Don’t Bother Coming…

This guest post is by ‘The Supervisor’ and entry in our non-fiction writing contest .

I work in a little known position in a medium-sized hospital. I am called a ‘House Supervisor’. Almost all hospitals have one nurse (The Supervisor) who is in charge of EVERYTHING that goes on in a hospital 24/7. We do everything from getting new patients food late at night to walking into surgery and stopping inappropriate procedures. Doctors generally obey the Supervisor, or it can become uncomfortable for them. Supervisors are loved, adored, and feared. There was once a totally incompetent nurse who was never disciplined by their unit manager until a Supervisor was alerted. The nurse was terminated within 18 hours of the Supervisor’s notification, no questions. We know how to run a hospital and how a hospital runs.

Here are some notes for readers to consider:

When we have a ‘disaster drill’ at my hospital, we are commended on our ability to perform the necessary duties to control the situation by the County Office of Disaster Management. When they leave, we all know that if it was a real disaster, it would have been a total failure. Drills are controlled, disasters are pandemonium.

If even a medium disaster strikes, ALL hospitals within the area, and for some distance around, will be overwhelmed. Our hospital has 110 beds and usually runs at 80 to 90% full. Those ‘extra’ beds are actually in rooms for storage and generally not ready for anyone to stay in. Ten extra patients will close us…period. Yes, we can stack people in the halls and parking lots but that brings us to another problem, Staffing.

When we run at 90% full we frequently have to call in ‘registry’ nurses who are unfamiliar with our equipment and procedures. It is not that we don’t have staff, it is because they themselves have worked so many OT hours they are too tired to take an extra shift. The Staffing office of our hospital will frequently call almost every nurse to see if they will come in and even do PART of a shift. Bonuses are offered too and frequently turned down. When you are too tired you are unsafe. A tired nurse is a dangerous nurse.

But let’s say you make it to the hospital during the disaster. Everyone else will be coming here too, the injured, the scared, drug seekers, and the unprepared. Except the staff. They are not coming in. Many comments are made during trainings of, ‘I won’t be coming in’, ‘I will be taking care of my own’, ‘Forget about it’ or, ‘I live too far away’. The only ones who will be there are the ones who were on shift at the time and a few dedicated staff who will do what it takes to get to the hospital.

At the height of the ‘Bird Flu’ scare my wife was concerned for my safety. She said ‘What will you do?’ I said, ‘My job’.

Which brings us to the next issue, Transportation. Many of our staff live 20 miles or more from the hospital. If there is any disruption in transportation, no one will be able to come in to relieve the staff who are currently on duty. During Katrina, at least one hospital’s staff worked five days straight without power or relief. That is 120 hours. I was told they took cat naps to try to be somewhat functional. No power, no sewer, no refrigeration for the dead.

We are fortunate that our hospital actually owns many houses surrounding the facility and many staff live in ‘hospital housing’. The only thing is that if they are busy caring for their own or simply saying ‘forget about it’, there is no way to force them to come in. Without transportation, many of our staff simply live too far away to even try walking to work.

Once you get here you can feel certain we have power. We have a diesel generator capable of powering the hospital with enough fuel to last 30 days. If it breaks down we have a smaller backup generator capable of powering the ICU (12 beds) and a few other outlets for about 35 days barring a malfunction. Otherwise, no power, and certainly none to spare to ‘charge your cell phone and game boy’ with.

Regulations require hospitals to have 96 hours of food on hand. Four days of ‘normal’ operations. If we get an influx of injuries, their loved ones who bring them in, and the generally needy, our food supply will be exhausted much faster. No other food supplies are available and the closest grocery store is four miles away and we all know what happens to grocery stores in a disaster…

Also, when you arrive you need to know that currently there are MANY medications in very short supply right now nation wide. We don’t have many common medications and will quickly run out of what we have. Being a medium to small hospital we will not be re-supplied any time early or even late in a disaster. Even though we are located in a famous region of the U.S. you are still in the ‘sticks’ and it will take a long time to get anything here.

Law enforcement and crowd control? Don’t bet on it. There are about two Sheriff Deputies and two Highway Patrolmen in the area, besides, they will be very busy. Hospital Security team? Nice guys but the Chief and maybe two others have training. The others really don’t have any and you don’t get much for $10 an hour except to hear the latest hospital gossip.

What to do? Get yourself prepared, at least for a small disaster.

Learn first aid and any advanced first aid you can get. Get a first aid kit that contains 15-30 days of your medications. Be sure there is enough for a couple of friends just in case they need your help.

Have some food and water on hand specifically for a disaster. It easy to have some cans of food and dried food like ramen on hand. Not too nutritious but its filling. Water: Water is what the human body runs on. Three days without water and your dead. Have a case stored somewhere and a few bottles in every vehicle. I have a small travel trailer and I keep the fresh water tank full. I have 26 gallons of fresh water, always waiting for me if there is a problem with the supply.

Meet your neighbors and find out who they are. On my block there are three Nurse Practitioners! Handy to know if I get hurt (one is OB/GYN so I don’t think she can help me!!). Get to know your local Police. The officers who patrol your neighborhood need to know who you are and that you belong there. Also, if they know you, they may be more willing to help you. I once told a police officer who was an acquaintance of mine, I thought there was a house in the neighborhood selling drugs. He told me he and his partner rode bikes through town at night for fun and they would check it out. About two weeks later the people were gone from the house. It pays to know people.

Be sure everyone in the family has a plan of what to do in a disaster. I recently slipped a plan for my wife (who is definitely not into preparing) in to her purse. She came home that night and made fun of me for being all ‘weirded out’ on disaster. The next morning thanked me because she at least knew I was worried about her. I spend many hours at the hospital and the chances I will be home during a disaster are almost zero!! I have accumulated a small disaster package in the shed and one for each vehicle we own. I won’t go into details because there are lists ad nauseum on the internet.

Bottom line. Don’t come to the hospital unless it is a life or death event. You won’t get much help and you may be worse off than if you stayed in your home and took care of yourself. Get prepared. The Lord takes care of those who take care of themselves. He also takes care of fools and children but hopefully you are not the first one listed!!!

As for me, I will probably be at that hospital doing my job…pray for me.

This contest will end on August 7 2012 – prizes include:

First Place : 1 Year Subscription to AlertsUSA, 1 Radiation Safety Package consisting of the following;  (1) NukAlert Radiation Monitor and Alarm (5) Radsticker Peel and Stick Dosimeters (1) Box Thyro Safe Potassium Iodide. All courtesy of AlertsUSA. A $150 gift certificate for Federal Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner Ammo. And a British Berkefeld water fillter system courtesy of  LPC Survival. A total prize value of over $700.

Second Place : A six pack Entrée Assortment courtesy of Augason Farms, a Nukalert courtesy of Shepherd Survival Supply and a WonderMill Grain Mill courtesy of Kitchen Kneads. A total prize value of over $550.

Third Place : A copy of each of my books “31 Days to Survival” and “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat” courtesy of The Survivalist Blog dot Net and “Kelly McCann’s Inside the Crucible Set” courtesy of Paladin Press. A total prize value of over $200.

Contest ends on August 7 2012.

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. Best article in a while. Most all have been really good.

    With a few family members and friends in the medical field I have definitely heard stories about the “Supervisor”. Like the Seargents in the military, they keep it all going and are generally un-appreciated.

    …which brings me to one of my strongest sentiments after reading this. If you are willing to risk yourself and leave your family for something it is most definitely NOT a JOB.. Don’t take this a bad way, but it is somehow destructive for committed people in such fields calling their role a “job” – especially soldiers (another rant). I understand it is due to a sense of modesty and humility (in some cases false modesty). But,
    were it not for people with a morality and sense of commitment to their “profession” ( still weak – “calling” or “duty” is better) then the whole system would break down.

    SO the system (including the hospital system) is controlled by the corporate and govt elite ( AKA Facists) who continue to implement policies of all sorts that erode the health care professional’s motivation to be ‘committed’ – all the while the ones that might call it a ‘job’ (like you) really are passionate and / or morally committed to make it all work. This could be applied to any profession “John Galt” style, but in health care/medicine some big chips are on the table.

    Glad to know there are still some folks in it with a real sense of committment and please know that some of us know it is not really a “job”.

    Just imagine how it “could be” if the whole hospital system was actually managed and operated with the purpose of providing good care.

    • Down here , I have seen a lot of hospitals close because of the dirty ass wetbacks . Obomie the Commi just wants Mexico to have free accesses to our country without restriction ……….That muslim marxist is the most anti American , anti white , human being to ever disgrace elected office . Dark days indeed ( pun intended ) My doctor volunteers at a local hospital and he told me that its illegal to even ask if a person is a citizen or not , even if its obvious to a blind man and they have no identification to show anybody , not to mention they dont speak a word of english .

      • robert in mid michigan says:

        sorry have to totally disregard your comment as it is simply a racist rant and or you believe that we all are of a similar persuasion. sorry most people on this sight could care less what color your skin is, or the presidents for that matter. we disagree with his policies and that is what we judge him by.

        if you are trolling for like minded folks you might want to go somewhere else you will have better luck. most wont reply choosing to simply ignore you rather than lend any credance to your racist remarks.

        the pack is better than this, may god bless you and show you that he does not see the color of a persons skin but rather the color of thier soul.

        • Awwwwwwwwww isnt that sweet .

          • Don’t feed the trolls

            • LOL , I dont mind , I have plenty of Purina Troll chow , Im a scorpio and will take it as far as they want to , you should know by now I dont back down ……especially when I’m right . Besides , its a fast way to make the closet libs blow their cover . They actually think that by saying ” Now ! now ! , you bad man ! ” is going to change the way I think , or those that wont be as open as I happen to be’s mind or beliefs one iota . Its more for them to show ( and prove ) how well they have been PC brainwashed . People of all races self segregate for a reason . We dont like each other .
              Cheers !

        • Couldn’t agree more Robert!!! I don’t know, but I do believe we have diversified mix here and while some may have their opinions of others races those opinions do not belong here and do not help me or anyone else get prepped and increase the knowledge of the group.

        • farmmomwannabe says:

          Robert in mid MI, Very well said, thank you, I couldn’t have done better.

          BTW, how is the weather (drought) there? We are supposed to be heading that way next week to camp!

          Thank you, fmwb

          • robert in mid michigan says:

            hot, hot, hot possible rain sat. and more heat over 100 today and humid

            • farmmomwannabe says:

              yuck…..we pick our times so well. We so hoped Michigan would be cooler this year. Hopefully no wildfires, at least.
              Thank you for the answer, Robert in mid MI

        • axelsteve says:

          His rant may have sounded racist but they are absolutly true.Hospitals have gone bankrupt from treating illegal aliens and that is a fact. From free baby delivery to emergency room treatment the hospitals in some areas rarely get a paying customer.Michigan might have that problem with muslims,I do not know.

          • robert in mid michigan says:

            its a problem yes but to refer to them as wetbacks and all that garbage talk isnt required sorry did not read his post as his opening statement offended me, he has the rite to say it but i also have the rite to ignore it.

            muslims may be a problem in detroit area but the limited dealings i have had with them have always been polite and respectful on both our parts, i ask about thier religion not to offend but for understanding and they normally answer openly and straight forward, of course if they were terrorists i doubt they would act any differantly. most have left the middle east to flee the hardline muslims and if they can condemn terrorism i have no problem with them or thier religion. all religions have the seedy side its all in how you interpret your holy book and live your life.

            god bless

            • Live more , Bible thump less ……….just sayin .

            • Over permissive , PC indoctrinated people like you , are why so many people are prepping . Just sayin ……….when as a society and culture you lower your standards …………Whats going on now is the result .

      • Tinfoil Hat says:


        It’s a good thing speech is free, because I can’t imagine anyone paying for yours. This site is about Surviving hard times and helping yourself and others. It has a Libertarian bent, so in all likelihood, you’ll not be flamed for your statements because we respect your inherent and God-given rights to make ignorant, ill-informed suppositions we disagree with. That said, I’ll finish my post with a favorite saying of my old man. “It’s racists like you that make rednecks like me look bad.”

        • alikaat says:

          Thank you, TH.

          • LOL !!! aren’t we all self righteous ……………anybody ever heard the term baiting ? LOL

        • Cold Warrior says:

          You might want to try the “SHTF Plan” site. Lot’s of Race hate going on there, but not here.

          I was a O.R. medic in Viet Nam and all the Black, Mexican, White, and Oriental soldiers bled the same color blood for this country.

          Hey, I understand your dislike about what is going on at the border, but place the blame on Washington for not enforcing the laws.

          • Did you or did you not get the baiting part …………fun either way . Im an a$$hole , but im comfortable with that . At any case , dont tell people how to think . Also , at what point did you become the owner of this site …………congratulations on your promotion , Im going to miss MD .

          • Oh…….BTW , I hate to burst your bubble , but they fought for their politicians ……………NOT their country . Their country was never at any time , in danger of anything . Most were drafted and didnt want to be there . They did their duty , but you cant tell me that deep down they didnt know in their heart that it was all for nothing . That wasn’t exactly a WW2 situation where the country WAS in danger . Jefferson warned us about ” entangling alliances ”

            Call me what you want , but war is like sports in this respect……..if your not there to win ………dont show up . Im not blaming the soldiers …but I think you get my drift .

        • Grandpappy says:

          That is classic-you ought to copyright it. Thanks from another anti-racist redneck with libertarian sympathies. Although I’ve had a mind burp that keeps erupting..”libertarians are too Aynal!”

          • I’m not a racist , Every time I see one of my black friends starting to get sick . I put them in the back of the truck and take them to the vet right away . ( Bait )

        • Then you aren’t a redneck , your just a guy that lives out in the sticks or small town burg , that makes you a goober , gomer , or an ” okie ” …………….. not a true redneck . Im a true redneck .
          Stars & Bars !

  2. Christy says:

    Wonderful post! Thank you so much for your service, HS. And thank you for pointing out another link in the network of care that makes our society the greatest, safest, most merciful and beneficial in history, despite its flaws. When things go terribly wrong, those of us who can maintain will do so, and you and your beloved fellow “sheepdogs” will look after those who can’t.

    M.D., your disc “….I Feel Fine” arrived and I’m feeling fine …. and more enabled than ever. Thank you also for telling us what we need to know, day after day after day through this blog. Awesome.

  3. My insurance won’t let me have an extra months supply of meds. I most certainly can’t afford to pay for many of them out of pocket. I have found a way around this problem, but that, too, is a little problematic.

    • JP in MT says:

      I would talk with my pharmacist. Most will tell you (and your insurance company) that it is cheaper to do a 3 month supply than monthly. Mine finally did. Plus my co-pay is per prescription fill or refill so a 90 day supply saves me money too.

    • Screw the system , order them on line .

  4. I know on my ins it has me get a 90 day supply and it is usually able to be refilled at least 7-10 days before I run out, so I make sure to get it filled at the first available date and then put away the extra for the long term. I get an extra months worth each year that way and rotate them out to stay as fresh as it can. So check when you are able to refill your scripts and you may be able to put some away. My two are for blood pressure and I am activley trying to lose weight and excercise more to get off of them. That is the way to be truly prepped , to not need meds at all.

  5. livinglife says:

    In my industry we have lots of back up generators. During one particular natural event we started losing cell towers. As the crew got out there they discovered people had cut locks, fences, broke down doors and stole the generators along with the fuel.
    It wouldn’t take much to steal the diesel, large generators will probably be safe but without something to run on…
    Regardless of what we do to secure them, people are determined to steal them when they lose power.
    Your stay at work may be shorter than anticipated.

    • 2heavyb says:

      Your missing one point. The towers are often out of sight or or located in remote areas. Its more likely people would notice dirt bags hauling off the hospitals generators

  6. CountryGirl says:

    My insurance allows me to refill my prescription after 90% of the pills are used. I have done this consistently for over two years and have about 180 days extra.

  7. my country obviously will be worst in a disaster (our health care system is already at its worst sans a disaster!) and thank you for re-aligning my mindset on this. Having identified “common-occurring illness” (those they usually get when weather changes or during summer etc., like my daughter will have rashes during hot there,s Caladryl for her…), I have worked up to stock on these little by little until I have a “comfortable” stock…I will renew my First-Aid and CPR training from Red Cross when they offer it..your article helped me get reminded on that, Thanks Sup!, agree with Scout, one of the best so far…

  8. recoveringidiot says:

    Thank you for confirming what I had already figgured out while spending lots of time with my late father in different hospitals, some large and some small. It appears to me that if they are not running at near capacity they can’t make enough money to keep the corp types happy. No room for anything out of the everyday needs and sometimes they can’t even handle the normal days problems.

  9. JP in MT says:

    I used to work security at the local hospital and built up a good relationship with 2 of the 3 “Nursing Supervisors”. At least that’s what they called them, and they worked in rotation. And I can tell you that the one that took a dislike to me, made my job a lot harder. She was calling my boss just about every time that we ended up working at the same time. I finally narrowed the “problem” down, and with the help of the other 2 got it to quit. So I do have a bit of understanding about the line: “Supervisors are loved, adored, and feared.”.

    Thanks for the insight. Most people don’t understand logistics and just assume that support services have some kind of “magic room” where all the stuff comes from (the same with some employees). I ran a supply room for a military training facility and 9 out of 10 of the people I serviced didn’t understand how it worked. They best compliment I ever got was from my replacement who said I had spoiled everybody because I could anticipate needs and have the supplies on hand, even for emergencies.

  10. button crazy says:

    After our recent experience with the medical system. I hope that I never get very ill. With the National Drug Shortage you could die before the drug could be found in a emergency. You are very right don’t go to the hospital during a emergency if you handle it at home. I have a 180 days of my prescriptions plus the bottles that I am taking out of. I also have common over counter pills that we might need. First aid kit along other first aid items purchased off the counter. Most people have no idea of the logistics of this nation. That most factories get the parts on the day that they are going to make items. Supermarkets might have three days of items, maybe. But not all items. Next big item will be if they pass that treaty with Nato about guns. Watch out 2nd amendment. Watch out for your guns to be taken by the govt. This country is being dismantled faster than we can keep up with the freedoms they are doing away with. This was a great post.

    • Treaties DO NOT, repeat, DO NOT supercede the US Constitution. Look it up. I’ve posted that link on Facebook in a few different threads. That doesn’t mean the Govt/ UN won’t try, but don’t buy into the bull manure!!

      • button crazy says:

        That constitution up holds the treaty over Federal and State Law. I will do some research on this subject. The person that i heard it from seems to know what they are talking about.

  11. Depending on how bad and what the disaster is , but this will be true of the Cops as well . They have their own families to consider and many will not show up for work when push comes to shove . They understand when a situation is untenable and their presence of no value . In other countries during civil war , the cops pretty much just do what they are told , weather the occupying force is loyalist or rebels ……….its an unenviable position , but they feel like they can still help their neighbors in some way by staying on the job .

  12. Get to know the people who work in the offices that no one ever thinks about, medical records, radiology, laboratory and executive offices. You may be surprised at the amount of food and water that is housed in these areas. I know that at one time in the medical records department where I was working, every person in the office had a jar of peanut butter and crackers in their desk. Along with other food items as well. Lots of workers bring their lunches and leave things that weren’t eaten in their desks for a snack or for lunch for another day.

  13. Your insight into the health care system is right on target and will only worsen with full implementation of the AHA. We are facing a shortage of Dr.’s already and I don’t see any improvement in the foreseeable future. Some medical providers have already decided to quit practicing due to the AHA. Even some nurse practitioners are considering quitting or retiring all together.

    I look for nurse practitioners to fill some of the void but even these professionals will eventually get burned out. Nurses already are overworked in many facilities, and almost every major hospital has positions open for RN’s which can’t be filled. Overworked tired nurses are not safe or effective in their jobs and pose a safety risk to their patients.
    I worry that more foreign medical personnel will be allowed to enter the US due to the shortage. Some of these folks do not have the rigorous education that medical professionals in the US possess and this concerns me.

    As a nurse myself, I emphasize with each of the points outlined in your article. The assessment you made regarding broken down beds and empty rooms is accurate in many institutions. Each hospital I’ve worked in (large medical centers) have 1 or more rooms that are missing equipment and have been filled with broken beds and equipment. I worked in one magnet institution where on Friday nights the ER would send up 2 or more patients at one time and it created a mad scramble to accommodate them.
    Rural hospitals would to me be even less likely to accommodate multiple casualties in a disaster. If someone decided to travel through or to a major city they may find it problematic.

    I agree with you that everyone who is able should learn basic first aid, CPR and have some basic supplies available to help their families, friends or even neighbors where possible. The Red Cross offers first aid classes in many communities for a nominal fee which for those with no prior experience are beneficial. You can only get so much out of a book, at some point practice comes into play. I can still remember one of my old nursing professors “see one, do one, teach one”.

  14. Cosmolined says:

    Simply a Great article! My youngest son was born at Kaiser Sunset in Hollywood the night of the ’92 riots. As my wife was in labor, we watched events unfold on the TV. By 11 PM looking out the window, three hills over was on fire. Maybe an hour later, two hills over was on fire. I went down to look at “security”. That consisted of two very frightened, unarmed private guards standing in shock looking at the automatic doors which were stuck open as the smoke rolled into the corridor.
    My son was born about 1 AM. Roughly 2 AM, a nurse came in and said they didn’t have staff enough to care for him or my wife and we had to go home with the additional tidbit to bring my son back in a week so they could do the paperwork on his birth.
    Your article accurately describes what happened to my family in a relatively small event. In a major event like the New Madrid Fault or the Big One here in SoKal, your message will save lives. Thank You. Cos

  15. This is the best article I’ve read yet–and one of the most common sense ones. It puts it right there what you can expect in a disaster for help and the best reason to prep I’ve read yet! I have family who work or have worked in the medical field. Many would act the same way, and have the same transportation problems you’ve talked about. And some of them would be worried about their own families too. Good people or not, you shouldn’t rely on help in an emergency because it just mau not be there.

  16. Lantana says:

    Supervisor, thank you for such an interesting and informative article. I agree with Doods and Scout; this article stands out.

    Seeing what it takes to run a hospital in normal times–much less in emergency situations–makes it crystal clear that the more we do to maintain our own health, the better off we’ll be, as a society as well as individually.

    God bless you and your colleagues for all you do to serve those who come to your hospital for care, and may God protect and sustain you all should you have to serve in emergency conditions.

  17. Lantana says:

    Also, thanks to the other folks in healthcare for adding your insight, and to Cos for sharing his family’s hospital experience in a crisis situation.

    So what would y’all classify as life and death situations?

    • sw't tater says:

      Lantana, I would say heart attacks, gun shot wounds…basically trauma.appendicitis attack with no MD in your immediate pack.. all.things that require surgery…any more ideas?
      Very good article! Well written and thorough.
      In the early 80’s we had a thunderstorm here on 4th of July weekend. It collapsed the roof of a store in a strip mall.A local MD had just exited the store, called 911, and gave the estimate of 50 possible injuries. The 65 bed hospital where I was working was able to call in extra assistance, took care of all patients (45-50)including the post-op patients, delivered 2 babies, and took care of triage and treatment of 55 patients who were in that store.We had every Dr still in town come in and many staff from a mental care facility assisted. That minor emergency will be nothing compared to a New Madrid Fault event.1st because everywhere will be having their own emergency…2nd..because there is a likely-hood of so many bridges and transportation routes being damaged.That hospital does not exist now as it did then. the building remains, but it doesn’t have the staff, equipment upgrades that was keeping it current. Now to have a baby someone must drive an additional 25 miles .Glad I’m too old to get pregnant!That’s one less thing I have to prepare for.

  18. Old USAF Nurse says:

    Good article. Preppers need to know that in many ways, they are likely on their own WTSHTF. You did it well. Take care.

  19. Great article. Everyone talks about the shortage of drugs at most hospitals and we have problems getting many prescriptions filled at Wally World. What is causing these shortages? We are stockpiling as many medications as we can. However, some are almost impossible to stockpile. Thanks for the education.

    • farmmomwannabe says:

      HAPM, Glad to see you posting. How are you holding up with the fires in your area? Hope everything your way it going well.

  20. d2 prep says:

    Supervisor, I think we as Preppers can now assume that the local hospital will be as useless to us in a real time of crisis as the grocery store and gas station. After I attended CERT training earlier in the year my eyes were opened way wider after learning what the true first responder capabilities are in the county I live in. Add your insight into what the hospitals will be like and the Sheeple (not knowing any better) are in for a world of hurt (no pun intended). Thank you for sharing and stay safe!

  21. 1982MSgt says:

    I am a retired MSgt. (Medical AFSC/MOS 90270). After retiring again from Boeing, I needed some money so I hired on to the Nursing Staff at the Evergreen Hospital, Totem Lake Wa., as one of three Nursing Staff Schedulers who were responsible for scheduling all Registered Nurses work shifts at the hospital.

    Coming from a U.S.A.F. Hospital at Fairchild A.F.B., Spokane Wa. background at which I was a Hospital Medical Exercise/Mass Casualty Evaluator who reported directly to the Wing Sgt. Major and
    Wing Commander with my reports.

    I was amazed at the difficulty communicating with the
    Evergreen Hospital R.N. Nursing staff when scheduling shift coverage on 6 floors at that hospital. Reason: English was not many of the nurses first language and the nuances of English escaped them. I soon said I’ve had enough of the frustrating levels of women and quit.

    If we had had a mass casualty exercise at the Evergreen Hospital I can honestly say those nurses would have failed in a BIG WAY.

    Reason: The R.N.s did not have the capacity to do what we did at the 92 Hospital Squadron in the military. They would have freaked.

    After I quit that job, I told my family that if I ever need medical attention and have to go to the hospital – take me to the Bellevue Hospital. Never take me to EvergreenHospital in Totem Lake Washington.

    The quality of care, the ability to make yourself think through an emergency, apply First Aid, arrange transportation to the hospital, perform triage, assign categories of Green (walking Wounded), Yellow (delayed those who can wait a little while), Red (Immediate care required otherwise they die), and Black (Dieing/Dead -No Hope of recovery). Military Medics and Nurses are trained in how to perform under stressful situations and they get the job done. The Navy, Army, Coast Guard and the Air Force train their nursing staff to work independently – if necessary – on the battlefield while bullets are flying.

    Advice: Find a Vet who was a Medic or R.N. and get them on your team. You will not regret the decision.

  22. As a Physician who has just come home from 31 hours of work in the ER and on the hospital floor for 41 years total as a physician, trying to follow up and to make sure my patients are doing ok…..I get a nurse/wanna be doctor who has got to give his/her advice. Let them get their own degree and work the hours we are working!

    Not that I do not appreciate it but he/she is not being paid for his/her opinion.

    • Hunker-Down says:


      Nice put-down.
      Gee, I’m glad YOU get paid for your opinion, as you PRACTICE. How you doing on that disease called death?

      Working 31 hours is a disservice to every patient. Your system sucks. Lets switch topics from health to finance; care to explain anyone’s hospital bill?

  23. dirtfarmer says:

    My wife manages a 60+ employee clinical unit of our local 300+ bed hospital. I won’t give more detail than that for opsec reasons but I can confirm from 20 years of watching her do her job that what you are saying is correct.

    An issue here is that our hospitals cafeteria is in a non-secured area of the hospital (as many are). What I mean by that is that folks off the street are allowed and in fact welcomed to come in and eat at the cafetereia without being a patient, visiting a patient or even knowing someone at the hospital. It can be reached without going past a security checkpoint. In a recent weather event that caused several days of power outage the cafeteria was besieged by people who live in an “inner city” area within walking distance of the hospital. They had no power or air conditioning at home and no groceries either so they just went on down to the hospital cafeteria where they proceeded to eat and then just hang around taking up space and generally creating logistics problems for the cafeteria and hospital staff in an already stressful situation. Also if this had been a true shtf situation they would have quickly depleted all of the groceries on hand at the facility causing patients and staff to go unfed. It was bad enough that a few came in but in these days of “Obama-phones” they quickly got on the phone and called all their friends and family to come on down to the hosptial. There was really nothing the facility could do but deal with it because they had no proceedure in place.

    That was a year or so ago. Now the hospital has put in place a proceedure to secure the entrances to the hospital and they have portable signage they put out in these situations to turn folks away.
    The signs explain that the hospital has limited resources and has to take care of patients and staff. That seems to work so far but when a real flag event hits there is likely to be a rush on the hospital by desperate people. Fortunately our hospital has a true police force. All of their security are trained and certified law enforcement officers and they are armed. Their chief is a former deputy sheriff with over 20 years experience who came out of retirement to run this “company police” force.

    One other thing I might mention. Having lived with a hospital employee for over 30 years I’m quite familiar with disaster drills. For those that don’t know how they work, each department has a call list or a group of call lists depending on how big the dept. is. The first person on the list gets a call from the hospital to come in. They in turn call (or are supposed to call) the next person on the list so that it cascades down until everyone has the word. If you call your person on the list and they don’t answer you are supposed to call the next person until you reach someone or deplete the list. Well generally speaking after the first call the second call goes like this. “whatever you do don’t answer your phone”. Of course my knowledge of the call list activity is fortunately limited to disaster drills and folks already know there is a drill coming. They might not know the exact day but they know it is coming and often do not answer their phone. I can only imagine they would do the same in a real disaster if they even have phone service at that point.

  24. I found this article, and most of the comments, very informative. No easy answers, but at least the problem in obtaining professional medical care in any serious, widespread emergency is well defined by the article. Understanding the problem being the first step in solving, or at least mitigating, it.

    Stockpiling just some basic healthcare equipment and common medications in any quantity for SHTF is expensive, besides the time involved in learning just some basics in how/when to use them. Most non-professionals (that’s me) would probably be doing well just to not cause any additional harm to the patient when trying to treat a serious injury/ailment even if they had the means. And while first-aid, CPR, and EMT courses are great training, they just aren’t geared to be much help for the layman SHTF healthcare provider, IMO. Something treated on an outpatient basis today could easily be fatal in a SHTF scenario. Consider something as common as a laceration on an extremity that severs an artery, from a knife (or chainsaw?) that slipped perhaps. Stopping the external bleeding alone isn’t going to allow it to heal, and left untreated the prognosis isn’t good.

    I’ve been trying to slowly gain some medical knowledge over the years, to hopefully be able to recognize and treat an increasing number of conditions if necessary. Started with a Merck Manual, Gray’s Anatomy, and a medical dictionary in the 80’s – the internet sure makes things alot simpler today if you can separate the wheat from the chaff. Youtube is a great resource as well. Have also considered the scenario where a disease or injury is beyond my ability, and how to deal with that in as painless and humane manner as possible with no other options available. Doubling the LD50 amount of two different CNS depressants is the best answer I can come up with. Hope to God it never comes to that, but you could find yourself in that situation – so good to at least consider how you’d deal with it.

  25. As a nurse living in a rural area I’ve often been called on to assist neighbors–human and animal. Glad that my son is a nurse and my DIL is an Army medic. We could be of help in our neighborhood and we know enough to know what we can’t handle. Our local hospital is 15 miles away but it could well be the moon if we aren’t able to get there.

  26. It is nice to give the right to keep his thoughts to keep any where.
    This site is about Surviving hard times and helping yourself and others. It has a Libertarian bent, so in all likelihood, you’ll not be flamed for your statements because we respect your inherent and God-given rights to make ignorant, ill-informed suppositions we disagree with.

  27. Grandpappy says:

    Wazzup Doc? Glad you are checking this site out, glad you make the efforts you do, but I really don’t understand your objections.

  28. It is perfect time to make some plans for the longer term and it is time to be happy.
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  29. Pineslayer says:

    Thanks Supervisor. This is just one more example of how fragile our system is. I would be willing to bet it is not much different around the world, in the respect that supplies and people would be in short supply. Now I need to build an operating style room and be ready to kidnap a doctor or RN 🙂

    Seriously, this drives home the fact that staying healthy and out of the line of fire are two of the best preps going. We have neighbors that are RN’s in a great hospital, they are great people who like to grow things. I have been hesitant to approach them about prepping, maybe I will just plan on supplying them with stuff when the time comes. I have been putting up as much as possible knowing that I would helping some non-believers.

  30. TARHEELTWICE says:

    Worthwhile article but with some erroneous statements. Thanks DOC for your comments. I agree. As an ER physician, I do not “fear’ nursing supervisors. They are nurses. They have a job to do. But docs do not ‘obey’ the supervisors nor do we report to them. We work with them to get things done…they would not have a function if it weren’t for the docs determining who needs what services. This is a bit of an overinflated sense of self worth. I sure would ask for help from an OBGYN before a PA…you might consider the same. OBGYNs are surgeons, less you forget and can help with a myriad of traumatic problems. Don’t count them out! Otherwise a fairly accurate article from someone with a bit of an attitude against MDs.

  31. Charlie (NC) says:

    Ouch! Well spoken with real TARHEEL authority! My guess is that a nursing supervisor is a lot like a Gunny Sargent and tends to take charge in any situation. The doctor or commissioned officer (depending on the case) may sit back and allow the “non-com” to run the show but only to a point. When the real command decisions have to be made the chief nurse, just like ole gunny, will snap to.

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