Forced to stay and work under mandatory evacuation? - page 20

by squatmunkie_RN 34,500 Views | 256 Comments

I live near the gulf where evacuating for hurricanes is a possibility around this time. The hospital where I work places nurses on teams. One team is forced to say, the other forced to come back 24 hrs after the hurricane is... Read More


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    by tragically hip : really, each time you make a point that converges on plausibility, you veer off into the weeds of whining.


    (howling!)

    had to change my pants, thanks!
    diva rn, Orca, redhead_NURSE98!, and 3 others like this.
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    Quote from squatmunkie_RN
    Another thing that bothered me...there is no patient too sick to move to another hospital.
    This comment just took you from "naive" to "dangerously naive."

    I'm the last to be a martyr. I do a job, expect to get paid fairly, expect to have time to pee while I'm there. But there are basic things about this career that go along with it, and the most basic is that hospitals are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

    You seem like you're smart enough to have known that hospitals were open 24/365 when you decided to go to nursing school. The time to decide you only wanted to work when it's convenient was BEFORE you decided to attend school for a career that requires 24/365 coverage.
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    Quote from do good tengo
    key thing here is to consider one's situation at time of hire and update frequently as life's events unfold.

    if you were single and didn't think much of any disaster provisions in the handbook or whatever during orientation, but now find your a parent or have others looking to you such as seniors, the time to speak to management is before a disaster arrives, not when one is approaching.

    a large majority of nurses are women and also wives/mothers. while some may not agree with your positions on disaster duty, they usually can see your point. otho you cannot have your cake and eat it as well. if management decides to cancel your days in advance of say a bad storm or some other event arriving in favour of bringing in someone that has no problems staying, don't cry about lost hours and such.
    i was making sure this kind of situation was looked at by all prospective. i have taked with nurses from katrina and it wasn't pretty.....many will never do that again. someone posted a blog from a nurse there........it's a good read. auryn24: hurricane katrina update #

    my personal journey is very different from what i expect of other people. i did volunteer search and rescue of natural and man made disasters for years with my beloved dog. i retired when my children were young and my precious dog died at age almost 17 years old. i couldn't devote the time to the team and my children and do anyone justice.......i quit, my choice.

    i have worked in emergency medicine/critical care for 34 years. i have always provided safe haven for my family and pets to do my job. i have always crate trained my pets for this very reason easy transport and containment in an emergency.....after all i grew up in tornado alley. but that is my choice.

    i don't like to judge. one never know what personal burdens someone bears. empathy is what i feel and i try to view it from someones else's shoes before i make any decisions. i guess i am thoughtful that way...... i think if this is the op's choice they need to be ready to face the consequence of their choice and be prepared to lose their job. they need to do a lot of soul searching. i also said the facility was perfectly within their legal right to mandate disaster coverage......just like it is the op's right to refuse....it is also the facilities right to fire them for refusal to follow policy and procedure.

    we have the freedom of choices.....but that doesn't mean there aren't consequences.
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    Quote from squatmunkie_RN
    Hmmm... I came back to the post. I read most of the responses. I still feel that if the hospital is placing me on a team that I have no choice in...and I'm on the team that is required to stay I should be paid more. (Not that I think it's fair that they tell me to stay anyway). This isn't staying with a fully functioning hospital...its no running water, no water safe to bathe with, soon the plumbing stops working because of the flooding, patients end up defecating in plastic bags (really happened), I can go on and on. Until you've been through a major storm you can't picture the little things that are missed. AND if the hospital gives me no choice in the matter I should be given hazard pay. (Someone posted that you're paid the entire time HA!, you're not paid when you change the 16 hour long shift).

    I'm not at a point that I can quit my job at the drop of a hat...wonderful to you lucky people that can do so every time your employer does something you don't like.

    Another thing that bothered me...there is no patient too sick to move to another hospital.
    Yes.....you are right....... they are placing you on a team you have no say so over. They have a job to do and so do you. If you decide to choose it. The key word here is choose. But with choice come consequence. YOu can choose not cover the facility and they can choose to fire you. It's still is ALL about choice.

    Unfortunately, you have chosen a profession that is in public service. We don't get paid more. We don't get "hazard" pay. We might get a little of OT as a result....we choose this profession along with the benefits and consequences. Many people once they become nurses realize that nurses are actually paid pretty crummy for the stuff that nurses have to do and put up with........that's why there is such a high turn over rate in our profession.

    When there is a disaster and people are hurt it's the hospital they need. When talking about hurricanes there is warning. Every hospital is looking to relocate, discharge, transfer what ever patient they can. It is expensive, time consuming and space limiting. As an administrator I have evacuated a facility of about 240 patients and it isn't easy it is very expensive and yes there are some patients that are too sick to move......like a fresh open heart that has an open chest on a bilateral ventricular device and 14 IV drips......that patient is too sick to move. It is also hard to find places to put patients make sure they have all their records and get them out. It is no small feat and on decision that isn't taken lightly.

    Those poor nurses in Joplin when the hospital was struck by that tornado didn't have time to say they weren't coming in or that they were leaving before the storm came........They had to protect those patients and prepare for the massive amounts of wounded that they KNEW were going to come. My heart still prays for them.

    Many of the nurses that posted here have experienced some mandatory extended work requirement. The generators are very valuable but you are right they run out. You can flush a toilet with a bucket of flood water and while D5w isn't appetizing you can drink it and bathe. Many place will pay the OT for 16 hour shifts. They then pay call pay for "sleep time". Defecating in a bag beats defecating on the floor.

    I know you are frightened and you have choices to make. Each nurse needs to make the choice they are comfortable with.....my point is that we as other nurses should not judge. But you may need to think about finding another job for you facility has the right to fire you if you do not comply. There are laws on the books in every state concerning OT and disaster work requirements/allowances in every state.

    I wish you the very best.
    caroladybelle, Orca, Altra, and 5 others like this.
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    You nailed it Esme. Great stuff!
    Esme12 likes this.
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    Of course a facility can require you to stay during a disaster. Why would anyone think it's okay to just abandon your pts? Someone here made an excellent comparison with school teachers. If students are stuck in a school due to a disaster, the teacher can't leave until all the
    students are home or another qualified professional takes his place. It's the exact same principal with nursing.

    We had a situation at my LTC facility where a historic ice/snow storm prevented on morning prevented 75% of the 1st shift from coming in. In a 700 bed facility. We on 3rd all had to stay over. No choice. I had to pass meds to over 90 residentson a 7-3 med pass. Some of the CNAs had to do their best cooking breakfast and lunch. We did what we had to.Of course, no one was forced to stay in the literal sense of the word. If I had really wanted to leave I would have. But I would have lost my job and most likely my license. In an emergency you can't just leave. That seems obvious to me.
    Orca, himilayaneyes, and Piglet08 like this.
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    On a very practical note, what kind of childcare arrangements do people have that you can stay at work indefinitely on almost no notice?

    When my children were young, all the daycares I could find closed at 6 or 7 and charged $1 per MINUTE late fees. One summer I had a nanny, and she was somewhat more flexible, but she also had a family to get home to and could not easily have abandoned them on short notice to stay with my children.

    This is one of the biggest reasons I didn't even consider nursing as a career until now, when my youngest is going into 12th grade.

    So, to people who have dealt with these situations personnaly, what kind of arrangements do you have?
    Last edit by watashi on Aug 3, '12 : Reason: bookmark
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    If you do not agree to any of the terms of your employment you always have the option to leave. Often that is the best choice of action.
    Asystole RN and anotherone like this.
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    Often in life we hear what we want to hear and ignore what we don't like. Those thinking about nursing school hear, There is a shortage and you will get to coo and play with babies all day in the nursery, The pay is great, You only have to work 3 days a week, You will be the envy of all your friends, The hot young medical residents will fall in love with you and you will quickly become a doctors wife, etc... When they are told the truths of the job, It may take months to get a job because the market is becoming saturated, you most likely will not work with babies for quite some time if ever, The pay is adequate, You will put in 4 1/2 days of hours in 3 days if you don't work any overtime, Your friends will think you have a "gravy" job, and often times as the residents become doctors they will view you as slightly above the gum on the bottom of their shoe, the prospective nursing students and new grad nurses ignore all of this and act shocked by it because it does not fit into what they "know" about the job.

    To the OP.... Many people choose not to join the military because there is always the possibility of going to war. There have been many that chose the military anyway due to the benefits thinking it won't happen to them, surprise!! Then they whine and cry about their situation. To prevent this from happening the more informed choose a different career path. If the possibility of you being required to be in a hospital during a major disaster stresses you then you really should look at an alternative that will not have that requirement as soon as you can. If you are still employed there after learning of this requirement, and a hurricane hits, you should be required to be there. If you are a no show and they have to scramble to get someone to take your place you deserve to be fired. If I were in charge I would fire you on the spot. That may sound heartless but don't make your lack of planning, or poor judgement, my problem.
    Orca, redhead_NURSE98!, Altra, and 3 others like this.
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    it needs said again a parent or dog owner isnt worth more than i am............the times during disasters i went when not scheduled and put my life in danger (more so than usual) to get there i did because i knew they needed help badly and for some ot money. things i did in other jobs as well. i do not criticize anyone else who didnt take those risks. i calculated them. if it was a massive disaster like the tsunami or ww3 and places being bombed out left and right. i would probably have left town with the rest. i have to look up my hospital policie on disasters and having to come in if your are not scheduled.


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