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I am a member of the ACA...they have just recently begun a certification program for correctional nurses and managers. I have heard of only a few states/programs that will give correctional nurses an increase in salary if they are certified (NCCHC), and I am assuming it is the same for the ACA certification. There is another organization for anyone working in correctional medicine (Nurses, NPs, PAs, Social Workers, etc) - it is The American Correctional Health Services Association. ACHSA's mission is "to be the voice of the correctional healthcare profession, and serve as an effective forum for communication addressing current issues and needs confronting correctional healthcare. ACHSA provides support, skill development, and education programs for healthcare personnel, organizations and decision-makers involved in correctional healthcare resulting in increased professionalism and a sense of community for correctional healthcare personnel, and positive changes in health for detained and incarcerated individuals." They have state chapters and a National organization, and they have conferences throughout the year. The Southeast chapter just had one in Chattanooga (and it was very good!), and there was one in San Diego last week. I think there is another one scheduled in October in North Carolina. Can you tell I am a member of ACHSA as well? I really believe that Correctional Nursing is a specialty that is recognized by the ANA, but really not recognized by the facilities/programs in which we work! It is up to us to advocate for correctional nursing and get the recognition that it deserves. Joining organizations and becoming active will help get the message out.
Thanks! I am glad the information was helpful, and I hope you and everyone else considers joining ACHSA...it is a way to have a voice, teach others, learn a great deal, and make a positive change in our profession.
Great information. I am very involved with NCCHC. They also have a professional certification which is a Certified Correctional Health Care Professional. Information about this certification can be found on their website. Their standards are focused on medical /mental health. The have a national conference in October and I believe it is one on the largest conferences out there. They also have accreditation programs for jails. In California, the Institute for Medical Quality, has an accreditation program. There are many people and many organizations seeking to raise the standard of care in our jails and prisons. Correctional nursing is a speciality. This year the American Nurses Association came out with standards for correctional nurses.
I belong to both ACA and NCCHC. I have to say that as far as bang for the buck goes, I am much happier with NCCHC. I explain it like this. Both NCCHC and ACA are like JHACO for jails. However, NCCHC inspects medical and includes the jail. ACA inspects jails and includes medical. Just my humble opinion! I worry much more about my NCCHC inspections than I do ACA.
I have always been certified in my speciality. CCRN,CEN,Med-Surg,Geriatric and now my CCHP. I have never been paid more, or had any benefit. Never recoup the effort or cost of even keeping my CEUs for my recerts. I have let my CCRN and CEN go by the wayside. It's just a challenge and helps my own self image. It will force you to study stay up on the new tech. I still enjoy studying after 30yrs of this profession. Now the NCCHC has a cert nurse exam just for nurses as opposed to my CCHP which any one can take, including people who never step foot in a correctional facility. So as a nurse if I had my picks it would not be just a CCHP but go for the Nurse cert/NCCHC. But for now I am certed out enough to hold until that glorius day RETIREMENT!!! A word to the wise! If you feel you belong in Correctional nursing and it does not work out, don't beat yourself up. When dealing with a lot of these PHS wanna-bes companies it not the quality of care you give the inmates that they appreciate its more based on their greed. I for one used to think I was on a mission to take care of people who must folks could careless about,but now it's more about"How we can avoid tx without being sued. Nurse should stay clear of these type giggs It will cheapen your self image.....