Consider your fellow medical professionals who are providing care and commuting in dangerous conditions.

I have been listening to the winds of Hurricane Sandy, the super-storm battering the Northeast, from my warm, dry house in New Jersey. I’m out of work on medical leave to recover from wrist surgery, and am thankful to be riding out the storm safely in the company of my family.

As I watch the news reports of local devastation, I’m thinking of my many friends and colleagues, who are driving through powerful wind and driving rains to get to work. In the medical profession, a hurricane, snowstorm or other natural disaster is not a reason to stay home.

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Most people with a career in medicine understand that they will be expected to work beyond 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. We accept that working weekends, nights and holidays are part of the job, and that hospitals are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Despite this, I hadn’t considered the reality of having to leave my family and camp out at the hospital during a blizzard or hurricane until now. Oftentimes, once you get to the hospital, you cannot leave for days due to severe weather, poor road conditions and short staffing. The hospital can be busiest before, during and after stormy weather, and it’s not easy being away from home during such stressful situations.

Police officers, emergency personnel, fire fighters and utility workers also face these same self-sacrificing responsibilities during big storms. We have all committed to serve and care for others, despite the needs of our own families.

Although I’m happy not to have to worry about heading to the hospital during this particular storm, I am more grateful than ever for the sacrifices of my fellow medical professionals who are out there providing care, and commuting in dangerous conditions at a time when they’d rather be home caring for their own loved ones. Thank you for your service and stay safe.

Robyn Carlisle, MSN, CNM, WHNP, works as a full-scope midwife at University Doctors and Kennedy University Hospital in Sewell, N.J.