Changing from Long term care to Correctional nurse

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    I have been in LTC for many years the last few have been at the management level. I am getting bored with pencil pushing and would like to transition back to patient care and have the opportunity to work for the correctional system. does anyone have any pointers or thoughts? Do correctional facilities generally give good orientations, training, etc...I have my BSN. Thanks for any input.
    Joe V likes this.
  2. 5 Comments so far...

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    i worked in a correctional facility my first yr out of school. i liked it but hated it all at the same time. here's some tips for you. this is the most important one if you don't remember anything else, DON'T FALL FOR ANY OF THE GARBAGE THAT THE INMATES WILL RUN ON YOU!!!!!! they're looking for that weak link to get what they need. if you don't have tough skin it's not the place for you. don't wear your heart on yor sleeve. going feeling sorry for the inmates is the quickest way to loose your license and end up in a cell in the same building. remember, although not everybody that's in there is guilty, 98% of them are, don't get mixed up. even if you're not the toughest thing walking this planet, when you go in there, act like you are. watch what you wear to work. i was properly educated not to wear clothes that are too tigh or form fitting or that is somewhat see-thru (whites) especially if you have on prints, because that inmates are watching you closer than you could possible imagine. don't wear stethoscope or i.d. around your neck because they can use it to choke you. and most importantly, if you're ever taken in a hostage situation, don't expect for the guards to come in and help you. i was told that if i'm ever taken hostage, i'd be better off committing suicide because prison officials don't negotiate and most of they inmates are "lifers" and know that the only way they're leaving is in a body bag, so they will do to you whatever they want. now that was the prison. the county jail, inmates knew they're boundries and the CO's always had your back as long as you had theirs. nothing illegal, don't get me wrong. but if they asked for something then you help them out. it also helped that sherriff worked there too, so needless to say, huge decrease in speeding tickets...lol! just remember this, go in, do your job, and go home to your family. don't make friends with any of the inmates. the inmates don't give a damn about you, and if you fall for it, you won't realize it until you've gotten yourself into a world of trouble.
    Neyerm1 likes this.
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    I just started in corrections from home care I absolutely love it!!! I think from what I hav heard and seen experience all depends on ur facility I work in michigan and my CO's are very pro active and will stop what they r doin if a nurse/ doc/ other co worker is in need. I experienced 1st hand 2 days ago actually than when an officer or other co workin is down people from every single building are running to the situation to assist those in need, my CO's all hav tazers and DO USE them!!! I feel absolutely safe in my clinic and the other buildings I enter, there are CO's every where and each employee also has a PPD or screamer on them incase of a situation. Again It varies facility to facility from what I hav seen and heard but I work at a GREAT facility.

    Big things are to remember to remain respectful yet stern w the inmates guilty or not then are humans and deserve proper care but do not get personal or friendly you are their nurse nothing more nothing less. Be aware of ur surroundings at all times, if u hav questions ASK, if ur uncomfortable then get a partner. This is NOT the place for a softie or wearing ur heart in ur sleeve, inmates will spot u and target u and u will loose whether it's ur job or ur license neither one is worth it
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    I can attest to what the previous posters have said. My personality just fits perfectly with correctional nursing. Have you ever wanted to tell someone how it is, but in a stern, respectful way? You'll love corrections. This isn't to say that you aren't showing respect. If you show respect (in a stern way) to inmates, you will get respect back. Like someone said.... be confident. If their question isn't anything related to the medical care you are giving them, just tell them so. They may roll their eyes, or make a dumb comment, but they'll just move onto the next nurse and try their game with them. They are always looking for a way to get something from a nurse that they aren't supposed too.
    It also has a lot to do with your COs at your camp. Some are good, and some are bad. Some COs will try you to let you see what you're made of, it just happens.
    I suggest you give it a shot and see if you like it! The worst thing that could happen is you just find out it isn't for you. I'm so glad I gave it a shot! I could never go back to having to treat a person like they are at the Taj Mahal after this!
    Pranqster likes this.
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    I'm so glad I gave it a shot! I could never go back to having to treat a person like they are at the Taj Mahal after this!
    One thing I have always liked about correctional nursing is that you don't have to take any crap off anyone. As Jollydogg said, you aren't being discourteous. It's just a matter of not tolerating discourtesy toward you. Gone are the days when I had to placate and coddle people regardless of how abusive or discourteous they were because they were "customers".
    Pranqster and deyo321 like this.
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    I work BOP corrections RN and on my days off I work Hospice. I do the Hospice for a little bedside care which you don't do much of at the Prison. Like Orca says...Gone are the days when I had to placate and coddle people regardless of how abusive or discourteous they were because they were "customers". I'm usually happy to get back to jail...where the sane people are. And the pace is slow...If your patients are rude, you can address that. If it didn't get done today...you know where your patient will be tommorrow.


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