I worked as an RN in jail for 4 years, and agree with all the above advice, including mznurse's comments re. male/female inmates. (This situation is even more intense with juveniles.) You need at least a year med-surg (to sharpen your assessment, treatment, and "thinking on your feet" skills), and would be wise to do at least a year in psych (as you will find a large number of psych inmates in "corrections" as we call it.--what does it correct? But that's a different thread.), and a year in a community health clinic (for experience of a variety of cultures, common health problems of poor people, etc.). AND THEN make sure you check out very carefully the level of safety that would be provided you when working in any given correctional institution. At some you are at major risk, while others are less dangerous than your average ER (which may not be saying a lot). Remember, you will be working with a group of people, many of whom have absent or "unusual" social skills, major neglect-caused health problems, and abundance of game-playing and hostility/anger/mainpulation skills. You have to be able to accurately asses them despite the string of lies and inaccuracies they often tell you about their histories and present symptoms. Good luck.
Last edit by sjoe on Aug 16, '02