Does your facility ask you to sleep over when it snows?


I work 7-3 in a nursing home in New England. We had a blizzard last week and the DON was urging people to stay overnight before their shift. A few people did but a lot of them didn't and ended up calling off. I guess the staffing was a little crazy (lots of overlapping, shuffling to different halls, etc.) but they made it work. I had the day off so I wasn't there but apparently she was pretty rude to some of the people who called off-- told them they need to move closer to the facility, get a husband who can drive them, etc. I get that it's frustrating, but I think that was uncalled for.

It's supposed to start snowing again tonight and the DON called this weekend and told our supervisor to tell us that there will be no excuses this time. I live close to a main road and the snow won't be that bad in the morning (it's supposed to be worse for 2nd shift so I will probably get stuck doing a double), but I have so much anxiety about not being able to make it in. At the same time, I don't want to stay overnight at work! I doubt I would actually be able to sleep there. We already have to work short staffed and put in longer hours during weather like this... I just want to sleep in my own bed, but I don't want to get screamed at and made to feel like a piece of crap if I can't make it up a hill and have it be my fault for not sleeping over.

They don't pay us to sleep over, and a lot of people can't really do that anyway because they have kids and/or animals to care for at home.

I guess I'm just wondering what is normal for most nursing homes in inclement weather.


983 Posts

I can only comment on working in a hospital, but yes we were asked and expected to sleep over. Some people chose not to do it and then called off and it really screwed everyone over. Nurses and aides ended up not being able to leave for 48 hours until replacement staff made it in and we had to sleep on cots on the floor for 6 hour breaks and then get back up and help out. It sucked.


739 Posts

It doesn't snow where I live, but they do this when there is a hurricane/tropical storm. Personally, I wouldn't stay. And have I ever heard of someone from admin staying to help out???-Nope


983 Posts

Okay to give credit to our management, they definitely all stayed too.


35 Posts

Depends on who is there to snuggle with...

Specializes in MICU, SICU, CICU. Has 24 years experience.

They have to pay you for the entire 24, 36, 48 hours that you are there, whether you are working or not, sleeping or not , if you are mandated. Do not clock out if you are mandated to stay in the facility during a severe weather emergency. Keep track of your hours.

Ask this DON:

Are you going to pay me overtime to stay onsite?

With overtime, people made big $ during Hurricane Sandy because they were mandated for 2 to 3 days.

If the management is unwilling to pay you, they can not coerce you to stay. You are free to leave at the end of your shift. We are not indentured servants. Labor and industry laws are on your side in this situation and they know it.

It is a lot more economical to put the essential personnel up in a hotel, with the facility providing transportation to work and I would suggest that to her before the next storm.


861 Posts

Specializes in Med Surg. Has 4 years experience.

You're not indentured servants, but facilities can use attendance as justification for disciplinary action. My hospital counts call ins no matter the reason, so calling in for weather counts against a person.

Specializes in MICU, SICU, CICU. Has 24 years experience.

Discipline me. I don't care. I dont abuse PTO.

Never again will I sleep at a hospital during a storm. I was assigned a pt room, then awakened and told to get up because this room is for Dr soandso.

I didn't. I dont remember what I said but I know it wasn't very nice.


53 Posts

The hospital I work for encourages us to stay so that we can make it in. If you call out for weather, it's a write up. No excuses or reasons are valid unless someone has died!

Specializes in MICU, SICU, CICU. Has 24 years experience.

Another option is to have a snow storm sleepover party at the house of someone near the facility or stay at a nearby hotel with a shuttle. Staying at the hospital for a couple of days is the worst.

We are lucky at my hospital. There are three "apartments" on site for providers or nurses who live out of town and work all weekend or are on call. I have also offered my home to staff because we live less than 3 minutes from the hospital and we have a guest bed and a futon for guests.


14,633 Posts

I've never been asked to, but there have been times I've chosen to over the years, because it was easier and safer for me than trying to get back and forth in bad weather/roads. I have been known to pack a bag and bring it with me to work in case I end up having to stay because the next shift can't make it in. There have been times (working on a small unit with limited staff in a rural area) that night shift staff made it in but I chose to stay and sleep over in case day shift staff the next day weren't going to show up. When I was working for that employer, we were able to sleep in an empty patient room, and there was always food around, so it wasn't any big deal.