Snow Day For Nursing?

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

I live in southern California, land of sunny summers almost all year long. Right?  WRONG! I was driving home today when the rain hitting my windshield suddenly started lingering a little longer, looking a little grainier. By the time I noticed that it was icy, it was full blown snowing on the freeway! Like snowing to the point where it was turning everything white, not just melting into brown slush on the road. And while we weren’t cruising at high speeds to start, everything started slowing down. I don’t know if it was just the sheer shock of it all, but we were at a stand still on the freeway for no reason!

Sure it was nice to watch the snow fall while we could, but if you thought Angelenos couldn’t drive in the rain, you should see us in the snow! You would think five miles an hour was speeding down the road at the snail’s pace we were driving at. My question is: to all of you who live in snowy areas, HOW DO YOU MAKE IT TO WORK ON TIME!?!?  I mean, here we account for traffic time when we’re commuting in the morning and at night, but do you have to account for snow time? Do you get used to it and just drive fast? I used to think that snow was fun and exciting, and it would be great to live somewhere where it happened all the time, but now I am having second thoughts.

The thing is with southern California, is that it does snow… just not where most people live. We can go to the mountains for the weekend, enjoy it, and then come back home.  But when you’re surrounded by it, how do you go about your lives? I am genuinely curious. What happens? Can you take a snow day from work if you can’t get out of the driveway? Does it come out of your sick time? What’s it like in places where you really do have a white winter, but life still goes on?

How do you handle snow days where you work? Share in the comments section below.

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.


  1. I grew up in Vermont and have lived all over the place. Texas, Kansas, MD, Washington, Italy, Japan, to name a few and I’ve recently moved back to Vermont. Prepare. Don’t leave the house in clothes that won’t keep you warm. Keep an overnight bag that’s stocked with what you need in case you have to stay some place overnight. Keep your vehicle in good repair and use all season radials. I keep an emergency blanket as well as a thick wool one, a shovel, a small thing of sand, just in case. In the winter months I make sure my windshield wiper fluid and wipers are extra well maintained. Go slow. Allow extra time to get up, clean off/warm up your vehicle and to get there safely. If you move up north? Make sure you get a vehicle that can handle those conditions since we don’t get snow days in the hospital.

  2. NC seldom gets snow but when we do, it’s a big deal for everyone! We got 14 in a couple of weeks before Christmas this year…gone within a week. Since my husband and I both work at the hospital we’ve had an AWD vehicle for more than a decade and front wheel drive vehicles otherwise. If we can’t make it to work because of the weather, our employer doesn’t pay us that day. Most folks try to help each other out by offering a room our couch to sleep on for co workers who live long distances. The hospital offers empty rooms if they have them or cots

  3. As a teenager I was encouraged to go to an empty parking lot and practice handling a car in the snow – jack the brakes, clutch for no reason, sharp turns, swerving – all send the car spinning – and you learn – to pump the brakes gently, counter steer (essential non-intuitive skill), maintain a lower gear, and plan for the unexpected.
    I lived in central Maine for a while. -30 some days. My stethoscope would freeze on the way to work!
    Drive a standard transmission if you can. Much easier to jockey out of a snowbank. Buy ice cleats for your shoes ($5), a reflective blanket ($4), and a pr of emergency treads to jam under the tires stuck in a rut ($15). Learn to love wool and down. Always stop to help push the other guy. Bring a minature snowman in the building for the little old lady who isn’t leaving and a bowl of snowballs for the child who is missing out.

  4. I live in New York, when there is snow make sure to be prepared bundle up leave home a couple of hours early enough time to clean the car. Don’t forget to carry a small snow shovel just in case you get stuck. Make sure you have good snow tires before the winter starts and drive slowly. Don’t worry you get used to it.

  5. I drove 40 miles to work when I lived in Pennsylvania. I only missed work once when the snow was so deep the snow plows got stuck. I drove at a reduced speed so planned accordingly. Once it was so bad I followed a snow plow to get home. Once you learn to drive in snow/ice then it is easier and you never forget. I live in Oregon now and the biggest worry when it snows is the people on the road that have no experience.

    • Yes, the same here when i lived in Pa.,then Minnesota you learn to drive on black icey roads since that is what you get after the snow plows have passed and many cars have traveled those high traffic volume highway road areas.Also a pair of new,heavy duty windshield wiper blades is a must even in cold climates and also in LA.California.

  6. First don’t leave Florida, snow and ice is why I moved here! LOL! But if you must move back up to the cold weather then most of the comments here are accurate. What I would add is to buy Bridgestone Blizzak tires. When I moved to Minnesota I had a Thunderbird. I couldn’t even move on the snow and the ice! It litteraly skidded down hills and barely made it up the other side. Bought those Blizzaks and it became a snow mobile. Truly amazing! Now all my friends laughed at me because true northern people don’t take such actions because it is a way of life to them. But as a newby to the snow and ice driving world you will have much more comfort. The Blizzak is a soft rubber contact patch tire that grips snow and ice very well. You can go with any brand as long as the soft rubber is the same. Good luck! What you really have to watch out for is walking in the ice! LOL!

  7. Cincinnati, Ohio has some crazy, unpredictable weather. We get just enough snow to make drivers overly cautious, but not enough to close down the city. When I worked at the hospital, I still was expected to be on time even in the worst of weather. If we did call off due to weather, we had to use a vacation day. However, the security guys were dispatched to pick up any nurse who claimed she could not make it due to weather conditions. Leaving early, taking your time, and gritting your teeth was the way to go. Good music, hot coffee and using the restroom before heading out were also musts!

  8. I live in the middle of Kansas and only rarely is snow a big deal. No one worries much about snow. The cities are good about clearing roads fairly quickly. So with a little caution and patience getting to work is not a big concern. Police departments and local 4wheel clubs help out in really deep snowfalls. A bigger issue is hail and ice. We’ve had more trouble with that than snow, serious car damages can happen.

  9. I live in metro St. Louis, where snow is no big deal. You plan for it, put extra clothes and blankets in the car, and figure on slowing down. Now on the other hand, ICE is a royal pain in the backside. All you can hope for is to find a salt truck and stay behind it. When there’s ice in the forecast, you bring a couple of changes of clothes and be prepared to stay at work for the duration. Hospitals will put staff up in empty rooms, and when they run out of them they look to hotels within walking distance. Studded tires are illegal in Missouri, unfortunately, and 4×4’s slide just as well as anything else on ice. That’s when we start dreaming of living in warmer climates…..

    • Thanks to everyone who has answered. I live in FL planning to move to the Northeast during the current year so this information is really appreciated.

  10. I lived west of Buffalo, NY for almost all of my life until 2012. You get snow tires to use during snowy weather. Some have metal studs for better traction. In truly rotten weather, we can use tire chains. Four-wheel drive is very nice if you can afford it. You keep your driveway shoveled enough so you can get out. You allow plenty of extra time to put on necessary warm clothing, start your car and let it warm up while you push excess snow off your car, shovel out your car, scrape the ice off your windshield and clear your headlights and taillights. You also allow plenty of extra time to travel as slowly as necessary for safety. You also memorize places in roads that are likely to be icy, and avoid going that way. You make very sure your cellphone is charged and carry warm blankets in your car just in case. You are expected to go to work unless the roads are closed or you literally can’t.

  11. I live in Western Nebraska. Yesterday we had 12-14″ of snow. So… we planned ahead, whipped out the big-ass 4-wheel drive 3/4 ton pickup and go 4-wheeling! It’s a blast. Snow doesn’t scare us. Live out in the country and NEVER late for work. If the county road is blocked, I go across the pasture. ??

  12. I worked in Iowa for almost 20 years. All different kinds of weather happens there. The facilities will tell you they didn’t hire you for fair weather only. Sometimes they would even send workers who had 4×4’s to come get us. What you do is basically what you do for traffic, you keep track of the weather and road reports and adjust accordingly. I only had to sleep at the hospital once and was late less than 5. Its a way of life. Good luck! P. S. , I currently reside near the Mexico border, the worst weather is the wind blowing dust around. I’m sure I’ll adjust.?


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