1st yr in correctional nursing as a new grad

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    am a new nurse and just started working @ a Federal prison this week. After orienting at all the facilities I will be on a med surg unit. Can anyone give me some ideas/pointers on organization or their routine for a 12 hr workday? There will be a max of 7 patients (inmates) per nurse. Also has anyone started their nursing career @ a prison vs a hospital, were you able to develop a good foundation?

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  2. 1 Comments...

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    I worked in prison for almost 2 years, but we didn't have an infirmary like the one you're at. I wholeheartedly agree with KookyKorky, on all counts.
    The best thing you can have when you walk in to work in a prison is a good attitude, followed by good people skills. Inmates are generally much more compliant when you take a second to explain WHY you can't give them medicine X or they're not allowed to have item Z for whatever their complaint is. There is a huge opportunity for patient teaching if that's your thing and when the situation merits.

    Working in prison is amazing at developing your assessment skills. It takes a while to get comfortable with your own judgement, but you'll start to be able to pick out legit complaints as opposed to inmates looking for a "field trip" to the ER or medical.

    As for the organization of your workday, I never had to deal with an actual med-surg wing; we were set up to run like a clinic more or less. But my day consisted of sick-calls from 0800-1030 and/or pill line from 0800-0830 depending on staffing; then catching up with charting from 1030-12ish, lunch, more sick calls/lab draws/vaccinations/med counseling appointments/translating and assisting MD/PAs/miscellaneous other duties from 1300-1500, KOP (keep on person) pill line at 1500, insulin line at 1700, SHU rounds from 1800-? and then hand off to the next shift. It's a busy day, but you actually get some down time because of the q 2 hour-ish counts, so it's less intimidating than it sounds.

    It might be slightly harder to start nursing in the prison setting, just because you have a lot more autonomy than you would in a community setting, but if you're confident in your skills and willing to ask a lot of questions, I'd recommend it! Best of luck!


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