So i have been an LPN in NC for about a year and a half. I graduated at the top of my class with 2 kids at home, and had a 5 mo old baby *given* to me in the middle of school. Ever since i was begining Nursing School i knew i wanted to work in corrections. I started out at a min security prison, which i hated, it was boring and there were way too many nurses...after being there for about a month i got a call from the HSA at the county jail and was offered a job. i have been with this company at the county jail for a little over a year, and i absolutely LOVE IT! i am already the lead nurse, there are six of us total, and the jail pop is aprox 295, female and male. it is a difficult job, there is only one nurse on at a time, and we have a lot of chronic care patients and mental health. i would say my job is like a MH facility, an ER, and a free clinic all rolled into one. I do alot of wound care (wound packing, wet to dry dressings, even an almost severed finger) (mostly nasty dog bites!) ive had experience with caths, i draw blood, start IV's, respond to emergencies, suicide attempts, fights... I do intake assesments, History and physicals, FLU shots, TB testing, EKG's, start protocols, see patients in sick call for everything from scabies to headaches to dental abcesses and everything in between.we handle alot of withdrawal patients, diabetics, patients with heart disease, kidney disease....pregnant patients, pregnant patients withdrawing from heroin and methadone, we have a VERY SICK county jail. i would say over 70% of our inmate pop has some sort of illness. i pass meds, of course...and when we do have a dr. or MH prof, which is aprox 15 hrs a week, i assist them, take off orders, verify meds, obtain records. When i do have to call the doctor he pretty much relies on me to know what the patient needs, he has probably never met him and might not for a while. if i think a patient needs emergency care that we cant provide i have to make that decision. and can i just add that in the 2 yrs my company has had the contract, we have saved the county over $280,000 dollars on "safekkeping" costs, (when a patient must be kept at another facility that can handle their issues) in other words, we handle it all. or atleast 99% of it. the 20% of our population that are "long timers" (we have some patients that have been inmates for over 3 yrs) also have alot of chronic issues. we have HIV patients, alheimers patients, diabetics..along with all the chronic issues that come from eating a horrid diet, no sunshine, and no excercise...on top of all of the previously mentioned duties each of us do, i alone order all medications for our population, stock and non form meds that are patient specific and must be kept up with and ordered on a tight schedule..i make the work schedule for the staff, i am at home on call when other nurses need advice.... AND i even wrote an "operations manual" for my facility. so now that ive bored you to death with all of that (it sure felt good to say it outloud!)
The PROBLEM is that the closest LPN to RN bridge program that is feasable for me to attend (pell will pay, most classes are online and flexible) they REQUIRE 12 months experience in an ACUTE care setting or a SKILLED nursing facility. they WILL NOT ACCEPT my experience because it is a JAIL. my boss even wrote them a letter. i work for a company that employs thousands of nurses all over the country... i do more than MOST LPNS in a Skiiled nursing facility (nursing home) and they are impeding my education because i CHOOSE to take care of a population that no body else cares about. people that are so sick because when they are in the "free world" they have little or no access to medical care. I DONT WANT to go work at a nursing home, i cant work at a hosp (our local hospitals rarely if ever hire LPNS) and it isnt right. so NOW WHAT? this feels so wrong and unfair.