How to get to work in a snowstorm? - page 2

Hi. I was wondering what your hospitals policy is on snowdays? Ours doesn't have one and I live 1 1/2 hours from work. The highway was actually closed and I was still expected to come in?... Read More

  1. by   kate1114
    Quote from AfloydRN
    Hi. I was wondering what your hospitals policy is on snowdays? Ours doesn't have one and I live 1 1/2 hours from work. The highway was actually closed and I was still expected to come in?
    Not trying to be rude, but I'm wondering why you would think that you would get a pass from work because of the distance to work? Especially living in Michigan which gets a lot of snow?

    We got hit by a 16 inch snowfall here, and had a lot of people who didn't even try to make it in. Even though the huge snowfall had been predicted for days. I understand that some people can't make other arrangements because of family issues, but many of these people didn't have such issues (plus it was a weekend). It really sucks to be working night shift until 10am or later hoping that someone gets through.

    Funny thing was, in our town there was a story in the local newspaper about a Home Depot employee who lived 30 miles away and stayed in a hotel in order to come to work. It amazed me that, even though the hospital provided a place for people to spend the night, very few took them up on it.

    I may have a different perspective. I'm new to a snowy climate. I chose to live in town so I WOULDN'T have to deal with a snowy commute. I realize not everyone can live close, but if you choose to have a career with NO snow days, and you choose to live in the boonies, then you owe it to your co-workers, the hospital, and the PATIENTS to at least make an effort. The work doesn't disappear because you live too far away.
  2. by   Quickbeam
    In general, commute to and from work is not considered work time. In most states it is not time covered by work comp.

    Taken in the broader sense, that holds true for lawyers, accountants, etc. as well. The exception would be if you were a "travel" employee who worked from home. Again, your state may vary.

    I drive an hour each way 4 days a week. I do it for the pension (fabulous) and the 3 day weekends. Most days I love the drive. There are about 5 days a year I wish I was independently wealthy. The rest of the time the job is worth the drive.
  3. by   Medic/Nurse
    Common Sense!


    If I have to be on for a 24 hour shift at 0700 tomorrow and the forecast for driving is hazardous - I go in the night/day/evening (when I can travel safely) BEFORE my scheduled shift. My husband and I both have 4 wheel drive vehicles (his is a large heavy truck), so it is a rare situation that restricts my travel. (Ice!) If that means staying at the base station - thats what I do. But, to be fair we have sleeping/shower arrangements. I have also checked into a hotel from time to time, when I needed my personal space!

    I LIVE about 100 miles from my work, so I really have to think it through. But I only work 2 - 24 hour shifts a week, so that part is pretty great - but travel can be tricky!

    When I was a hospital employee I did the same thing. I know that some facilities use 4 wheel drive volunteers for employee pick-ups, the police/fire departments also helped to pick up employees. We had a snow plan that identified the LOCAL employees - these were the "pick ups". Again, no one from 100 miles away was expected to be there in certain conditions - but, they could not expect that the hospital would pick them up. They had to use PTO if they missed their shift if a trade could not be worked out. But, I also spent 2 weeks being ferried by the National Guard one time, so you have to be flexible! Whatever works!

    The main thing is to be prepared! Everyone working healthcare knows that they are essential and hospitals DO NOT close - so the key is to have a PLAN.

    I also keep a full gas tank, kitty litter (for traction), food/water, blankets and extra clothes, boots, disposable heat packs (dry powder - shake to activate for 12 hours), flashlight (extra batteries), weather radio, cell phone with extra battery and car charger. I also make sure that 2 people are aware of my travel plans, route and expected time of arrival.

  4. by   mom2michael
    Our facility is actually going to explore this whole thing d/t the recent giant power outages d/t snow, ice and sleet we got about 3 weeks ago which left 100,000+ people w/o power for 10+ days. As it stands right now, your manager has the discretion to make this an excused absence, so yes, if you live 10 miles from work - you are expected to be there....if you live far away like me (60 miles) exceptions "might" be made, it just depends really on the situation but regardless, if you call in for weather, you don't get paid - excused absence or not. .

    Since I can't go w/o 12 hours on my paycheck, I must go to work so I call our house supervisor who is awesome and fixes me up with either a motel room or a room in the hospital to stay in for as long as needed. I save on gas, I don't risk dying and the hospital keeps an employee's win, win all the way around.
  5. by   CHATSDALE
    ii have done some dumb things to get to work, we dodged katrina but rita came through in the middle of the night...i had to be to work at 6a but i started out early in case i had to take some detours
    on the way the radio was announced the roads that were closed d/t fallen trees and all i could think about was newspaper headline 'POOR OLD LADY FOUND DEAD UNDER A TREE' made it ok

    on another time the head nurse sent her son to pick up nurses/aides who could not get in d/t to flooded streets..many came in but when it was time to go home their cars were still at home and son was no where to be found
    off duty policeman came in with high wheeled truck and took them home
    today it wouldn't with cell phones it probably wouldn't be a problem
  6. by   AfloydRN
    O.K.- Nowhere in my thread did I say I was looking for an excuse not to go to work. I was simply asking if other people had a snow plan. I worked at our local hospital for 11 years and they are the only show in town. They own everything- clinics, md offices, nursing homes, specialty clinics, etc.. I got tired of being treated like crap and left to a much larger and better facility. The downer is the drive. Everything else is great. We plan to move closer in the spring, but in the mean time I am stuck. And the going in on an earlier shift thing doesn't work for me. We do 12's and I have children.
  7. by   AuntieRN
    When I lived in Mass we were always expected to come in no matter what. They would send out the national guard to get us...we had to figure out how to get home though...but there were many a times when I would go to work from school (I worked 11p-7a at the time) and tell them I am here now find me a place to sleep because if I go home I won't be back...they would I live in SC and when I was hired at the hospital I work at I was told if there was a hurricane or bad weather you were expected to come in regardless and if you tried to call out you were terminated on the spot and reported to the board that you abanded your pts....
  8. by   jill48
    All of the facilities that I have worked at had the current shift nurses stay when the next shift nurses called in. I live in St. Louis and we can get a great deal of snow. Personally, this is my favorite time to work. First of all, I have no qualms about driving in the snow, I love it. Second of all, my kids are old enough now that it would not be a problem for me. Third, this is when I make the most overtime, which I especially need in the winter because my husband has a seasonal job and doesn't get alot of work in the winter. LOVE IT!
  9. by   SmilingBluEyes
    An honest effort is expected. We have to think about the shift needing relief, not just ourselves.

    We have had some record bad weather in Western WA State. Just an inch of snow here is considered a disaster, I swear, and we have had several snow days, enough to lose some spring and summer break days now for our kids at school. Anyhow, in each case where foul, snowy and icy weather was expected, I made arrangements ahead of time, for my kids' care and planned my route to work. I left very early and used my 4 wheel drive and drove at 35 mph the whole way to get there safely. I would not have called out unless there was a blocking incident literally blocking my way to get to work (in some cases this was true, cause there was a horrible wind storm and 1000s of downed trees and power lines paralyzed several communities around Seattle-Tacoma for days).

    I know other nurses who lived further who stayed the night before a shift, or after, at the hospital to be safe and be able to make it to work. They used empty rooms or beds in sleep rooms and worked their shifts.

    I do have to laugh, growing up in Chicago, where FEET of snow fell, not inches, and it stopped nothing. Here an inch and Seattle is paralyzed.

    Sure there are times you can't help not making it, but you should plan ahead. The bottom line is, an honest effort should be made. The other shifts also have personal lives and kids/loved ones depending on them, too.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Feb 6, '07
  10. by   allantiques4me
    You cant work closer to home?I live 5 minutes from my job.It makes life so much easier.
  11. by   RNsRWe
    Quote from AuntieRN I live in SC and when I was hired at the hospital I work at I was told if there was a hurricane or bad weather you were expected to come in regardless and if you tried to call out you were terminated on the spot and reported to the board that you abanded your pts....
    A tad off topic, but this caught my attention: Maybe it's different in different states, but here in NY you CANNOT be accountable for patient abandonment if you have NOT ACCEPTED that patient assignment. If you haven't yet stepped in the door to the hospital, how on earth can you have established a patient-nurse relationship for that shift?? Sounds like a hollow threat, and I've never taken kindly to such from any employer. Ever.
  12. by   bethin
    I make an honest effort. But living on a dead end one lane road that does not get plowed makes it impossible sometimes. We have been snowed in for a week before and had to hike it 2 miles to the nearest convience store.

    If I think I can make it in, but not sure I can make it back I pack a bag of everything I would need.

    I don't mean to be rude, but doesn't the National Guard have better things to do than play chauffer? I understand the hospital needs to be staffed, but is it worth their time to drive an hour each way so I can work an 8 hr shift? I have never heard of anyone in the area using the National Guard to get to work. I would rather stay and work a double than work for 8 hrs and have to face the drive home.
  13. by   RNsRWe
    Regarding what the snow policy is for my hospital, I actually don't know! Something that's crossed my mind from time to time is finding OUT.

    Normally, NYS is totally buried in snow many times by this time of year. This season has been truly bizarre in that we've gotten not more than a few dustings. FEET is normal, dustings....not.

    I remember hearing radio announcements in past snowstorms (or just prior to them) asking volunteer drivers with 4-wheel drive to contact them (or hospital number, whatever) if people were able to help get nurses to and from work under those conditions. I always wondered about the bravery of such people, when I myself was often terrified at getting behind the wheel of my own car to get myself to work (which I always did, rare bird that I am, lol).

    I'm reasonably sure the official policy is "get your butt in there, period". And the unofficial policy is "if you don't get your butt in there, the previous shift is gonna kill you when you eventually DO show up"! Speaking as someone who works 12 hour nights on a busy unit I sure wouldn't want to hear why the next crew wasn't going to be in for a few more hours...