Correctional Information

  1. 0
    Hi! I am a a college student and I will be entering the nursing school in January. I am very interested in correctional nursing and was wondering if anyone could give me some info on it or tell me what it is like. I am especially interested in juvenile facilities if anyone knows anything about that. Thanks!
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  5. 0
    Originally posted by Kara
    Hi! I am a a college student and I will be entering the nursing school in January. I am very interested in correctional nursing and was wondering if anyone could give me some info on it or tell me what it is like. I am especially interested in juvenile facilities if anyone knows anything about that. Thanks!
    Kara,

    THink long & hard before going into correctional nursing right out of school. I've been in corrections for 6 years.......very, very tough job...... Get a good, solid foundation on a Med/Surg unit in a hospital FIRST.....correctional nursing is too autonomous ( AND overwhelming) for a new grad.

    GOOD LUCK! LINDA
  6. 0
    Great choice. There are several areas you can work in correctional nursing. Some of the jobs are autonomous (I read some of the responses), but others you will have the aid of peers and supervisors, not to worry. If you are to go into correctional nursing, I would enter the US Public Health service, and work for in a Federal Prison. I am currently an 0-3 in the US Public Health service, about to pin on 0-4 rank. The pay and benefits are great, and can not be matched anywhere else. I work at a Federal Prison Camp. This is an autonomous job, and I love it. I have the responsibility and freedom to develop programs. My hours are great. I can't complain. If you have any other questions let me know.
  7. 0
    I wish you luck in your nursing career. Correctional nursing or Forensic Pysch is a very challenging Career, and not for the faint of heart. I work at a Forensic Psych Unit in a State Hosp. the difference is that this population have been ajudicated not guilty by reason of insanity. This population has committed heinious crimes, but were deemed "insane" and therefore are comitted to a pysch hosp until they are deemed rehabilitated, fit to stand trial, or whatever. Correctional Nursing, this population has been found guilty of a crime. In correctional nursing, I worked in fl and it was a great job. Autonomy rocks..... I moved to WV and now work in the Forensic Psych unit. I felt safer in a prison setting. while we have a locked unit and etc. If i am attacked by a pt, I really do not have any legal recourse, In the prison setting, the inmate could and would get charged with an assault and have more time added to their sentence. I think if you feel a "calling" to this population, then you should go and go federal or state since the benefits are awesome. Good Luck!!!!!
  8. 0
    To the college student entering nursing school, I would also tell you that you should do at least a year of hospital nursing before you go to corrections. You have to have a little acute nursing experience before you go to work for corrections. I have seen new grads at the facilities and they are overwhelmed by the system. You are THE medical authority sometimes on evenings and night shift so you need some experience under your belt before you do that. But I am really glad that I entered this field and I love it, but get a year in before you attempt correctional nursing. Sonya
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    Hi Kara. I agree with the others that if you want to get into corrections, it is a VERY GOOD idea to have at least a year of med-surg under your belt. It is an environment unlike any other in nursing. You have to be able to assess your patient objectively, as the subjective info you get is not always accurate, you will need to take time to go over previous notes and histories obtained by others before you, and be able to come up with a diagnosis, and plan of treatment. Inmates will find all sorts of excuses why they can't work, or go to school, or whatever, and being able to see through the malingering behaviour is essential. Security is ALWAYS first and foremost, and you can be an effective caregiver while maintaining a secure and professional atmosphere. I always made it clear I would do whatever I could to help someone medically, but that I also would not tolerate the games inmates like to play, especially with new personnel. I treated them with the same respect I was shown, and it didn't take long for word to get around that I was fair but didn't put up with playing games. That attitude served me well the 6 years I spent in the state correctional system, first as a staff nurse, then later as an HIV counselor/tester and infection control nurse. You are often the only one who can do patient education on a regular basis, and you learn what you can handle and what you need to refer to the PA. or the MD. You should be aware of the legal implications of each inmate you are dealing with, not to judge them (that is not our function) but for your own safety and how best to interact with them. I found corrections very rewarding, but after 2 riots, and with new contractors coming in every 3 years and changing everything, it was time for me to move on. Another thing that will serve you well is to remember that even though they are convicted murderers, rapists, baby-touchers, armed robbers, etc, they are still human and are entitled to the best health care we as correctional nurses can provide while maintaining the integrity of the security in this enviroment. If you have good CO'S to work with, you develop a rapport with them and things can usually proceed fairly smoothly. You need to TRUST YOUR SECURITY STAFF, and show them that they, also, can trust you to carry out your job. Understandably, when you first start in this environment, you feel intimidated, and unsure of your self. You need to go in with the attitude that yes, I can do this, I can be professional, I can work within the security constraints, and I'm going to do a damn fine job. It takes a little while for everyone to get used to new nurses, but when they see you do care but at the same time you are not going to put up with a bunch of crap, then you are on the right road to being a successful correctional nurse. If I may, I would like to tell you that I worked in male correctional facility, and wanted nothing to do with the females. They are far more difficult to work with and are a lot more apt to give you a hard time; much more that the men; that's my personal feeling. Anyway, if this is what you want to do, get at least a year of med-surg before entertaining corrections. The med-surg will serve you well, and you will feel more qualified and more at ease with yourself by having done so. Good luck to you, Kara. Hope everything works out for you. Stay in touch.
    Nursing is as good as we want it to be
  10. 0
    Hi Kara. I agree with the others that if you want to get into corrections, it is a VERY GOOD idea to have at least a year of med-surg under your belt. It is an environment unlike any other in nursing. You have to be able to assess your patient objectively, as the subjective info you get is not always accurate, you will need to take time to go over previous notes and histories obtained by others before you, and be able to come up with a diagnosis, and plan of treatment. Inmates will find all sorts of excuses why they can't work, or go to school, or whatever, and being able to see through the malingering behaviour is essential. Security is ALWAYS first and foremost, and you can be an effective caregiver while maintaining a secure and professional atmosphere. I always made it clear I would do whatever I could to help someone medically, but that I also would not tolerate the games inmates like to play, especially with new personnel. I treated them with the same respect I was shown, and it didn't take long for word to get around that I was fair but didn't put up with playing games. That attitude served me well the 6 years I spent in the state correctional system, first as a staff nurse, then later as an HIV counselor/tester and infection control nurse. You are often the only one who can do patient education on a regular basis, and you learn what you can handle and what you need to refer to the PA. or the MD. You should be aware of the legal implications of each inmate you are dealing with, not to judge them (that is not our function) but for your own safety and how best to interact with them. I found corrections very rewarding, but after 2 riots, and with new contractors coming in every 3 years and changing everything, it was time for me to move on. Another thing that will serve you well is to remember that even though they are convicted murderers, rapists, baby-touchers, armed robbers, etc, they are still human and are entitled to the best health care we as correctional nurses can provide while maintaining the integrity of the security in this enviroment. If you have good CO'S to work with, you develop a rapport with them and things can usually proceed fairly smoothly. You need to TRUST YOUR SECURITY STAFF, and show them that they, also, can trust you to carry out your job. Understandably, when you first start in this environment, you feel intimidated, and unsure of your self. You need to go in with the attitude that yes, I can do this, I can be professional, I can work within the security constraints, and I'm going to do a damn fine job. It takes a little while for everyone to get used to new nurses, but when they see you do care but at the same time you are not going to put up with a bunch of crap, then you are on the right road to being a successful correctional nurse. If I may, I would like to tell you that I worked in male correctional facility, and wanted nothing to do with the females. They are far more difficult to work with and are a lot more apt to give you a hard time; much more that the men; that's my personal feeling. Anyway, if this is what you want to do, get at least a year of med-surg before entertaining corrections. The med-surg will serve you well, and you will feel more qualified and more at ease with yourself by having done so. Good luck to you, Kara. Hope everything works out for you. Stay in touch.
    Nursing is as good as we want it to be
  11. 0
    Hi,
    I would also be in favor of you working in a hospital setting for a year to familiarize yourself with some basic concepts. I currently work in a Boot Camp for juvenile offenders. We have insulin dependent diabetics, youths with sickle cell disease, asthma and other medical conditions.
    I love this type of nursing, but am more confident with the knowledge gained in the hospital setting.
    Shannon
  12. 0
    I worked in an overcrowed county jail 12 hour nights. I was the only nurse for 350+ I/M's. VERY unsafe. Any given night one could have fights to patch-up, I/M's in chairs on every cell block, DT's on some one else, IDDM I/M with a blood sugar of 30 to give glucagon to..ect.. and there were times I felt I was puting my licence on the Craps table, But I found it to be interesting, exciting and rewarding at times. I found many opportunities to do health teaching, sharpen my assessment skills, and work with a great deal of autonomy. So, I do not look at it as a bad experience. I would agree that skilled nursing experience would greatly enhance your skills. It is a wonderful specialty and really is community health nursing. The I/M's have all the same health ailments as the general population and deserve proper health care and treatment. Good luck to you!!!
  13. 0
    I have to agree with IN Nurse. I work at a county jail that houses about 200 inmates at any given time. Most of the time there is only one nurse on duty.
    Taking something like this on right out of school might be pretty overwhelming.
    On the other hand, once you get a few years under your belt, I think it a great and often overlooked area of nursing.


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