I am starting a new career as a corrections nurse. I have been a nurse for only three years. My background is renal, urology, kidney transplant, med/surg peds, postpartum, delivery and neonatal. Any advice from my fellow colleagues?
I will be working at a medium security male prison.
Jul 14, '01
Good luck. Try to get a good orientation out of them, prior to being dumped into that setting. It is always helpful to find a mentor.
I think It would certainly be an interesting job....post again and let us know how you are doing.
Jul 15, '01
Good luck with your position in corrections. I have been a correctional nurse for 11+ years and I wouldn't go back to hospital nursing ever again. Since you have worked in all those specialities, some of them will help you but the OB stuff probably won't, hehehe. But I am like the other reply, make sure that you get a mentor, one person that you can ask questions of and share things with. Also, make sure that you are very sure of what you are doing before they put you off on your own. Correctional nursing is a little bit ER and the rest is clinic and assessment. You will have more autonomy than in any other specialty and I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do. Please post again and let us know how you are doing. If you have any other questions, feel free to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jul 17, '01
I am an administrator at a large jail, and it is great setting. You will either love corrections or hate it! I agree, make sure that they give you adequate orientation, and that you feel comfortable before you go out on your own.
You will enjoy the autonomy and the variety. You will use all of your nursing skills in this job. Keep us posted.
Jul 23, '01
Having been in corrections for the better part of 20 years, the best advice I can offer is learn your policies and procedures, and don't deviate from them. They'll be your best friend time and again, believe me. Also, develop your physical assessment skills, and learn to trust your judgment.
That said, congrats on picking corrections, which I consider "the best kept secret in nursing." Good luck!
Kevin Connor, RN
Jul 28, '01
I've worked as a correctional nurse for the past year in a small medium security jail. I have worked obs, psych, medical and home health in the past. I find that all of my previous experience has been a valuable asset. Most of our inmates have various questions pertaining to things going on in their lives outside of the institution, and I have found that being able to answer questions they may have about their loved ones alleviates alot of anxiety. Anyone who works in an institutional setting knows that one of the major precipitating factors of illness among inmates can be anxiety. Most inmates are able to relax, sleep better and generally feel better when they are reassured.
Jul 29, '01
My best of luck to you. I have briefly read a few replies and I agree. Team up with a "seasoned" veteran where you are going. I have worked with male offenders for over 17 years and the best advice I can give you is...be professional, look at the inmate as your patient, not what crime he is in for, and if you don't know something, be honest to him/her. They will respect that and will see right through a "bluff". You will be conned by them, don't see that as a failure but as a learning experience. It's their nature, they are con artists! Also, have a life outside of work that allows you some "me" time, time to relax, and someone to talk to that understands your line of work. If you don't have someone like that feel free to email me now and again, we correctional nurses are a "small group" in comparison to our collegues and need to support each other. Again...Good Luck!!
Aug 4, '01
I agree with those who stress the importance of a good orientation. I work per diem for two facilities with the Nevada Department of Corrections. In one facility, I was placed with an experienced nurse for two shifts on the shift I would be working for orientation before handling the job on my own. When the time came for me to do the job myself, I felt comfortable enough that I could do most things without consult. It also helped that there was another nurse on duty who I could ask questions of during my shift.
At the other facility, I was given one day of orientation on a different shift, then left to handle the job alone the next night. I felt totally lost. Fortunately, the offgoing nurse was nice enough to stay over and show me some things that my orienting nurse had not bothered to show me. The difference in this facility between the shift I oriented on (7-3) and the one I was asked to work (11-7) was like night and day. I felt ill-prepared for the latter assignment, so much so that I seriously considered telling the DON I would not work. After a couple of shifts there, I feel much better, but a decent orientation could have relieved a lot of stress.
Aug 18, '01
I love correctional nursing! I'm currently an administrator at a 400+ bed jail, housing both sexes awaiting sentencing.
We have 24 hr. RN staff.
My OB experience comes in very handy! One of our inmates went into premature labor and ultimately delivered. (in the hospital via cesarean)
One of our current inmates is a pre-eclamptic gestational diabetic 28 weeks gestation.
It's such an unbelievable learning experience. Fractures, HIV, Terminal patients, pregnancy, drug/alcohol abuse, gunshot wounds, trauma, orthopedic, psychiatric, etc.
Dec 18, '01
It is so wonderful to see so many others in this intersting and well kept secret domain of nursing. I work in an all male supermax security prison. I love the work! Good luck!
Jan 19, '02
I presently consult in two local county jail systems. I my certifciation is a pyschiatric and mental health nurse.
I have worked in this setting part time for at least 8 years.
My job desrciption is to assess and evaluate lethality levels of the inmates, assess an inmate when he is detoxing and general isssues related to mental health and I work closely with the "jail" nurse.
Know the policy and procedures, the charting system and be familar with the State DOC (department of corrections) regulations.
A good public health back ground would help.
Good luck, it is a different world, it can be interesting.
Always remember safety.
Aug 18, '02
Make sure you always remember "the correctional officers are your best friends." They want to protect you, to keep things as calm as possible, and they are the experts on handling the inmates. You will need them on your side, believe me.
Aug 18, '02
Remember that kindness can be mistaken for weakness
Pull your hair back,
don't wear dangling earrings
They are inmates, not patients,
Run like hell
scream when you have to
Don't take any crap
get a good orientation
keep your head down
be careful, it's a jungle out there
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