Quote from HaveANiceDay1
I see that there is an online exam for RN's on the CA Corrections site as part of the application process. Can anyone give me an idea of what the test covers? Are the exam questions similar to questions asked on NCLEX? The site doesn't give any info about what information is covered in the exam, or whether it is timed. thanks
This is what I know about getting hired by CDC as an RN. Excuse the length of this post but, maybe this will help people wade through the byzantine state bureaucracy.
With the online RN exam, all it really does is ask about your experience in the last six months like if you've given meds as an RN, whether you're certified in ACLS, if you handled a code, etc. It's not really an exam per se, even though they call it an exam because it's scored based on your recent RN experience.
Once you've taken the "exam" and hopefully score high enough with your experience, then they call you in for a hiring interview. But you can't just take the online exam, you have to make sure to send in an application for each prison you're interested in. They won't call you if they don't have that application on file. And, they only call if you score high enough, and if they have openings which are becoming rare these days, at least in my area of southern California.
You'll see on the website that there are 3,000 RN's who have taken the exam statewide so, there's a lot of competition in some areas, especially heavily populated areas where there are a lot of RN's and the CDC pay is much higher than hospital pay. Each prison in my area, for example, had 200-300 RN's waiting for jobs. From what I was told there's at least 30 RN's who score high enough to compete for each opening at some prisons.
My problem was that I didn't know any of this and took the "exam" as soon as I got my RN license. So, as a new grad, I didn't score that high because I hadn't been working as an RN yet. I could retake the exam in six months and score higher then with more experience but, that would also delay getting hired. So I cast a very wide net.
I applied to six prisons and, luckily, one of them happens to be a medical hub that's expanding right now so, my lower exam score apparently didn't matter that much with that particular facility. It took two months for me to get called for the hiring interview but it could have easily taken much longer to get called.
But the hiring interview wasn't really much of a hiring interview at all. Ironically, that
was more like a real exam where they could ask you anything ... just like the NCLEX ... and they do ask you NCLEX type questions. It was very difficult.
However, while I was waiting to be called I asked around and people in CDC suggested that I get some corrections or criminal psych experience while I was waiting because ... that's what they're really looking for.
Even though tons of RN's have applied because of the pay raises, up to a third of them end up quitting because they end up not liking prison work. Some RN's also don't like the mandated overtime and, the fact that you usually have to start out working night shift and weekends. It's not like a hospital where RN's can often dictate their own schedules.
Since it takes so long for the state to hire people, that's why they're really looking for RN's who will stay so, those with previous corrections or criminal psych experience apparently have an edge over the competition.
So I took a job at a CDC private contracted prison to get some experience while I was waiting. The pay for that job sucked but, I was hoping it would help me and, apparently, it did.
I was convinced I had completely bombed the hiring interview because I was clueless with a lot of the questions but, I ended up getting the job anyway in spite of a lot of competition.
But I think it was because I already worked in the prison and, I made it clear that I don't mind nights/weekends and I don't mind mandatory overtime.