Ask the nursing expert... How to get staff to work during bad weather, and how to deal with tardy worker

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Ask the nursing expert
Ask the nursing expert

We have just had a run of very bad weather and, as usual, I had several nursing staff call off work. Department heads are never encouraged to come in and help us out. Do you have any suggestions on how to help staff to understand that we are a 24-hour facility, even in bad weather? 

This is an age-old problem. I make sure we have staff meetings twice yearly that address “bad weather scenarios.” I set up a couple of teams to do a skit on how to handle a power outage, from loss of power to staffing and a “blizzard scenario,” with problem solving within.

I always make sure that, as DON, I am in the building during a natural disaster. I often have to come in before the storm begins, to set the tone. 

Remind staff that residents need to feel safe during bad weather, just as we do.

What would you suggest I do with a nurse aide who is young, great with residents and has great potential ahead of her, but just cannot seem to get to work on time? 

I have had many of this type of new workers who cannot see the value of punctuality! The facility disciplinary process just doesn't seem to catch their attention. Terminating them does not usually correct the problem. They just move on to another facility and practice the same behavior. 

I often make an appointment to meet with them to discuss such things as their career goals and how they plan to reach their goals. Topics such as professionalism, commitment, quality, punctuality, and attitude are always discussed. 

The meeting needs to be interactive to include their views as to the importance of their role in each of these areas. Perhaps then they will make a better effort at punctuality.

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