correctional nursing

  1. I have been a correctional RN for 7 years, in the ILLINOIS DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS. I must say that I love my job. It is always different, always changing and definitely a challenge. I work in a overcrowded (WHAT ELSE IS NEW)minimum security facility. We are the first "gang free" facility in the country. Or I should say, the closest to gang free, that you will find. I personally enjoyed the gangs. It seemed like the guys were much younger and they took care of their own. What we have now is a much older and greatly sicker population of criminal. They don't need a gang, they are their own gang. Correctional nursing is really in the background as a career opportunity. I know that there is a correctional nursing magazine or other publication, out there somewhere, I can't seem to fine it. Any suggestions? We are also, newly unionized, eventhough, we are contracted by an out of state vendor. It was a long hard struggle, but we are almost equal in every way, with the correctional nurses of the State of Illinois. We are now representated by the AFSCME UNION whick represents all the the state workers. Would love to hear from other correctional nurses, whatever the setting is. contact me a lisarn2-62531-2000@yahoo.com

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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   carlsonc
    I just began working in corrections about a month ago, 12/99, after many years in research, the last 4 as a research nurse. The pay is so low in research that I took this job in corrections to supplement. I work with the population I prefer: generally healthy adults. These just happened to be confined. I work in a county jail in Oregon. Our inmate population, male and female, is mostly young. I like the autonomy, the independence, the pace. It's a chance to use many of the things I learned in nursing school I thought I'd never see again, such as nursing diagnoses! I do a lot of listening and hand holding, a lot of basic care, earaches, stomachaches, depression, anxiety, tooth problems. We have a very compassionate staff, both medical and correctional. Our MD is an ER doc who is a real pleasure to work with because he's decisive and respectful. I'm really enjoying this addition to my usual workload - and I LOVE research.
  4. by   ripley
    My first job in correctional nursing is in a county jail in Ohio. I love working with prisoners and find many who are interesting and often quite funny. I think of them as prople who got a poor start in life and and just kkept spiraling down. I am of the strong belief that part of the jail sentence they receive for their crime should NOT be poor health care. I understand that they are not going to get the "best care available" but I feel that the response to valid complaints
    about health problems that are not severe or life-threatening should not be"Hey, this is jail !
    We are only required to give you the minimal care you need". And, so what if some people use jail to handle dental problems and other health maintenance problems they would probably not take care of if theyt were "outside". I would say that going to jail is more than I want to pay for MY health care.I am not saying they should have "carte blanche" but they should have at least the health care that people on welfare get. The attitude of most of the nurses where I work is "if I had my way they wouldn't get motrin or ASA or any of those things, just the minimal meds they need to maintain any medical conditions they came in here with. They are PRISONERS and they don't deserve anything better". There is a lot of cursing both in front of inmates and when not inmates are around, and in conversations with other medical staff and deputies, there is ridicule of the inmates and a general attitude of I don't care what happens to them, I am just here to get my paycheck.
    I know we have to distinguish between the fakers and abusers of the health system and not let ourselves be ran ragged catering to their needs, but personally, I would rather spend some extra time trying to follow up on an inmates health concern, than allow a potentially serious and/or painful health condition to get worse.
    Tell me it is not like this everywhere, please.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Ripley



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  5. by   Drysolong
    Hi:
    I am a student currently interested in working psychiatric/substance abuse/emergency/correctional nursing. Those are basically my nursing interests at this time. Once I get experienced, I may change my mind. Your job sounds interesting.

    One of the things I think about concerning the treatment of prisoners, are that many of them will be released to live among us. I would like them to return to society, better people. If they are to be treated inhumanely in jail, then never let them out.
    I've heard that there is really no rehabilitation in jails and prisons, but as a nurse, I hopefully will be able to contribute something positive.
  6. by   ripley
    Hi Drysolong,
    You make a good point, and I agree with you. I also wonder if there is any rehabilitation in jail. What I have seen in my short experience indicate that there is only punishment in jails. I attempted to treat the inmates as individuals with individual health needs and to insure that they received at least the level of treatment that someone on state disability would receive.To me, that meant being willing to put at least a little effort into following up on claims they made regarding meds and treatments taken "outside" and to pay some attention to complaints made by inmates while in jail. I ran into quite a bit of resistance and ridicule from other "seasoned and experienced" co-workers. I realize that prison nurses have to decide if they are being "conned" or if the complaints are legitimate. Personally, I would prefer to err on the caution and risk being fooled sometimes.
    I have had experience in only one jail and am hoping that it isn't typical. I am hoping to hear from nurses that have had a different experience from mine. I wish you luck in your futureand suggest that you stick with your ideals in spite of any negativity you may encounter from others. Prisoners are people too.!
    Ripley]
  7. by   Drysolong
    [QUOTE=ripley]Hi Drysolong,

    Just noticed your info. I'm also a Californian, but living in Georgia 15 yrs.
  8. by   midnightdana
    Quote from lisa tudor
    I have been a correctional RN for 7 years, in the ILLINOIS DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS. I must say that I love my job. It is always different, always changing and definitely a challenge. I work in a overcrowded (WHAT ELSE IS NEW)minimum security facility. We are the first "gang free" facility in the country. Or I should say, the closest to gang free, that you will find. I personally enjoyed the gangs. It seemed like the guys were much younger and they took care of their own. What we have now is a much older and greatly sicker population of criminal. They don't need a gang, they are their own gang. Correctional nursing is really in the background as a career opportunity. I know that there is a correctional nursing magazine or other publication, out there somewhere, I can't seem to fine it. Any suggestions? We are also, newly unionized, eventhough, we are contracted by an out of state vendor. It was a long hard struggle, but we are almost equal in every way, with the correctional nurses of the State of Illinois. We are now representated by the AFSCME UNION whick represents all the the state workers. Would love to hear from other correctional nurses, whatever the setting is. contact me a lisarn2-62531-2000@yahoo.com

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    i loved working for the dept of corrections in illinois....it was one of my favorite jobs- medium security prison down south

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