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Bugaloo, RN 12,007 Views

Joined: Jun 30, '07; Posts: 176 (57% Liked) ; Likes: 755

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  • Jan 2 '10

    To answer some of the questions posted, I work 60 kms away from work because I live in a rural area, there are no jobs available in the town I am closest to, so I work casual there, and casual at the job that is a half hour away. Winters here have been horrible the last 2 years, with the highway literally drifting shut and blocking traffic for at least a day more than once last winter. I live down 2 miles of gravel in an area where we not only get snow but extreme winds which drift the snow up to 14 feet high, drifting in my driveway, my approach and several spots before I hit a plowed road. We own 1 4wd, can't both take it to work, and drive opposite directions. I as a female am not comfortable driving alone when it is dangerous, up to -50 celsius windchill if you do get stranded and miles to walk to the nearest house on a reservation where the crime rate is so bad the police don't release info of half of what happens there.
    When it happened here this year, the hospital staff were mentioned in the monthly "Outreach" magazine, but not the LTC staff who were also stuck, and it was mentioned that the Acute Care Manager did the scheduling of staff FROM HER HOME because she was stranded, and she was asking staff who lived further away and were just as snowed in to suck it up and come to work. We are offered lodging in the hospital if we get stuck there, and if it happened to me, I would work to fill the shifts. However, if I am stuck at home, I am not risking my neck or my vehicle to come in. The hospital will not pay for my vehicle repairs, I don't have ADD or LTD from them because I work casual, and they don't cover my meals. It just ends up being an expense to me, with very little gratitude from my employer. Too great a risk, and a year later what does it matter? No one remembers you for working all the weekends and holidays either.
    I am not married to my job.

  • Jan 2 '10

    Quote from Bugaloo
    Reading some of these comments made me feel as if I had to say something. I have worked as a nurse for 17 years. Not once, when I made it in from 45 minutes away from my home, in snow and ice, have I been thanked by management or patients for making it in on a "snow day". Not only that, but it also was not remembered when my evaluation came due.
    That's a shame. Someone should at least thank you. I remember one time I received $100 bonus in my paycheck for staying something like two and a half days. They gave us food, some kind of slop but we ate it because there was nothing else and when the supervisor made rounds she did thank each and everyone of us for making it in. I guess I'm just lucky to have had management who did give a darn at that time. Whether or not it was remembered for my evaluation I don't remember it was so long ago, but it doesn't really matter. All in all someone always thanks us at some point for making it in for the residents.

  • Jan 2 '10

    Quote from Bugaloo

    Go ahead and flame me now, lol!
    I would actually give you kudos 5 times if I could!

  • Jan 2 '10

    I fnd this discussion so interesting because-- it goes directly to the question of whether there is an expectation of the heroic in nursing as it is in such professions as police, fire, airline pilot, ship captain, and even mail carriers (neither rain, nor sleet and snow, etc etc). I remember during the Katrina aftermath there was so much discussion as to whether or not police officers first obligation was to their families or to the city as a whole. Lots and lots of people sided with those police who did not come to work. If we were talking about our job at the Macy's cosmetic counter there would be no discussion at all. Should nurses be placed in a special category?

    I'm glad that (so far. . .) the personal attacks are almost non-existent. I'm glad we can disagree without insinuating that those on either side are bad people. I've been lucky due to geography not having to face this yet-- but honestly- what would I do if I had young children, for instance and thought maybe I couldn't leave work if I went in? It would be extremely hard to choose. I just want to thank everybody for their honest and thought provoking viewpoints.

  • Dec 30 '09

    1) So from many of the above threads, I am hearing that we should have 4WD vehicles? Some people cannot afford these type of vehicles, not to mention the extra gas required and the impact on the enviroment.

    2) If on the way to work, one is injured (in a car wreck or just walking down their driveway) on the way to work, are they covered by workman's comp? Will the hospital pay for your damaged car? Increased insurance rates?

    3) If a hospital will fire someone for not coming in to work during a blizzard, do you think that the hospital will REALLY stand by them if they are injured coming in to work? Will you lose your job if you are unable to work anymore due to an injury?

    I would like the hospital to put --in writing-- that they will cover you for doing "whatever you need to do" to get to work.

  • Dec 30 '09

    Quote from MERRYWIDOW46
    YOU make a contingecy plan if you live alone with children or pets. Other family members or neighbors take care of them for you. They CAN and WILL declare a disaster internally and you are not premitted to leave. If you do leave without permission you risk termination. In this economy that isn't something that you want to happen. My ID badge has the following statement on the back: "To all law enforcement agencies, this is an employee of XYZ Medical Institution, in a declared emergency/disaster all employees are required on the medical campus. Please allow safe passage." What would have happened in New Orleans if NO one came to work or EVERYONE left during Katriina? It is part of the responsibility that goes witb the choice to become a member of Health and Human Services professions/occupations. It is the unwritten expectation.

    Another one size fits all, everyone lives in the same situation comment. You are of course making the assumption that everyone has family living within convenient distance or that they have neighbors close by who are willing to come get your kids. Not everyone is so lucky. Personally if it is a choice between my family's safety or risking my job I will go with my family every time.

  • Dec 30 '09

    I'm not saying I won't make plans to get to work if I'm scheduled to be there. But if I'm already there and all of a sudden something happens and they declare an internal disaster and my child for some reason will have to be left alone. I'm not going to stay. I guess I'd risk termination.

    I would maybe risk my life, but not my child's.

  • Dec 30 '09

    I would not compromise my own safety for any job. On the other hand, making co-workers work short is not a path for good working relationships. The best plan is to get out there before the weather whenever possible. I'm sure your seasoned co-workers have the same concerns you do. There must be an emergency plan in place. Give yourself every advantage... winter tires, emergency road kit, good strong battery, cell phone charged, etc.

    Sometimes there are unforeseen events like a sudden freeze of the roads. Sometimes it means coming in later, sometimes it means calling off. When there is simply no safe way to get there, and ICE is not driveable I don't care what kind of car you have or what your driving skills are, I advise be wise and stay off the road. You do not have to be another patient in the trauma bay. While you are on orientation you are not considered "in staffing". Call your manager with your concerns and the sooner the better. Like you say, this is a historic snow storm.

  • Dec 30 '09

    I have told them to come on out and get me, but I would challenge them to find my house in a blizzard, when I can't find the highway. I won't change my policy, they don't give a rats ass about me if I get hurt or killed, or work myself into burnout, so why should I risk my vehicle or my life for one shift that they can figure out how to cover. If I got stuck at work because someone else couldn't make it for whatever reason, I am understanding, don't try to guilt them into putting their shift above family or health or safety. That's the way it goes.

  • Dec 30 '09

    In my 30+ years of nursing, I've called in twice due to ice/snow. One time I got half way down my street, which is a snow emergency route, due to going off the road twice because of very bad ice. Four wheel drive doesn't do ice any better than any other wheel drive.I figured if this road was so treacherous, what would the secondary roads I had to travel be like? Not worth risking my life.

    I've also been stuck at work for a few days 3 times over the years. That's the way it goes. I will not risk my life to get to work. The unit will be covered. If it's that bad that I and others call in, everyone just has to stay. There may be hardships for some having to stay, but me having a crash would also be a hardship for me and my family.
    I carefully weigh my decision and make no apologies for looking out for me first.

  • Oct 30 '09

    I know now how burnout occurs. It occurs with the death of nursing. It occurs when the compassion well has been overturned by those who insist on inflicting both nurses and patients to the moral depravity of never-ending torturous care.

    Burnout starts with an oath, taken at the pinnacle of pride and passion when entering a new profession. Burnout starts with caring, which is a quality we hope all health-care workers possess. Burnout starts with hope; hoping that we can make a difference in our patient's lives.

    I took an oath on the day of my pinning; my graduation from nursing school. It was the Nightingale Oath. Here is that oath:

    “I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician, in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.”

    I have broken every aspect of that oath in my endeavor to care for my patients. My life is not pure. It is tainted with the misery of the broken that I care for. I don't practice faithfully. When my patient of six months is asking for death and an end to the monotonous routine of turns, dressing changes and mouth care, my faith fails me. I no longer have the faith that my patient will live a meaningful life.

    I have not abstained from the deleterious and mischievous. Many of the therapies prescribed in the never ending ephemera of standing orders and the imperial standards of care, while trying to preserve the hospital's legal standing, bring harm to my patients. I position them in spine twisting angles which limit breathing and stiffen limbs placed on pillows to elevate bottoms and heels and hands. I have bloodied mouths with the routine mouthcare no matter how soft the sponges.

    Every drug that I administer is harmful. I promote blood pressure at the cost of digits. I give life-saving antibiotics, yet I rob patients of their kidney function and hearing. Every drug has a cost. . . .

    I attempt to maintain and even elevate the standard of my profession through my intelligence, my compassion, and eternal search for knowledge. I interweave therapies with the delicacy of a spider weaving a web. If one part fails, the web falls. I manipulate each organ system with a symphony of drugs in the attempt to create a harmonious whole. And when the physician calls me the mindless bedside attendant, or when the physician states that my tasks are so easy that a monkey could perform them, I smile with inner strength because I know that the physician does not even know how to work the pump to infuse the drug, and does not possess the skill to access a vein for their pharmacopeia's remedies.

    I have broken confidence with families. I give reality. I give the grand picture. I comment on quality of life and last wishes. I talk of death with dignity. I broach those subjects which are so taboo to us. I give hope. I give reason. I give honesty. I give my heart and I have given my tears. I cannot uphold an image painted by a patient's service of hope and recovery when experience and statistics tell my heart the truth. I cannot support a physician that states a patient will walk out of my ICU when he is so weak that he cannot lift a finger, and can merely shake his head no to decline care. I can only do what my conscience and my heart guide me to do.

    I have limited loyalty for physicians. I cannot bear dishonesty. The physician is no longer the captain of the ship steering the course to recovery. It is my job to question, to demand, and when called for, to take a stand between my physician and my patient when decisions are poorly made or when decisions are against my patient's wishes.

    The one portion of my oath which I have steadfastly upheld to the best of my ability is that I have devoted myself to the welfare of those committed to my care. I have cared for my patient and my families more than I have cared for myself. I have become the object of ridicule on behalf of my patients. I have, despite great fear, risked myself professionally to uphold my patient's wishes by taking a stand on the patient's behalf.

    And now, after having lost another fight on my patient's behalf, I feel like the nurse in me has died. The spark that lit my way to healing and the flame that guided my intentions has burned to ashes in the aftermath of flood reaped upon me. I am morally depraved and ethically sullied and I have become an empty shell.

    I am no longer a nurse. I am a tender. I tend to the garden of patients with little mind for needs and a conscious drive of simply meeting obligations of care. This is burnout.

    Is there a way to re-light the flame of nursing? I think it would take a new oath, one less pure, and one of less responsibility.

  • Aug 8 '09

    Quote from Orca
    Sex offenders are at the bottom of the pecking order behind the fences. They tend to keep a low profile - especially those who have victimized children. I have worked on a couple of units that included a lot of sex offenders, and they tended to be pretty quiet units.
    Here in Georgia there does not seem to be any pecking order in reference to sexual offenders. About the only thing it get one is no outside of the fence details..........

  • Aug 8 '09

    Sex offenders are at the bottom of the pecking order behind the fences. They tend to keep a low profile - especially those who have victimized children. I have worked on a couple of units that included a lot of sex offenders, and they tended to be pretty quiet units.

  • Aug 8 '09

    Unfortunately, that can be true....

  • Aug 8 '09

    I think the only problem you may have is setting appropriate boundaries with inmate patients. It's really different to working in the "real world". For example, a new nurse at our facility sent a pass to an inmate with a note "from your friendly nurses". I would not have a problem with that in a nursing home or hospital, but in a prison??? That's a BIG NO-NO. This could give the inmate the impression that the nurse is interested in him and may see it as an invitation to try to establish a relationship with the nurse.

    However, working with inmates is a lot easier if you can keep an emotional distance. There are repercussions for bad behavior and unlike the real world, you know exactly who you are dealing with. I agree with another poster that mostly inmates are respectful and grateful for the care we give. Of course, there are exceptions!