The one thing they can get you for is patient abandonment if you leave and no one is there to take report/take over your assignment.
I’ve been through several storms. Each one the facilities where I worked offered a sheltered area for staff to sleep, shower (providing there was running water) and shifts were 12-16 hours. I was never mandated to stay as long as my relief showed up at shift change, but you better believe if I left I better make sure my butt was back in that place on time for my next scheduled shift. I was also flex pool so I wasn’t exactly “staff” where the facility chose my hours, but once I committed to my schedule, long before the storm ever formed, I had to be there. If not, I’m sure I would of been canned. We didn’t have team a, team b. We had-if your scheduled to work when it hits that’s your rotation.
when Irma hit the facility I worked for two days a month PRN tried to tie me into a 72 hour team. They did this preparation for storms while Irma was approaching, probably because no plan was in place because we never had a bad storm actually expected to hit us until then. I also had another job at the time, hence why I was two days a month PRN. I got to work and was told, “Oh yeah, you weren’t here so I just put you on team B”. My response, “I work two shifts a month PRN. I’ll work longer if I scheduled myself during the storm or whatever, but I’m not working extra after the fact.” I was then told they were going to check with HR to see if I HAD to, bring licensed. I told them to go ahead, and if the storm did hit and destroy my home that my husband would be accepting a job transfer to the northeast. Either I called their bluff or HR told them they couldn’t force me to work after the storm if I wasn’t scheduled because I heard nothing else about it.
So, I cannot speak legally, but patient abandonment is the only thing they could use. If you reported off on your patients to your relief (assuming they came in to work)then you didn’t abandon them. The hospital CAN fire you and resisting could place a target on your back to get you canned-so you have to be ready to not have that job anymore if that was the case. I was in a position where I was freaking out, this wasn’t my main source of income, and there was a decent chance I would not have a home after the storm passed if it went the way it was looking. My husband was offered a transfer out of state and was considering it. So, my situation was basically screw this I’m protecting my family. I woke up at 6 am the next morning and it was tracking right for us. Me, my husband, and young daughter ended up in a hurricane shelter overnight. I did not sleep. I was watching over my child in a room full of strangers. Luckily, we only got 100mph winds and my home was intact. I did what I had to do for my family so I totally get why you want to know what your legally obligated to do. Don’t abandon you patients and you should be fine...just make sure you have a plan for if you don’t have a job if you don’t comply with their demands.