Looks a hinderance to being hired?

  1. Hi all, I had a thought a few days ago as I get closer to completing nursing school, and have an interest in correctional nursing. The need for correctional nurses is evident, but here's my question. Is there a possibility that an applicant would not be considered for hire after interview, because of the way she looks? To clarify, would an applicant who may happen to look like Heather Locklear NOT be considered because of the nature of the correctional environment and specifically the inmates behavior toward a nurse that may appear to them to look more like a model or actress, than a nurse. Odd, but curious about that. Any C-nurses who might know the scoop on this? By the way, in no way do I look like Heather Locklear!
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  2. 29 Comments

  3. by   VegRN
    No, we're not all hags...
    If you are hot, I don't think that would be a factor in the hiring decision. Maybe I am wrong but, I imagine the nursing shortage is worse in corrections being that many nurses (and people in general) wouldn't pick corrections as their first choice in a nursing job. I base this on the opinions of other non correctional nurses I know and staffing at prisons near me so, I could be way off.
    And anyway, inmates can and will act inappropriate no matter what you look like. Hiring staff generally know that too.
    btw...We have a few nurses on the attractive side where I work and there are definitely are more inmate questions as to "Is so-and-so working today".
    Last edit by VegRN on Jan 17, '07
  4. by   JailHouseTeer
    Dear, looks at our place makes no difference. Most of us are old and warn out! lol.
  5. by   military spouse
    Our place hires all types. We have some naturally attractive nurses (stereotypical young and blond), middle-aged nurses, older nurses, and some nurses who dress in uniforms that are a bit too revealing and way too much makeup. I guess more importantly is how a nurse acts toward an inmate. We have had some issues with nurses becoming involved with inmates, but I don't think their perceived level of attractiveness was the issue. Personally, I don't wear a bit of makeup to work. I'm 37 and don't do a thing to look attractive or smell good and I still get the occasional comment such as "What are you wearing, you smell really good." I'm sure the younger/prettier nurses initially hear more than that, but make it a point to not tolerate inappropriate comments/compliments. We have one nurse who is very early 20s and seems to really like to hear the inmates compliment her and she jokes with them. She is asking for trouble, but doesn't even realize it. Now, all bets are off if you have to go to seg. tiers. Many of those guys are pigs and really enjoy talking like it and showing their male anatomical parts.
  6. by   JaxiaKiley
    I wondered about this, too. I worry about those girls who are encouraging those guys to compliment them.
  7. by   BSNinTX
    I agree with the others who say that looks should not be an issue. I do think from my experience that you are unlikely to see a whole lot of really young women working as correctional nurses, simply because many peopel come to corrections later in their careers rather than early. There are probably many reasons for this, but that is a different issue. Corrections may still be a male dominated area, but there have been females of all sorts in the field for long enough now that most places don't take great issue with it. There may be some holdouts, generally on the basis of the bad history in the places, such as the supermaxes, but these are few and far between.

    Yes, no matter who you are or what you look like, inmates are going to say or do things that they shouldn't or that are inoffensive. How do you discipline a guy for masturbating whenever the nurse comes around if he's already in seg with a life sentence?

    Let me say also that anytime something happens, it must be reported. Anytime inmates come looking around for an individual without a legitimate reason, whatever internal affairs or investigative people exist must be alerted. Any tolerance of this is likely to escalte to something else. Anytime you suspect something between an inmate and staff, it must be looked into. When these things turn bad, it's usually not the compromised staff who get hurt, but the others around them. At the very least, when that person gets themselves into trouble, I may very well be the one who ends up having to fight the inmate to save the staff member's sorry a**. I'll do it, but I sure won't like it one little bit.

    Okay, soapbox time is over.

    Just another opinion, if you are a new grad I really don't recommend corrections. You really need a good year or more of urgent care / ER / occupation health / clinic nursing behind you before you get into corrections. It's just too hard to try to learn to be a nurse for the first time in that environment.
  8. by   newtress
    I appreciate and thank y'all for the insight and perspectives on this unique area of nursing. I agree that as a new grad it wouldn't be to her/his advantage to try correctional as an early employment option. And I also fully agree that a super young nurse accepting and enjoying compliments from inmates is trouble. And back to the original question, well there goes. It doesn't matter regarding the looks of the nurses who work corrections. I suppose I was thinking of the hiring process and being looked over by the staffing agencies if the nurse applicant was a good fit. No more mystery on this one! Thanks.
  9. by   RN BSN 2009
    It's not what's on your head it's what's in it
  10. by   Mudwoman
    To be good in corrections, you need to have excellent assessment skills, very clear defined boundaries, and very clear defined values/morals.

    None of the above is exclusive to how a person looks.
  11. by   docnrse
    Very well said MUDWOMAN!!! No matter what you look like, you will get attention by inmates and officers. Your self esteem must be very good to survive in corrections because if you allow yourself to be flattered by the attention you will get yourself into a heap of trouble. I have seen nurses come and go by the dozens.
  12. by   jamangel
    i agree with all the posts. looks really doesn't matter. I've seen very attractive nurses and some supposedly not as attractive nurses thrive AND fail at performing their duties. Also, I've seen just as many older nurses's fall into the inmate trap as young ones do. So it really isn't about whether you're attractive or not, old or young. It's all about who you are. I'm not really in agreement about self-esteem always being the issue but I'm sure it has been for many.
  13. by   Peatness
    Out of curiosity, how does the pay compare to general nursing? What is a 'typical' shift for a correctional nurse? I have always been curious to know more about about working in a correctional facility.
  14. by   VegRN
    Quote from docnrse
    Very well said MUDWOMAN!!! No matter what you look like, you will get attention by inmates and officers. Your self esteem must be very good to survive in corrections because if you allow yourself to be flattered by the attention you will get yourself into a heap of trouble. I have seen nurses come and go by the dozens.
    Dozens? Excuse my naivety but, it's that common for nurses who chose to work in corrections to fall for the flattery of inmates?

    Scary

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