changing gears at 46 to County Jail?

  1. Hi All. I am putting my application in for the county jail. I was contracting out my services independently but my husband wants to start his own business and I need to have benefits for both of us. I have no clue what goes on there nursing wise. I am very independent, have good organizational skills. After working home health for a long time, I had to be independent, your on your own out there. Can anyone offer me advice on what I should concentrate on in my cover letter? Thanks!!
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  2. 51 Comments

  3. by   Aurora
    It may be too late to be helpful with your cover letter. COVER LETTER? You mean they aren't begging you to take the job?

    I think assessment skills are the most important thing you bring to correctional nursing. I'm pretty sure you have them and any other skills necessary. The challenge is to be firm, fair and consistent. The fact that you are and enjoy being independent in your practice should be an asset.
  4. by   nurseT
    Guess what? I gave my application and resume to the sheriff's secretary, and she says... you're the first one to put in an application for the nursing job...Ever!
  5. by   renerian
    Let us know how it goes!

    renerian
  6. by   Aurora
    That's pretty funny!
  7. by   Crawsu
    I've been in corrections since 1996. Went to the interview solely out of curiosity. They gave me a ton of backround check stuff to fill out, then said, "If you want the job, fill this out and send it in to the Sheifff's dept," Been at it ever since, and would reccommend to anyone who is fed up with hospital nursing. You get a little bit of everything, but not as much of the "customer service" garbage you get in hospital nursing. You actually get to treat patients for their problems, and you can really have an impact with helping to diagnose and educate patients. There is a lot of bogus stuff, where inmates claim certain Sx because they know they will get sent to medical, but there are also thoses cases where you discover an undiagnosed illness and actually get to do some good. The doctors. at least where I work, are more prone to view you as a peer, and listen to your input. You usually have a more independent practice than you would in other settings, due to standing orders, etc..that allow the nurse to order meds under specific parameters. Would highly reccomend this specialty to nurses that have enough experience in other settings to make judgements based on a patient's presenting Sx.
    Look out, if they tell you that you"re their favorite nurse. That probably means that you have broken some rules somewhere. As Aurora said, be firm, fair, and consistant and you won't have any problems.
    Would recommend at least 1-2 yrs med-surg or any other hospital specialty before trying corrections. However, don't expect a jail or prison to meet JAACHO standards. The certification for these institutions are under an entirely different system. The main thing to remember is does the Tx rendered live up to community standards. Always remember that safety standard of the institution take precedence over medical concerns(excluding emergency Tx). In other words, if a pt. is scheduled for clinic and they have a court scheduled for that time slot, the court appearance is paramount.
    If you are able to be independent within your prescribed standards of practice, then I would think you are a prime candidate for the job. Being independent in your home health care practice would be a BIG plus. Emphasize it. Don't be afraid to negotiate for pay. THere is a shortage of nurses right now, and esspecially in corections, so don't forget that you have a valuable commodity and should be paid accordingly.
    Good Luck!!!
  8. by   nurseT
    Thanks crawsu for the advice. The ad stated pay was 38k. I thought that was a little low but the benefits may make that up. I don't know. I haven;t got to talk to anyone yet. I'm going to call them monday if they don't call me. I don't know what they've been doing if they've never had their own nurse, maybe using agency. I undrestand that corrections is just that and not a healthcare facility. Actually, I look forward to that idea. I ordered the book "Games Criminals Play, and How You Can Benefit by Knowing Them" I'm looking forward to reading it. I'll let you know what happens.
  9. by   fiestynurse
    I would not be afraid to negotiate for a higher wage. It sounds like they need someone with your experience.
  10. by   nurseT
    update: I did get that job at the county jail. I can definately manage the medical dept. Not to sure about the office politics though.
  11. by   renerian
    Let us know how it goes. When do you start?

    renerian
  12. by   jailDON
    Quote from nurseT
    update: I did get that job at the county jail. I can definately manage the medical dept. Not to sure about the office politics though.
    Office politics....that's where I get trapped sometimes. It seems like whenever security gets in trouble they try to blame a nurse. Probably because we are contracted and are not one of them.

    Anyway, I love corrections. I work in a county jail. Are you going to be the manager?
  13. by   nurseT
    Well I've had my first week at work at the county jail. Wow, I guess I'm it! It's just me, managing the medical dept. I found out what "The Blue Line" is Friday. The sheriff wants me to protect him from litigation, "after all, it all falls in his lap", the Commander wants me to protect him because "it will all fall on him when it's done" and the Dr. wants me to protect him because "it's his license on the line". Do I think they all forgot one little bitty thing? Ah Yeah! The only reason there is medical at all is because they have to have it, otherwise they could care less, or so it seems. The commander let me know that if someone was fakeing a heart attack I should come in and check them out before sending out. Well I live a long way from the jail. I wanted to ask if he were having CP, would he want to wait until I got there to see if it was real or memorex, but I just sat there absorbing and observing. I'm on call 24/7, and onsite 40hrs/wk, 200 IMs. Well that's the politics that really honk me off. I'm really feeling alone. The nursing will be the easy part. But When I first met the DR., he says "I don't want to work, I want you to be a sponge or a brick wall, I don't want to see more than 5 IM when I'm here. I have signed order blanks. Just fill them out when you need a script,I'll review them if you want me to, but that's the way I prefer it". That's not legal. And there's tons of old meds that the prior nurse just kept in case she wanted to give it to another IM who might need it. I can see there's alot of changes to be made. First thing is send all those meds back to pharmacy to get reimbursed. Then have a talk with the Dr. about getting some actual "standing orders" and on and on. It's a mess, I'm sure they'll all hate me when they find out I'm neat and tidy and not willing to put my own license on the line. My husband said I could quit if I want but I want to give this a chance. What do you all think? Thanks
  14. by   jailDON
    Ouch!! Your place of employment sounds like it is totally out in left feild. Your starting place should be NCCHC. Do you have a copy of the standards? Once you understand the standards and begin to follow them everything falls into place. Start with the mandatory standards. Use them as your guidelines, not all those other people. And if the standards are being followed it will protect everybody from being sued. You have your license to protect. We have our doctor seeing 50 patients/day!! not 5, that's a joke. It sounds like you don't have 24/7 nursing coverage. That's a little scary because jail inmates are less stable than prison inmates. I am on call 24/7 also but have nursing coverage around the clock. In the case of chest pain, I would check him out if I were present but if I wasn't I would just tell them to send him to the ER. Medical autonomy is a standard. Don't budge when it comes to doing the right thing. Feel free to ask more questions.

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