Are you paranoid yet?

  1. Just wondering if working in correctional nursing will make you overly cautious? (Not that that is neccessarily a bad thing)
    I just read a couple of posts where people suggested to watch where you park your car and to never let the inmates see you come and go. Does that mean that it is somewhat common that ex jail inmates will try and stalk a nurse? Please share your stories if you know anybody that this happened to or if it happened to you.
    And by taking a job in the correctional setting aren't you putting yourself at a higher risk of becoming a crime victim? What do you do to stay safe?

    I would love to hear everyones point of view on this!
    Thanks in advance!!
    •  
  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   **nurse**
    Still feel as safe in that regard as I would working just about anywhere else. I do personally know two officers that had problems. One was run off the road and the guy ran up to his truck, hauled him out and blacked his eye. Arrested and convicted. The other was worse, a crazy inmate that fixated on a female officer and broke in and hid in her bedroom closet. She got out without any harm and again he was arrested and convicted with a heavy sentance.

    I live on the same road and six minutes from my down home kind of state facility. Half the inmates in there know precisely where my house is as it's a bit of a landmark and someone who knew me told several inmates when he came for a short stay. When they started asking me if it was my house, I'd grin at them and say if and when they got out and thought they could get by the dogs, just come and see for themselves. Never had a taker. But if I did I wouldn't hesitate to do whatever I needed to do. I don't loose any sleep about it.

    I have an ex boyfriend who was violent and got light sentancing on plea bargaining, courtesy the DA no time at all. He's been stalking me for 3 years since. If it were a former inmate rather than a former, never sentanced ex, he'd definitely be locked up now.
  4. by   jamangel
    The only experience I've had was with a now convicted murderer who was a bit miffed because I did not respond to his advances.

    At the time he was pleading not guilty to the crimes of course and had been on lock down since they captured him over 200 miles away. Well apparently all that time locked down in his room he could see the parking lot and my comings and goings from the jail. When he came out of lock down he decided that he would hit on me and wrote a note on his sick call slip. When I returned to medical i found the note and it was the same ole inmate bull about checking me out and really digging me etc. I threw it in the trash as I always do.
    A couple days later he wanted to know why I didn't write him and I ignored him. The next day he came to pill call for the BS meds i.e. TUMS and asked me am I ever scared walking to my car at night. I replied that I wasn't. He said "I see you every night and I make sure you get to your car alright- you know, the Altima (the car I was driving at the time). He went on to say that I should be afraid because he has hands that reach beyond the jail walls and did I know who he was. I looked him square in his eye and calmly said " So, is this where I should be afraid? Unless you're God Almighty I don't have to be afraid of you other wise get the f*** away from my cart."

    He smiled as he backed away and we never had a bad word again. I do admit it did make me uncomfortable walking back to my car that night knowing he could see me but I just parked somewhere else after that.
  5. by   PrisonrNurs
    No, not paranoid or even afraid in our facility. Some days I swear, this isn't a prison, it's a glorified day-care center! I'm not worried about a physical assault, but I am worried about the threat of law suit. Inmates will do anything to cause trouble, if for no other reason than their bored. The latest trend among the inmates now is to report a nurse to the Board of Nursing. WATCH OUT!!!!
  6. by   Ion
    I am more paranoid about the medical staff -not being sarcastic.
  7. by   HOOSIERNW
    Quote from Ion
    I am more paranoid about the medical staff -not being sarcastic.
    Sad, but true.
  8. by   ex1140
    Quote from PrisonrNurs
    No, not paranoid or even afraid in our facility. Some days I swear, this isn't a prison, it's a glorified day-care center! I'm not worried about a physical assault, but I am worried about the threat of law suit. Inmates will do anything to cause trouble, if for no other reason than their bored. The latest trend among the inmates now is to report a nurse to the Board of Nursing. WATCH OUT!!!!

    I agree you have to watch out for your license...Most medical facilities within the prison system are ran differently than the "regular facilities".
  9. by   conehead
    I work in the Federal Prison and yes I am let's say I watch my back a little more closely. But like some of the other people have said I worry more about the staff doing something to me than the inmates. Usually the inmates are pretty respectful of the nurses and will watch out for them.
    Yes inmate's like to sue but I am finding they are more likely to sue the MD or the PA before the nurse.
    I have also notice that if you treat the inmate with respect even though they maybe a child molester than will treat you with respect. Yes it is sometimes very difficult to treat some of the inmates with respect when you know what they did to get into prison.
  10. by   organic_matter
    I have had more scary incidents with staff. One in particular: An officer who was supposed to be watching my back stormed out of the lab room when I was drawing blood on a psychotic inmate. My guess is that the officer was upset because we gave the patient a warm blanket as the patient was shaking; when he didn't stop shaking my colleague put her hand on the patient's back and said something to reassure him. He stopped shaking and I went for the vein while the hothead officer (who I never saw demonstrate common courtesy for anyone in medical) stomped out of the room, abandoning his post. There are many officers where I work who believe that nurses who provide standard of care nursing (in compliance with the Nurse Practice Act, Title 15 and Title 22) are actually doing something inappropriate. They will actually call you an "inmate lover" and make life very difficult for you--perhaps even looking the other way when an inmate tries to pull your arm through the food port. On the other hand, these officers will support medical staff who bad-mouth their patients, neglect or even abuse the patients. Many nurses (at least where I work) will behave inappropriately, even illegally to secure favor with the officers so they know the officers won't blacklist them. Hence--or at least contributing to, the numerous successful and expesive class-action lawsuits leading to the Federal take-over of the California prison system. There is an atmosphere of justified contempt, hate, cynicism and "us-versus-them" thinking (on all levels, but most especially staff versus inmate). This atmosphere is so pervasive that it eventually overpowers people of integrity, eroding their objectivity and professionalism. I've seen it too many times now. And Yes, now I'm so paranoid that I'm out on a leave, taking benzodiazepines just to quell the fear that the Green Wall is after me. I blew the whistle on not only some rogue officers but also my fellow nurses who practice their own Code of Silence to cover up medication errors and other bad behavior.
  11. by   texascowgirl
    wow you really DO know what it's all about. i have worked correctional health for many years (not currently though, but will go back) and let me tell yall..there is an unwritten code of ethics within the facility, with both inmates and the staff...it is TOTALLY different than the free world. there is alot of corruption out there. watch yer backs!

    Quote from organic_matter
    I have had more scary incidents with staff. One in particular: An officer who was supposed to be watching my back stormed out of the lab room when I was drawing blood on a psychotic inmate. My guess is that the officer was upset because we gave the patient a warm blanket as the patient was shaking; when he didn't stop shaking my colleague put her hand on the patient's back and said something to reassure him. He stopped shaking and I went for the vein while the hothead officer (who I never saw demonstrate common courtesy for anyone in medical) stomped out of the room, abandoning his post. There are many officers where I work who believe that nurses who provide standard of care nursing (in compliance with the Nurse Practice Act, Title 15 and Title 22) are actually doing something inappropriate. They will actually call you an "inmate lover" and make life very difficult for you--perhaps even looking the other way when an inmate tries to pull your arm through the food port. On the other hand, these officers will support medical staff who bad-mouth their patients, neglect or even abuse the patients. Many nurses (at least where I work) will behave inappropriately, even illegally to secure favor with the officers so they know the officers won't blacklist them. Hence--or at least contributing to, the numerous successful and expesive class-action lawsuits leading to the Federal take-over of the California prison system. There is an atmosphere of justified contempt, hate, cynicism and "us-versus-them" thinking (on all levels, but most especially staff versus inmate). This atmosphere is so pervasive that it eventually overpowers people of integrity, eroding their objectivity and professionalism. I've seen it too many times now. And Yes, now I'm so paranoid that I'm out on a leave, taking benzodiazepines just to quell the fear that the Green Wall is after me. I blew the whistle on not only some rogue officers but also my fellow nurses who practice their own Code of Silence to cover up medication errors and other bad behavior.
  12. by   RNonRun
    Quote from organic_matter
    I have had more scary incidents with staff. One in particular: An officer who was supposed to be watching my back stormed out of the lab room when I was drawing blood on a psychotic inmate.
    <snip> Many nurses (at least where I work) will behave inappropriately, even illegally to secure favor with the officers so they know the officers won't blacklist them.
    <snip> I blew the whistle on not only some rogue officers but also my fellow nurses who practice their own Code of Silence to cover up medication errors and other bad behavior.
    Hmm, sounds very familiar though I have not worked at YOUR facility Organic.

    People who don't know are always worried about inmates attacking them in some way. Oh I am sure it happens I have known nurses it happens to. But in 4 years in Correctional Health, that I dearly love and am GOOD-GREAT at (!!), I find its the staff that you have to watch your proverbial back with. Not the inmates. I have definitely met some pyschos along the way... LVN's RN's and some nurse Administrators!!! But the inmates??? Walk in the park. Better really cause I am always looking in the shadows in the park trying to remember where I am. I least expect to be sabatoged or ill treated by my coworkers.

    Not too long ago, The Pysch counselors were giving a class on staff splitting, and manipulation. Referring to watching out for these behaviors in inmates. *****!!!!!! I wrote in "Oh yeah and then there are the inmates!" It seems to be the STAFF that causes the biggest stress to working in Jail/prison.
    And in MOHO California Mental Health patients are being hired as nurses.

    That being said I love it. I am toying with staying in prisons or taking a pay cut and going back to jail where I was more in sync with the detention officers and them with me... we meshed well, there Organic they would actually bring me I/Ms who were being overlooked medically and I would bend over backwards to see that they would get treated. OTOH don't give me your non-cardiac chest pain nor your fake Sz's and everyone will get along fine.



  13. by   conehead
    I don't know what it is but the staff is the problem at the prison's not the inmates. Most of the inmates want to do their time and get out with as little grief as possible. The staff is another story. Now they are the ones you need to watch your back over some of the staff just love to get you in trouble over stupid stuff instead of worrying about the important stuff.
  14. by   uraqt2
    Do I feel threatened working in a prison-----ABSOLUTLY NOT!!! I feel safer inside at work than I would walking down the streets of any city. In prison you have officers who are there to protect staff (yes their are a few who would turn their back on you) and would put themselves before you. I do agree that staff seems to be the biggest threat of all and I've yet to figure that out. It makes sence that if everyone would just follow the rules and be on the same page that there would be little conflict----BUT it doesn't work that way.

close