Call during blizzards?

  1. I'm a 6 month OR newbie so I haven't run up against this yet. I'm not on call this weekend, but if I was, there's NO WAY I could get to the OR this morning due to heavy snow/sleet/freezing rain.
    What is your OR's policy on situations like this? I'll check out mine tomorrow, for sure!
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   ewattsjt
    I am sure there will be many different answers on this but here it is for my situation.

    Our facility policy is that if you are on call, you are to make any necessary arrangements to fulfill that obligation. So, if you think you will not be able to make it in…stay there. Our facility has a sleep chamber in the female locker room but we guys are out of luck…use a patient cart I guess. The point is that you know you will be on call so you can make arrangements but if you were a last second call for a second team, it would not be held against you.

    I live far enough away that I have to stay regardless.
  4. by   mcmike55
    If you are on call, it's your responsibility to do the job, or arrange coverage.
    At my hospital, in rural Ohio, we have had a few situations where the snow caused problems.
    Once, in my 25 plus years, I buried my 4x4 and couldn't get in. This was during a regular day, and I wasn't on call.
    We eventually cancelled the OR schedule, and those that could get in (closer to town) covered.
    Rarely, when you're on call, does the weather blindside you, you normally have some advanced warning.
    For me, that means staying in house.

    Hope that helps. Mike
  5. by   haras regnurps
    Make sure you know what your hopitals policy is for inclemate weather. Many have a seperate policy and some hospitals update this yearly.
    You have to do what is safe for all, and that includes yourself. If you are " on call " and can't get to your hospital then you can't get in. Don't risk your life or someone elses' trying to get there. I have had to sleep at the hospital, stay in a hotel room, and stay with friends. It just depends on what the weather situation is , how far away you are from the hospital, and your family. I try and make arrangements ahead of time leave earlier etc. I will not jeapordize the lives of my family for any job, so if the weather is so bad that I can't get the kids to the sitter or get the sitter to come to my home safely then I have to call in and suffer the consequences. most managers/ hospitals understand this predicament and will work with most employees in good faith. It just really depends on the situation. When there is a major blizzard the staff at the hospital can be stranded for days.................and do we even want to add hurricanes into this inclement weather discussion=====

    probably not.
  6. by   mikethern
    Been there. Done that. Slept on a gurney until the roads were cleared.
  7. by   OR male nurse
    I live in Wisconsin. If you know you are on call and the roads are bad, bring a backpack with some clothes and your toothbrush. I call and get a room in the hospital with a shower. It's whatever it takes but we would never cancel surgeries. Like a previous poster, you shouldn't risk you life to get to the OR but need to know what the weather is like. We've all been there and have had to stay overnight either in a room, or on the couch in the Dr.'s lounge.
    It comes with the job.
  8. by   haras regnurps
    Quote from OR male nurse
    I live in Wisconsin. If you know you are on call and the roads are bad, bring a backpack with some clothes and your toothbrush. I call and get a room in the hospital with a shower. It's whatever it takes but we would never cancel surgeries. Like a previous poster, you shouldn't risk you life to get to the OR but need to know what the weather is like. We've all been there and have had to stay overnight either in a room, or on the couch in the Dr.'s lounge.
    It comes with the job.

    We all know that call comes with the job but not all of us are prepared for another BLIZZARD of '78 !
    I was rather young but I remember, there are times when you just can't get in. It is not the weather that you know about but the one you don't that can take you by surprize........the blizzard that year was not predicted to be that severe. In the midwest most folks are not used to waking up to drifts higher than their windows. In my previous post I said to not risk your life or someone elses. That is exactly what I meant. Surgery schedules are cancelled due to weather all the time. Hurricanes and blizzards and floods can wreck havoc with even the most rigid/ non-flexible schedules. Been there done that...................
    I also work as and EMT. If Cindyy Youwho RN decides to try and get to work in here corvette convertable through 3 foot drifts just who do you think is going to have to go out and pull her out of the ditch?
    Just use common sense. follow your hospitals policy and do the best you can. ie keep an overnite bag in your locker at work and in your car. include pb and j just in case the hospital runs out of food. ( the patients get fed and then the staff ) I keep a few cans of soup too.
    We can all leave earlier to get to work but not all of us have access to a four wheel drive truck or a snowmobile. In 78 those were the only way alot of people could get to work-- shoot that was the way alot of patients got to the hospitale too!
    REMEMBER
    COMMON SENSE
    it's that little tid bit that they don't always teach you in school......................................

    but should.
  9. by   OR male nurse
    So what's your point ? It's 30 years later and we have something called doppler radar in this day and age. Everybody knows when there is going to be crappy weather and is prepared for it. Quit living in the past. If you are on call you need to be prepared for the weather. I can't say that I know any RN's that drive a convertible corvette in the winter ? Hello Dr, I'm sorry but you'll have to cancel that crash C-section because I can't make it to work. My convertible corvette won't make it through the 3 foot drifts ? How silly.
  10. by   traumaRUs
    Hey everyone - this is becoming pretty heated. Let's debate the topic, not each other.

    I too live in the midwest and like everyone else here, sometimes ya gotta stay at the hospital or plan to go in earlier. Doppler radar is a wonderful invention though and yes, I watch it religiously when I know I'm on call. At any rate I think we all agree that you need to make it to work but using common sense must be at the forefront of your decision too.

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