How to get to work in a snowstorm? - page 7

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   SmilingBluEyes
    THanks Jill.

    I realize I changed my mind since the last time this topic was posted. I used to say "no way no how" when bad weather hit, they would have to do without me. I guess I have changed my stance since this very harsh winter, having seen some foul weather. I realize I am not the only one who has kids at home and worries about getting there safely. I have decided I should try, however cause everyone has the same concerns I do. Unless there is no way to physically get there, I will at least try.
  2. by   GardenDove
    I live in a heavy snow area and have never missed work due to snow. My advise is to have a 4WD vehicle. Also, leave yourself plenty of time. I live 30-40 minutes from work. I also suggest not living so far from work.
  3. by   jimthorp
    I don't know what my employer's policy is regarding inclimate weather but it really doesn't matter. I make it a point to get to work every day on time.

    In all the years of driving in inclimate weather, sometimes 50+ miles to work, I have never had a problem. When the road surface becomes slick, too many people somehow forget how to drive.

    I have missed a total of one day of work because of the weather. There was a state of emergency and it was illegal for non-emergency personnel to be on the road. I was not a nurse at the time. If I had been, I would have gone to work.
  4. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from afloydrn
    i never realized how many negative responses i would get by asking such a simple question. i'm sorry but i don't feel my job is worth my life and i am sorry for those who do.
    [font="comic sans ms"]oh, for pity's sake! if you "don't feel your job is worth your life," perhaps you shouldn't have taken a position in a hospital where staff are required to be on hand 24/7/365. you chose to take the job. you chose to live 1.5 hours away. you know it snows in michigan! you don't get it, sweetie. i'm sorry for you!

    i wonder how you'd feel about winter driving if you were at work after a 16 hour shift and were suddenly offered the opportunity to go home. would that be "worth your life"? or would you stay at the hospital because you were afraid to drive in the snow. think about it from that angle, and then think about getting to work in the snow!
  5. by   Ruby Vee
    [font="comic sans ms"]it never ceases to amaze me how many of those people who think it's too dangerous (and not worth their life) to drive to work in the snow don't seem to have these hesitations about driving home!
  6. by   GardenDove
    I have to agree. Living 1 1/2 hours from work is quite a ways. That adds 3 hours on to your commute. A big stressor and actually a risk even without that added problem of a snowstorm.

    Where I live, people do commute this distance, across a mountain pass, to work in a major city. They usually do avalanche control in the afternoon, so it works out well. They have 4WD or AWD, and they live with it. The only time they don't make it is if the pass is closed for some major problem. I know a nurse who commutes for 3 12 hr shifts a week, and I know others who commute everyday.
  7. by   BrnEyedGirl
    I live in Missouri,..if you've seen the news we recently had a huge ice storm, national disaster area,.I was personally w/out electricity for 12 days,.I transfered to ER a week before the storm,..ER was in "disaster mode",..I got a call from my supervisor,..pack a bag,.bring my family if I need to, but get to work,..if I couldn't make it they would send someone to pick me up,(I live 45 miles out of town in the middle of nowhere),...I had a room, food, a shower etc,..FEMA showed up on day 3 to allow some of use to sleep and man the emergency shelters,..we are in the process of evaluating how our "disaster" plan actually worked,.they are even considering a plan for employees w/pets,...OOHHH they even offered to do everyones laundry!! All in all it wasn't so horrible,..this doesn't happen often around here (last one in 1986) and I really didn't expect my hospital to step up to the plate,..they did,.I was impressed, of our ER DR's even gave one of our techs $100 and sent them to Wally World (when they finally opened) to buy everyone toothbrushes and underwear!!! was this type of attitude that made this tolerable,.we were all in it together.
    I will say this,..we all feel like family now
  8. by   GardenDove
    My hospital has a similar disaster plan, Cardiac. Last year they made a map to everyone's house, and they have a childcare plan in place for families. If for some reason people couldn't make it, they have a plan to pick everyone up.
  9. by   canoehead
    Quote from delee99

    if we have to work 12 hours for any reason the facility feeds us,

    Ahhhh, if it were only so....
  10. by   Mulan
    Quote from russ11
    I have been a nurse for 27 years...I have never not been able to get to work because of weather. I rarely call in for any reason. In the last 17 years have only been out only 5 days usually with sick kids. That said here are a few of my experiences. Once I was at the hospital when the snow hit...policy said they could hold us for until next shift arrived. I worked 16 hours refused to feed us because the patient cafeteria couldn't figure out how to charge us...patients were giving us food off their trays...worked 24 hours like this until staff revolted and someone called a local radio station that shamed the hospital into feeding us. Worked 16 hours/day for 3 days...we were allowed 8 hour off to sleep and shower ...after 3 days when I was told I could leave the floor I went to my car, put on boots and walked 4.5 miles home. Once EMS brought us into the hospital ...stayed 2 days working 16 hours/ refused to get us home ...had to pay a cab. Hospital required those who didn't have enough money to sign IOU"s for meals from cafeteria. Once I went in on Friday ahead of the storm and got a hotel room with 3 other nurses (150.00 for 2 days split between 4 of us) Worked 16 hours for 2 days. All Administrators and physicians were reimbursed for the hotel but not nurses. 4 nurses for 2 days for $150.00 seemed like a bargin to me...won't do that again. Once was involved in a wreck with a new car when someone slid into me while coming to work to help out (on my day off ) because people further away couldn't make it in badly damaged...2 weeks in the body shop ...$500.00 deductible...won't do that again either . Ever notice that nurses are expected to be on the job but ...all "non essential personnel" are not expected to come ie, laundry, housekeeping, secretaries, operators... are exempt. Often Administrators are not even required to come...they should be required to come and pick up the slack for all the non-essential people they have allowed to stay home...answering phones , getting laundry , passing meal trays.....after all if we don't need them then why do we hire them... For me these are all lessons learned...I will probably still continue to come but I expect the hospital not taking good care of me while I am there... Our administration learned the hard way that if you need to treat staff well because it snows every year and if you don't take care of your staff they won't make the effort to come in ....lkast year administration was in cooking breakfast and putting pizza on the corporate credit card (they struck a deal with local Papa Johns). I have learned "you get what you settle for" They expect me to come.I expect to have plenty of food, supplies, and someone besides me to answer the phone...I also expect the folks that make the big decisions and the big bucks to be on the sinking ship with me.

    My plan: I keep blankets, boots, bottled water and plenty of snack food in my car. I pack an overnight bag with shampoo, hairdryer, clothes as well as extra scrubs. If they pick me up I get the name of the administrator who is going to see that I get home. I work in the ER...there is nothing I can't or won't do. I let them know I am always available for staffing issues but if it is not safe to drive, they have to get me there , feed me and get me home...this is non negotiable. And for the record, you can not be fired for abandonment if you have not assumed the care of the patient.
    I would have to be pretty hard up for a job to continue to work for a hospital that would treat me that poorly.
    Last edit by Mulan on Feb 8, '07
  11. by   Gompers
    I work in the Midwest at a large hospital and what really bugs me is that they DON'T allow us to sleep there or pay for us to sleep at a nearby hotel. We're expected to drive to and from work, as scheduled, no matter what the weather. Now, if I was scheduled for 3 12's in a row, and it was going to be a horrible week of snowstorms, then it would make sense for them to offer me a bed to sleep in between shifts, no? Instead I'm expected to drive home in the blizzard, no matter how long it takes, and drive back again in the same blizzard. This might leave me with only a couple of hours to actually sleep! I always said if they allowed us to sleep in house, and especially if they fed us, that soooo many more people would stay. When I was single and childfree, I'd have TOTALLY stayed for several days if it was bad outside. I'd work 16 hours, sleep for 8, then work another 16, etc. Imagine all the overtime and bonus pay!!! Many of the nurses I know would do the same - it's safer to be inside than outside, and if it means making a ton more might actually be worth it to stay over!

    I did call in this past November during a snowstorm. However, I was 7-1/2months pregnant and already working shorter shifts becuase of my increasing blood pressue, so the last thing I should've done was squeezed my huge belly behind a steering wheel and spent the next few hours white-knuckling my way to work. They understood. What would've happened if I'd gone into labor out there??? Under normal circumstances I'd have been there, for sure.

    I'm lucky that my husband has the kind of job where no one would go in during a blizzard, so if necessary, he'd be home with the children so I could concentrate on work.

    Again, I just really wish my hospital would offer us room and board one of these days...
  12. by   caliotter3
    When I was doing a clinical rotation at a local hosp my preceptor got to sleep in a cleared out area of the hosp. She was doing the reverse commute from me. I commuted 60 mi one way to attend nrsg school, she did the reverse to work. She and several others got to sleep on an entire floor that was empty d/t renovation for future use. The hosp did this as a favor to itself cuz the nurses were doing 12 hr shifts and they were nice and avail if they slept in these beds. The only bad part of it, if some doc intern resident or whatever, had need for one of the beds, a nurse would get booted and have to go somewhere else to hang out until her scheduled shift. My preceptor saved tons of money on gas and upkeep on her car doing this. She stayed down there for her 4 or 5 shifts, then traveled home to be with her family for her weekends. I would think that hosp in snow areas would have provisions for people to sleep or snooze somewhere. I would rather curl up in the morgue or on the floor of the waiting rooms than have to drive back and forth in bad conditions.
  13. by   Daytonite
    don't let my profile fool you. i was born and lived many years in ohio and missouri. i know snow and snowstorms and how to drive in them. my brothers are truck drivers and this is the advice they gave me many years ago about driving in the snow. first of all, don't depend on the freeways being open. know at least one or more alternative routes to get to work (and back home). the roads that the truckers and the busses take are usually chosen because they are kept cleared. leave early--plenty early--if the weather is really bad. if it's snowing and/or the roads are snow covered, put your car in first or second gear and drive at 15 or 20 mph if that is what it's going to take to get you to your destination safely. you have a lot of control over your car when it is in first gear although you are driving slowly. enjoy the scenery. plan on spending your time after you work your shift either at the facility where you work or at a motel rather than driving back home, so take an extra change of clothes. if you do end up working an extra shift at the hospital you will get paid overtime.

    the only time i missed a day of work because of snow was when my car was in the shop and i had to depend on the city busses. the busses actually couldn't get through! that was a very rare thing. i had to be at work at 11pm. i was standing out at the bus stop at 9pm and would have gotten to work around 10pm. by 2am i finally abandoned waiting for a bus to come and went back home and called the hospital. the wind chills were at something like 30 below zero and i was nearly frozen to death.