ask about WINTER tires and SUMMER tires. Depending on the vehicle, there may be a difference.
    -Keep an eye on your tire PRESSURE. Tire pressures will fluctuate during seasonal temperature changes, so you need to ask a professional what is best for your vehicle.


    As for chains, they are great if you are allowed to use them. Individual states allow them during certain months, all year long, or not at all. Be sure to check your local laws. (You can usually find this info in any decent road atlas).
  10. by   NurseCard
    It may vary from hospital to hospital. Where I work, it seems like employees have not been given TOO hard of a time for calling in because of bad weather, though it still counts against us just like any other call-in. We've had nurses who had to drive from Lexington, 25-30 minutes away, who just simply couldn't make it in.

    Somehow bad weather days seem to coincide with low census at my hospital though. I guess when the weather is bad here, no one wants to get out, not even to bring themselves to the ER. :chuckle

    Our hospital is also pretty good about having maintenance workers go get people in large 4x4's, too.

    Get good tires. Drive VERY slow and allow yourself lots of time. If those things STILL don't work, I guess all you can do is call the hospital and ask them if someone can come and get you.
  11. by   nialloh
    My sister in laws hospital had no problem picking up staff on snow days. The problem was getting home afterwords. Some staff were there for 2 days to be told "we said we would pick you up, we never said we'd bring you home." Needless to say, a week later when they called to say they would pick her up after another storm, she refused.
    I never heard of this in any other hospital (mine will drop you home), but if I get the call, I will make sure to ask.
  12. by   Thunderwolf
    Quote from nialloh
    My sister in laws hospital had no problem picking up staff on snow days. The problem was getting home afterwords. Some staff were there for 2 days to be told "we said we would pick you up, we never said we'd bring you home." Needless to say, a week later when they called to say they would pick her up after another storm, she refused.
    I never heard of this in any other hospital (mine will drop you home), but if I get the call, I will make sure to ask.
    I'm surprised staff picked up their phone. Fool me once, my fault. Fool me twice, yours.
  13. by   nialloh
    Quote from Thunderwolf
    I'm surprised staff picked up their phone. Fool me once, my fault. Fool me twice, yours.
    I know, but she wanted them to ask so she could make a point of saying no. I have to admit, I have never heard of somthing so shortsighted (for the hospital).
  14. by   vaughanmk
    I live in a major metropolis and the hospital I work at expects all RN's to make it to work no matter the weather. Like others have said it is a 24/7 job. The hospital does help matters by allowing staff to sleep overnight in the overflow unit or empty beds somewhere in the hospital. So if a snow storm is expected to hit and you have a commute or know you will have transportation difficulties than you can bring a bag with you and sleep in between your shifts. They have also been known to put employees up in the Hyatt across the street when it gets REALLY bad. The place I work is great to it's employees.

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