Sandy Storm whom do I serve?

  1. Sandy storm is en-route I feel it's strength echo in the wind that cautions me vigilance. My husband ,who is a the NYPD , has already been called in and is expected to be on duty for a minimum 48 hrs. I am here with my children and received "that" call, the one where I am sitting here wrestling with whom do I serve?

    My area of work is an off site facility but as we are on disaster status I am expected to show up .The the hospital requires me to be in at 7am prepared to stay there through Tuesday am. The hospital has no concern for my children or situation that would mean in my case they would be left here alone. I ask myself questions like "Is it abandonment to not show up? Could I be fired ? Where do I stand legally if I choose my children's safety over patient's? As I sit here contemplating I am also thinking I know I can't be the only nurse making this decision tonight.

    I consider, Have I not shown up before for emergencies through my 20 years of service. I have walked through snow to my thighs to receive a 25 pt load because only myself and one other nurse felt it our duty to show up.I have arrived in a blackout, on my night off ,in 2 different colored flip flops because it was all I could find scrambling in the dark.There I was left manning the ED cardiac unit alone with 2 active chest painers and no doctor in sight. I stood in the ED on 9/11 waiting for patients while my own husband was down there and I didn't know if he was safe.

    I am aware as I'm writing this I am relieving my own conscience that the truth is I have already decided that this time I am not going to show up.

    For weeks after hurricane Katrina I thought of the nurse's those who both stayed and those that didn't and how they each felt as the water gradually rose up. I couldn't in my own heart arrive at a decision would I have stayed with vented patients or raced home to my family instead.

    So I am inviting a discussion that when faced with an emergency is the call to serve greater or to serve family first? Personally, I am not leaving my children,my mind is made up but the consequences of the decision I am yet to find out
    Last edit by brian on Oct 29, '12
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    About echoRNC711

    Joined: Sep '12; Posts: 229; Likes: 639


  3. by   zephyr9
    Your heart made your decision for you this time.
    You've paid your dues, nothing to prove! May your decicion be honored by all. Hope your husband stays safe too.
    Last edit by zephyr9 on Oct 28, '12 : Reason: correction
  4. by   Rose_Queen
    Sounds like you've made the decision, just hope you're ready for the potential backlash from your employer.

    For those with children, in an event where there's ample warning, I just have to wonder why contingency plans aren't made. I get thinking "it's just a job" but if the consequence of not going to work is losing your job, how will you then provide for your children?
  5. by   Mulan
    How about going in and taking your children with you?

    The facility may be the safer place to be.
  6. by   echoRNC711
    Fortunately for me the bridge will be closed so the decision has been made for me. While I describe my own dilemma in arriving at my own decision my post goes on to ask more important questions worth thinking about for all of us like-.

    Can you be fired? Is it abandonment? What would you do? Where do you draw the line with duty ?When faced with a choice of family or pts what would you pick?
  7. by   Rose_Queen
    Can you be fired?

    -Yes, if the facility policy allows for it.

    Is it abandonment?

    -No, you would have to accept and receive report on an assignment. Doesn't mean there aren't hospitals out there that wouldn't threaten to report one for abandonment for not coming to work.

    Where do you draw the line with duty?

    -If I can get there safely, I'll get there. If I find downed wires/ impassable roads from either downed trees or flooding and no alternative route (I have about six or seven ways I could get to work) works, then I'll call off, but I can do so with a clear conscience because I've put effort into getting there.

    When faced with a choice of family or pts what would you pick?

    -I don't really know, and I suspect that's the case for many: we just won't know until we have to make that choice. My "kids" all have four legs, so obviously they can stay home alone.
  8. by   echoRNC711
    Thank you that was helpful.

    Regarding the last question ,I'm inclined to agree with you that its case by case.When I worked in ICU's it was an instant decision to say yes.Now being off site ,with my own area closed for the storm,I don't feel that sense of responsibility to the hospital that I used to. (nor do I feel I would be of great help as I don't even have access to pc or med pic .

    I guess it's like earlier poster said you have to follow your heart.
    Last edit by echoRNC711 on Oct 28, '12 : Reason: spelling
  9. by   MomRN0913
    My child comes before anyone else. If I work a job that would fire me after 20 years of service because I had to take care of my kids in a state of emergency, I wouldn't care to be working for them.I also feel everyone's circumstances are different. Both you and your husband have essential employee jobs. Someone needs to be home with the kids. These situations need to be considered. It's real life. Taking turns in each situation such as this makes sense. Anyways, to answer your question, hands down, my family over patients, no doubt.
  10. by   MomRN0913
    And my prayers are with your husband that he stays safe during this storm: I'm in northern NJ, and my dad and his wife life directly on the beach in the Rockaway park NY and refused the mandatory evacuation. I'm home alone, and my 5 year old daughter is with my ex husband because it's the safest place for her. He doesn't live in a flood zone, and I live in a major one. I'm freaking out not having my baby with me, but I need to do what's right for her. He's a court officer in downtown Brooklyn and luckily they closed court.I'm a HH nurse and my job is open this morning. I can't afford to leave and not be able to come home and my car is parked in the center of town and I can't get to it without walking through 50 mile an hour winds. I'm taking a personal day for the sake of keeping myself safe, not only for me, but for my daughter.
  11. by   CrunchRN
    Tough choices.
  12. by   ktwlpn
    When our son was young my husband and I took turns during storms and illness.You are doing the same,it's your husbands turn to go in and yours to stay home with your family.Good luck
  13. by   lockheart678
    I don't live anywhere near the coast, so I've never had to deal with hurricanes, but I have had my fair share of snow and ice making it nearly impossible to get to the hospital. I've always been able to make it so far, although one time it was only because my dad had a big 4wd truck that could plow through the stuff, while the whole city looked like armageddon had struck. Every time it gets bad, the hospital reminds us all that we are essential personnel and we have to go, no matter what. Honestly though, in my case, I would never give my life just to make it into work. If it is that dangerous out there, what good am I if I just go and get myself killed trying to make it to work? They can fire me if they want, but at least I'll live to tell about it.

    I don't have kids, but if I lived in a hurricane prone area and my workplace didn't accommodate me and let me bring my kids to a safe place, I'm sorry but work would be the last thing on my mind. Family always comes first. I remember reading a blog written by a nurse who stayed behind and worked through Katrina. Everything she described was so frightening, I don't know how any of the staff members did it. There were so many instances where they could have been killed, and it seemed like they barely made it out alive. If I went through such a traumatic experience, I don't think I'd ever be able to work at a hospital again.
  14. by   monkeybug
    My husband and I both have essential jobs, but I would be absolutely comfortable leaving my little one with my parents or his parents. If I can get out of my neighborhood, I will be there. My big issue with my hospital is that they will NOT provide transportation (they used to send out the guard or the sheriff's department for nurses, now we have no such options) and they simplly tell us we are expected to come while the weather is still good and pay for our own hotel rooms. Nope. Sorry, not going to happen. If you want to provide empty patient rooms for us to stay in, I'll come stay as long as you want. But I am NOT going to to pay to work.

    If I didn't have a viable option for my child, then work could go hang. My child comes first in my life, because no one else is going to but him first.