Correctional Nursing-Last Stop For Nurses who can't make it anywhere else - page 6

I came to correctional nursing after 4 years of ER experience in a level 1 trauma center. I was burned-out and ready for a change. One of the first things I noticed hanging on the wall of the nurses... Read More

  1. by   erroridiot
    Quote from ceturn
    correctional nurses were "less than perfect nurses". I must admit, at least in my experience, truer words have rarely been written. Some of the worst nurses I have ever seen have been correctional nurses.
    You are correct.

    Some of the best nurses I have ever seen have been correctional nurses.

    I am correct.

    There are different degrees of workplace health in all aspects of nursing. Unfortunately, the correctional setting can bring out the less desireable traits in some individual nurses or groups of nurses which in turn attracts like-minded individuals. Correctional settings do exist which have higher functioning nurses which follow and value the ANA Code of Ethics for Correctional Nurses. These settings tend to attract like-minded individuals.

    For those nurses who wish to provide health care for an underserved, neglected, high risk population and make a difference, a healthy group of co-workers can be difficult to find in corrections.
  2. by   abarlowe
    Nursing is very multidynamic. I can not stay in any one area because I want experience in everything, and not get bored or burned out. I did corrections as my first nursing job 7 years ago, and it was exciting and challenging. I eventually left after almost 2 years, because I did want clinical experience. I worked with nurses who retired from other settings and came back to a more laid back, not so overwhelming setting as well as a couple of other new grads who basically only knew nursing theory like me. Everyone had reasons to be there, just as in clinical areas. But the last time I checked, all of the nurses I worked with had a license, so basic skills were there. My point is not every nurse cuts it in the "**** and git" areas, and let's face it, with the current shortages the nurse to patient ratios are so high, not every nurse can take much from clinical settings except headaches. Now I travel and get a break every 13 weeks. Everyone should try it!
  3. by   Jailhouse RN
    ceturn has alot to learn about nursing in general. She should say nothing about Corrections nurses untill she gets dry behind the ears. As a nurse have worked the ER, ICCU, CT-stepdown, telemetry, addiction med, and home care. Working in corrections I have had to use the skills from each and every one of these positions to do my job. There are times when I have had to depend on fellow nurses and security to get a job done. If its one thing we know in Corrections, it is team work. We don't put people down because of a percieved weakness. We help them as they have helped us. ceturn you have much to learn. Incompetence is not tolerated in our profession. What you could learn from us Corrections nurses may one day save not only your life but your license.
  4. by   uraqt2
    What an insult to all correctional nurses. Ya know correctional nursing is NOT for everyone and it seems to me that you are making a great choice by getting out and going back to the ER.
  5. by   nancykday
    Sounds like ceturn got caught up in a scam, due to their obvious feelings of superiority, the inates probably exploited this and he/she got burnt. Burnt an burned out...well glad your leaving corrections, don't let the door hit you on the way out.
    Or a former inmate with an ax to grind
    Last edit by nancykday on Mar 31, '07
  6. by   VegRN
    Quote from sjoe
    Reading the following book will help explain where much of this pointless negativity comes from, namely successful inmate manipulation of staff:
    "Games Criminals Play: How You Can Profit by Knowing Them
    by Bud Allen & Diana Bosta "
    This is such an excellent book and I also heard about it here. I recommend it to other nurses all the time.

    Orca, excellent comments about correctional nursing, could not agree more.

    I also loved the comment that another poster made about hospital nursing and pts being upset that it took you 10 minutes to get a cup of tea for them (while you were in the next room saving a life). This is one of the many reasons why I love correctional nursing. Most of the outside people wouldn't believe it, and this is from observations at my institution but, in corrections, disrespect towards nurses isn't tolerated. The inmates can't order you around, swear at you, etc because they are actually punished for it. And for the most part inmates respect the nurses because they know that we are here to help them (and they want something from us). We still have to have good boundaries and bulls*** detectors though.
  7. by   Ion
    There is a new face of correctional nursing. We have good people coming in and I have noticed a couple trends:

    1. Young male nurses are entering to begin earning a government backed retirement at an early age, and government healthcare insurance for their families. About half of them are prior military who plan on buying credit for their military service.

    2. Seasoned female nurses who have worked for several years in hospitals who are great nurses, but are looking for a way to extend their careers without moving into management.

    Just an observation, not a research project
  8. by   Nora1
    Nice presentation of what it is really like to be a correctional nurse. I have been a correctional nurse for almost 10 years and love it! It is my theory that nurses are not put in places to judge, rather to care and support all patients equally no matter the situation.
  9. by   KellNY
    Wow. I've only read the 1st page and skimmed the rest, but I cannot believe that someone would post something like that in this forum.

    I'd just like to tip my hat to you men and women who work in prisons and jails. (I'm admittedly too much of a wuss to seriously consider it)

    I've only worked with one ex-correctional nurse, and he was good-if anything a bit more autonomous than other LPNs I worked with.
  10. by   ex1140
    Quote from ceturn
    I came to correctional nursing after 4 years of ER experience in a level 1 trauma center. I was burned-out and ready for a change. One of the first things I noticed hanging on the wall of the nurses station in the max security prison I accepted a postion in, was an ad to join the correctional nurses association to counteract the perception that correctional nurses were "less than perfect nurses". I must admit, at least in my experience, truer words have rarely been written. Some of the worst nurses I have ever seen have been correctional nurses. Most have not been able to "hack-it" anywhere else they have worked and correctional nursing is the last stop before getting out of nursing completely. I could tell you stories of botched assessments, med errors, inability to manage medical emergencies, inability to draw blood or start IV's that you would find hard to believe. After 3 years as a correctional nurse I'm going back to the ER where incompetence is not tolerated.
    I guess I may be one of few nurses that can relate to what you are stating. However, the facility that I work for is very disorganized and this contributes to some of the problems that we have. I was not offended by your post because I could tell that you were frustrated and simply stating what you have experienced. In my facility it's kind of anything goes...nurses come to work late, and leave early, and transcribe part of doctors orders, go out for a smoke when a patients are in the ER and need to be assessed. I know all facilities are not like mine and thank God for that...
  11. by   BULLYDAWGRN
    Boy what a pair of gohonez..I've never worked as a correctional nurse, but I do know a girl in Louisianna that does. As far as I know she has never worked a day in a icu,ccu or a level 1 truama/er, and I've never worked a shift with her. But I do know her well enough that she takes her job seriously. And I can vouch for her compassion, I'd tend to say she would put up with more crap from those folks than I would. Again getting back to your invitation to get flamed, I don't think she would like to be added into your broad personal assessment of correctional nurses.
  12. by   badaziwant2b
    I have been working for corrections as an lvn for the last 3 months.

    My facilty no longer has any MTA's. WE have lost 4 LVN in the last 3 months. Corrections is not for everyone.

    It is true that your whole out look changes working as a nurse in CDCR.

    The inmates test you on a daily basis. If you get known for bending the rules or hooking up the inmates you can be disciplined or walked off (fired)

    Even a simple thing like handing out bandaids is frowned upon. an inmate use them to fasten a handle for a shank. Others use them to cover newly aquired injuries to mask injuries during a fight.

    Its hard to be a "nice" nurse here
  13. by   Juvinurse
    Whoa.... I'm new on this forum and this thread really hit home with me. I take major offense to it. I have been a nurse for 30 years(22 yrs as private clinic nurse, 5 of 'em a correctional nurse) For 4 years I was a nurse at our county jail, juvenile detention center, and group home. Last year I had to let one of 'em go and I chose to stay with the juvenile detention center and group home. I was the only nurse at all of these facilities and I was stretched too thin.
    I must say correctional nursing was a chapter they left of my nursing handbooks. It requires a lot of experience, understanding, and gut feeling. It has been both, challeging and rewarding. I can see where it would not be for everyone. I am on call 24/7 and that can be quite exhausting at times.
    I am not only the nurse, I am trained as an officer, control operator, intake officer, trained to transport to medical and mental health appointments. I have had to become familiar and active with the juvenile court system, mechanical restraints, physical restraining, major psy, suicide, and self-harm issues. This may be my last stop because I love taking care of these troubled children and don't plan on leaving them and it is not because I can't make it anywhere else. It probably would be easier for me at 50 years old to go somewhere else, but I choose not to. I had made it somewhere else for 22 years( experience in lab, xray, ekg, immunizations, IVs, ob/gyn, peds, geriatrics, etc.) and was burnt out with the clinic setting and the private MD I worked for retired. My years of clinic experience helped to prepare me for the majority of things I face each day now. I need to add that being a juvenile correctional nurse also sometimes requires a good set of listening ears, kind heart and a soft shoulder.
    Well, let me climb down off this soap box and be a little benign for a while.

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