People will discuss the enormous amount of snow that fell on the East Coast during January 2016 for some time to come. It was predicted, and the snowfall lived up to the hype. My daughters have lived with healthcare professionals their entire lives, and they know that healthcare providers do not get a day off just because the weather is bad. There are no snow days. Patients are still sick. Many people do not stop to think about the sacrifices and extra time it takes healthcare providers to get to work during inclement weather. Just prior to the big snow, there had been a smaller one in St. Louis. My oldest daughter spent an extra 90 minutes getting to work. She was not compensated financially for the extra time, and it was undoubtedly stressful. It’s part of being a responsible nurse and healthcare professional.

When the big snow was forecasted, as a parent, I felt compelled to call my middle daughter who works as a nurse in Washington DC. I needed to provide her with important information about staying safe and being prepared during the impending storm. Unknown to me, my husband was calling his daughter at about the same time. I have no doubt she was frustrated that we felt the need to give her this unsolicited advice, but sometimes it’s good to think about being prepared. Where we live in St. Louis, there are tornadoes that often arrive with little preparation time. We go to the basement and wait it out. The snowstorm was different. My daughter knew it was coming.

Both her father and I reminded her that she should have extra water available, warm blankets, matches, candles, flashlights, and food among other things. I think she was reasonably prepared and luckily did not need the items. She was one of the fortunate ones that did not lose power.

This got me thinking. We all should have some supplies that are easily accessible should power be lost or it becomes impossible to go out and get other supplies. It’s important to have a plan—even more so for people with healthcare needs.  An adequate source of medications and supplies that will last throughout an emergency, whether anticipated or not, could make all the difference. 

My daughter assured me they were prepared. She sent me pictures to prove it. Since there was no public transportation and she had to go to work, she walked about 2.5 miles to get there. She dressed warmly, and I think she enjoyed the view and solitude on the way. It took her much longer to get there than usual, but she arrived on time and ready to work. Hopefully her patients appreciated it.

The snowstorm of January 2016 was a reminder that we need to be prepared. It’s about promoting safety. We, as nurses, need to remind our patients to be prepared too. There are suggestions and tips for being prepared. Take time to look at them, and actually be prepared.