To the bedside, or correctional facility?

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    Hi fellow nurses, I graduated in May 2011 and attained RN license in June. I in Dallas TX and have to relocate due to extremely saturated market. I have a prospective position as an RN at a corrections facility that starts out, even new grads. at 30/hr. I will be waiting for the background-security clearance to go through for at least five more weeks. My dilemma is, I also have some hospitals calling and wanting to interview me via phone. Let us say that I am offered a position at one of these hospitals within one or two weeks from now, yet the corrections job is still involved in background clearance. What am I to do. Do I wait for the corrections job and take a gamble on not being offered the position, and decline the hospital/bedside position? Or, if a hospital offers me a position before the background clearance is completed at correctional facility, do I take hospital job and forget about corrections? I am almost 40 and I really love the psychiatric aspect of correctional nursing. I would love to eventually go into psychiatric nursing and research. Not only that, but bedside nursing /hospital nursing here in TX would start out at around 21-25/hr. and correctional facility starts at 30. If I were much younger I would say that I should start at the bedside, and then after a few years go into corrections and psychiatry, but I need to keep in mind that I need to make smart career decisions right now. I need feed back and input from you guys! I really appreciate any feedback
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  3. 14 Comments so far...

  4. 2
    You have to follow your heart. Unfortunately, things always have a way of working out like that - you get a job offer while waiting on something else.

    I'd say, if you know you will be offered the job after the clearance (providing it comes back ok) and you want to work there - then wait. If you don't feel you have the job and aren't 100% sure of what you want then interview and get the right job for you! My greatest fear when I was interviewing (new grad myself) that I would pick something desperately and made a promise I would not 'jump' and think things logically.

    I am now working corrections part time and working at an assisted living 2 minutes from my house part time. I have the best of both worlds and didn't sacrafice anything!

    GL!
    Oldest&Ugliest and lindarn like this.
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    try to get bedside experience then when u think ur confident enough on ur skills then go to corrections
    Orca likes this.
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    I agree with Spongebob. Correctional nursing requires a lot of independence - which only comes with experience. I started in a hospital and am glad that I did. I've been in corrections for about ten years now, and there is no way I would have been ready for it right out of school, or even within the first year afterward.

    Another factor: In this job market, I would not turn down a sure job in favor of something that may or may not materialize.
    Multicollinearity and lindarn like this.
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    Thanks for the feedback guys, I have already turned down the other offer now. I know I am taking a gamble, but I will have to eat it if the corrections is not offered. I just have a feeling that this is the way to go, but I have been wrong before! I guess only time will tell, in the meantime think positive thoughts for me!
    dalgal, Oldest&Ugliest, and lindarn like this.
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    Do you know if the correctional facility you are considering does much psych? There seems to be a common misconception among some that correctional nurses primarily do psych. I remember being told don't go into corrections unless you like psych. I think this misconception stems from many nurses not knowing what it is that we actually do.

    Many prison systems have scores/classifications for inmates' psychiatric acuity and tend to funnel inmates with psychiatric disorders to certain facilities in their system where they concentrate resources and staff with that expertise. For example, the facility I work at does not accept inmates who have psych needs - not even someone who has been on an SSRI recently. They are sent to other facilities. I really don't deal with psych much. Most of my "psych" is saying "no."

    Sometimes when I meet nurses who work in hospitals, they seem to assume I do a lot of psych since I work in a prison, and I just don't. They do more psych in a hospital because they work with so many patients with multiple conditions/medications.

    Have you discussed the psych acuity at this particular facility?
    Last edit by Multicollinearity on Oct 9, '11
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    I have been a correctional nurse for about 6 years, in two different states and I think it would be a rough first nursing job. Many inmates are trying to con you into all types of things and you really need to be confident in your assessment skills. Good luck with whatever your decision is. Also, if the pay is better than other places and they are willing to hire a new grad, those might be a couple of red flags!
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    Do not, do not, do not focus on the pay to be a huge determining factor on this decision. Yes, financially it will make you more comfortable but job satisfaction is WAY more important; if you are not completely happy, regardless of the pay, you will be back online searching out for new jobs again.
    As for corrections vs. bedside, you will get psychiatric entity in both areas. You need to decide which is going to suit you better. Nobody here can help you decide that either, only you know which one you lean towards and find more interesting.
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    Thanks you guys, yall are giving me much to consider. I know only I can make this decision, but I appreciate this input here! I will need to stop primarily focusing on the higher pay, even though it would be so nice. And it is true, I guess if they are paying so much for new grad I need to ask why. I think I will continue to see if I obtain security clearance for the job, but I will not refuse anymore interviews. Thing is it costs me money to go out of town to the interviews as I live in dfw and only getting out of town offers. I love the feedback each one has offered and welcome more-Thanks so much
  12. 1
    Quote from Orca
    I agree with Spongebob. Correctional nursing requires a lot of independence - which only comes with experience. I started in a hospital and am glad that I did. I've been in corrections for about ten years now, and there is no way I would have been ready for it right out of school, or even within the first year afterward.

    Another factor: In this job market, I would not turn down a sure job in favor of something that may or may not materialize.
    LOL...I started in corrections 4 months after I graduated nsg. school...what a rude awakening! Orca and Spongebob are right about the job requiring independence. It also requires keen assessment skills which you will develop out of necessity if you take the correctional job. In corrections, you sink or swim. I developed the skills and independence needed very quickly because I HAD to...I had NO choice. I ended up loving it. That's the thing about correctional nsg...you love it or hate it...no in between! But you'll never know until you try!!
    dalgal likes this.


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