Background Investigations

  1. Recently I applied for a nursing correctional position within a jail setting (correctional facility). I was taken on a tour, fingerprinted and after this, given a package of information. The CO who gave me the information stated I would have enough time to complete all the things it required. While looking at all the paperwork I felt that too many questions were extreemly personal and that I was repeating giving information that I already gave on my online application. While completing some of the information, my mother, who happened to come over while I was doing it adamantly stated she did not want me to put her name on information and said that she would turn down this position. She felt that the information they were asking was too much and that I should look elsewhere. While I cannot totally disagree with her, I would still like the position. Some of my fears are directly related to some of the new laws signed by our current president. I would also like to state that I have worked for a local prison (through the registry) and have had a background investigation performed before but it was never as extensive as this is. Can anyone give me some feedback on this?
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   sjoe
    Every facility decides on its own security screening procedures. Those which I have considered excessively personal or simply too long, I just threw away and stopped exploring that position. Some facilities have very simple questionnaires and guidelines, essentially the cops do their own check up knowing little more than your drivers' license number, SS#, previous addresses, arrest and conviction record, and name.

    One I threw away (from Reno, Nevada) wanted to know all the magazines to which I subscribed, and 15+ pages of other stuff that was none of their business and had nothing to do with security. The jail here in San Diego wants a lie detector test as well, if you can believe that. (Like the sheriff's department isn't able to do a competent background check themselves!)

    I had nothing particularly to hide, had previously worked in corrections (as well as held a top secret crypto clearance with the military), but like your mother, consider some of this stuff to be an abuse of authority, disrespectful, and an invasion of my privacy rights.

    So, these places let me know I wouldn't want to work there by their intrusive paperwork and inappropriate requests.

    You'll have to come to your own conclusions and decision, knowing that your job choices narrow the more you stand up for yourself. But that is true in nursing, anyway, IMHO.
    Last edit by sjoe on Dec 10, '02
  4. by   graybar hilton
    Regretably jails and prisons are nothing alike Be it security or whatever. I thought I would never get thru all the papers. The worst part was the drug screen.......a female actually stood in the stall with me and watched me pee. I was so humilitated. But I understand why they do it. I know there are lots of ways around a drug screen although I don't know what they are. I work for the prison system, but have done jail nursing. The prison was the one that was so intrusive. I am glad I did it. I love my job. I wouldn't give it up for anything.
    If you want the job then fill out the papers. I am curious as to what laws our president has signed into effect that affect the prisons and their workers. Have I missed something?
  5. by   sjoe
    "I am curious as to what laws our president has signed into effect that affect the prisons and their workers."

    I haven't heard of anything along those lines. But I have wondered just what is going on during the "intensive interviews" of the prisoners at Guantanamo. Surely a scandal will come from that one day.

    And I do agree with you that in many ways a well-run correctional setting is one of the best places to do nursing. In California, the new prisons (and there are quite a few of them) are medically state-of-the-art. Very impressive (and VERY expensive). That's probably why I spent 4 years in corrections--much longer than in any other nursing job--and may well do so again.
    Last edit by sjoe on Dec 10, '02
  6. by   Kikumaru
    Sjoe and Graybar, many thanks for the answers. I continue to debate going through all this (will let you my decision). I got to thinking the other day on how they are "so short on nurses" (as I've been told), and how they are debating going to 12hr shifts rather than 8 (maybye more nurses requesting this?). When I went on the tour another nurse joining me seemed reluctant to fill out all the paperwork, also. She was also a foreign trained nurse (the Phillipines) but had a current CA license. She commented "I don't know if I can get certified copies of all this information." I am not so much concerned about all the information I would give on myself but my kids have had brushes with the law and there are questions concerning them! My mom said "they have no right asking about family members, especially since they have corrected their ways." Sjoe, you mentioned how Nevada asked about your magazine subscriptions, and, I too, think this is absurd (are they psychoanalyzing here?). Graybar, I don't think that I could pee in front of anyone as you were courageous to do. Why didn't they just draw blood too? I feel that if more nurses stand their ground and say "No, I'm not doing this. I am not a criminal and I feel you are treating me this way so accept what I have to offer" perhaps they will change theri P&P's so more nurses will feel comfortable and go through with the process. As far as the what I discussed regarding the president signing papers which would change our laws, I was discussing the "national security" changes (allowing governmental officials to investigate people without concern about our rights.) Please don't get me wrong...I am all for getting terrorists but feel many of us could be in danger if perceived incorrectly. Thank you for your time and I will talk to you soon. God bless.
  7. by   sjoe
    Kikumaru--your serious misgivings are well-founded, IMHO. Both in corrections and nationally (and internationally).

    I also wondered just what gave the US the legal right to stop a freighter from North Korea on the high seas and hold (for a time) it and its cargo? What if NK did the same to one of our ships carrying military cargo?

    Probably the same legal right we had to arrest the elected leader of Panama, kidnap him, and stick him in a US prison. where he now sits.

    [And no, I'm not a liberal or one for 'peace at any price.' Tom Clancy would make an excellent military advisor, IMHO. But all the same, just who do we think we are? We could at least make a pretense of working within international law, if we expect others to do so, or else simply have the guts to say 'we'll do things our own way, like it or lump it.' Either would be preferable to what we seem to be doing now.]
  8. by   sanakruz
    I had to give a urine sample much as you described to work for a private acute psych facility.
    The rationale being that others have used" fake "specimens (like an offspring"s smuggled in urine) and poured it into the specimen cup unobserved. The "tester" I dealt with observed me, and then took out a thermometer to check the temp! Guess some folks are real creative with their fakes!
    They want to be certain their employees are drug- free. This still isnt fool proof cuz the most widely available widely abused drug wont show up in urine within a few hours of use- ETOH. Someone could be blasted the evening before and not give it up.

    Any who..Love your post sjoe.Who DO we think we are? Cripe, reading some of these other threads and posts is a frighteneing endeavor at times.
  9. by   Orca
    I would be curious to know whether the application from Reno was from the State of Nevada or Washoe County. I work for the State of Nevada (I hired on about a year and a half ago), and I didn't have to answer a bunch of nosy questions. I did do the fingerprint cards (after all, they should know if those they are hiring have a criminal background), but that was about it, apart from a urine drug screen.

    The application I did for the State of Florida for licensure by endorsement was far more ridiculous than anything I've ever done for a job.

    Psychonurse, you are right about people being creative with faking urine samples. I have heard of people using apple juice, tap water with yellow food coloring and all manner of other concoctions to try to beat the tests.
    Last edit by Orca on Dec 28, '02
  10. by   sjoe
    Orca--Washoe County. It appeared to me that the same security screening procedure/questionnaire was used for nurses as that for the COs, who have the authority to physically restrain, re-house, arrest on further charges, etc. that the nurses, obviously, do not have.

    Apparently they were too lazy to make up a more suitable procedure for non-custodial staff, and the nurse recruiting staff did not have the courage to insist on one. Thus, another place where nursing was considered to be "a shortage" for no good reason.

    I let them know clearly that this was the only reason I did not proceed with my application, so at least they can't say they weren't told.

    psychnurse writes: "The "tester" I dealt with observed me, and then took out a thermometer to check the temp! Guess some folks are real creative with their fakes!"

    Yep. It's fairly standard practice now for those who wish to be slick to hold their clean urine sample (which can be purchased online, frozen) in a flat, plastic bag, with a suitable drain tube, taped to their abdomen at the time of testing, so that it will be warm. Those with a bit less imagination, of course, are caught by the temp test.
    Last edit by sjoe on Dec 29, '02
  11. by   MrsK1223
    There's a lot of reasons they ask what seems silly or intrusive questions. The main reason is security. My husband had to go thru all this when he applied to a federal prison. He was told, as long as you're honest, even if you have tried cocaine or any drugs or if you have any family members that are criminals..just tell us....Alot is just seeing your honesty and integrity cause they do a huge check...I heard an FBI check and willactually interview people you've came in contact with anytime in the past. They want to see who might have a tendancy to end up pals with the inmates...and believe me from the stories my husband has heard since starting the prison...there are some people that end up with an affinity with the inmate types. There was even one of the prison secretaries to get fired for giving blow jobs and table dancing for the inmates....and there have been several more women in the prison system fired for similar reasons. I figure if I have nothing to hide and I want the job I'll answer whatever questions. Now when they start wanting to check body cavities I may saw pass...hahahaha

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