These young ladies are prancing back to their nursing dormitory after a snowstorm. They look really happy to finally make their exit from the hospital. I identify with these girls because I got snowed in at my hospital for eight days last week. It was tedious, but I used my time constructively. I studied human nature.

People go through three phases when a snowstorm starts bearing down. The first phase is giddiness. I saw at lot of people become gleeful when the first snowflakes started hitting the sidewalk. They became delusional and said things like, “Look at the snow. It’s so beautiful!” People, snow is NOT beautiful. It is wet and cold. No one enjoys digging their car out from a five-foot snowdrift. The next phase of a snowstorm involves a strange survival instinct that compels people to rush to their local grocery store and buy copious amounts of milk, toilet paper, and comfort food like corn chips. I’ve never been about to understand this phenomenon, but I’m sure that grocery store chains love it. Panic in the air indicates that people are entering into the final phase of their snowstorm response. The snowstorm is in full gear and everyone wants to leave work and go home. The walls start closing in, and those with a lesser constitution make a break for the door. I understand that some people can’t deal with their claustrophobia, but please don’t yell, “You can reach me on my Blackberry,” as you run out the door. That’s just makes you look pathetic.

Trust me, it’s no fun getting stuck at work. Here are some snowstorm survival tips that I’ve learned over the years:

Pack a big suitcase, and bring in laundry detergent in case you run out of clean clothes.

Bring your pillows and blankets from home. Some hospitals expect stranded healthcare workers to sleep on army cots. Sleeping with comfy cozy items will make the experience more bearable.

Pack your cell phone charger. I packed my iPhone charger and someone was always using it.

Bring cash! Not every hospital gives free food to their staff, and don’t forget to bring change for the vending machines.

Pack comfort foods like corn chips. Hopefully your hospital won’t run out of toilet paper.