New Grad, Offered Position in clinic at Correctional Institute. Take it???

  1. Hello!

    I am a newly graduated nurse as of may. I have had an interesting few months since then, some ED experience etc. Friday I was offered a position to work as the clinic nurse at a correctional institute nearby--through a staffing network. I have an interview tomorrow morning.

    I have been doing some research online, and came across this message board through that. I'm so glad there's a place out there like this, I'm hoping that you can offer me some advice.

    What is correctional nursing like? Would it be bad for me to get into this, would it limit my career? I like the idea of having more autonomy, and working in a different environment. I'm not a typical new grad... and didn't want to go straight to med/surg (hence ED). I have worked a free clinic while in nursing school and have a pretty good idea of how the job would be done.

    The staffing network seemed really excited about my resume and the different experiences I've had. I was in ROTC in college and through that did an internship at an army hospital, working in the level 1 trauma center. Having had military training, I have been 'toughened up' in some respects and feel that would help in a prison setting.

    I have read through some of your posts and for the most part am encouraged.

    What would you say to a relatively new grad going into correctional nursing? Is it wise for my career? (My interests are in the ED and maybe Flight nursing in the future....I am also getting my masters in mental health counseling right now and eventually hope to start up a wilderness therapy program for teens/young adults). Is it safe? Is it demanding? Do you like your job?

    Any advice or knowledge you could pass on would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    Carebear06
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   jamangel
    I really like my job. I work PRN at a jail but use to work full time at jails and prisons. I loved it-my hubby didn't. ALL my camps were pretty safe. You must handle yourself professionally at all times with inmates.. They have many tricks. You don't HAVE to be mean or ugly but stern and direct should do. The jail is more relaxing for me than prison but it just depends on your job duties.
  4. by   Carebear06
    I did take the job. I am waiting to hear from the person who will be my boss for more specific information like on orientation... going over there to see where I'll be working etc. I'm excited but nervous at the same time, more nervous than I was when starting in the ED before.

    Is there anything special I should do to prepare? I was thinking of taking like a self defense class just in case... you never know. I had thought of it for the ED too. It would at least make me feel more confident. I know it's probably only a small minority that would even try anything...

    Am I still going to be getting good nursing experience? Or am I doing myself a disservice or limiting myself in some way by accepting this position? I could see it as going either way...

    I wonder what the uniform is going to be like... I have all these fun scrubs like rubber ducks, noah's ark, animals, flowers... hmm... lol.


    I have been having so many thoughts swarming through my head about this job. Different feelings. I think mostly though I am excited about it, looking forward to doing something unique and getting a different experience than most nurses get to have. My husband is in the military and is deployed to Iraq right now. When he gets back I'll have to move, so I won't be at this job for more than a year or so anyway... after that I'd like to get into an ED. Plans can always change though, lol. Prison nursing never even crossed my mind!

    Comments... Advice... Suggestions on how to prepare???

    I'd really appreciate it...
  5. by   Carebear06
    :uhoh21: I've been reading through the different topics/posts here much of tonight trying to figure out what my job might turn out to be like. Now I am not so sure. I am having mixed and uneasy feelings. But the pay is good, I'm not a 'typical' new grad and like doing unusual things... I'm just scared I guess because I really don't know what to expect...there was no clinical rotation at the local prison in school....

    What if I get there and I don't like it? Will it look bad if I quit right away? I'm scared of feeling locked in to the job and not liking it. I know I want to do ED eventually...for a while at least. I'll be a mostly stay at home mom once we have kids.

    I might like this type of nursing a lot... I really don't know. It could be my niche... I know I can't find out unless I try ... but if I don't like it... is it going to look bad on my resume to have quit? I had to leave my 1st job I got in May after graduation after 2 months due to needing to move closer to family d/t family issues. I got a job here in WI but was fired because of it taking too long to get my license through :angryfire (stupid reason). So now I am trying this job... I haven't started yet. I'm afraid of what will happen if I don't like it... what it would do to my resume...??? :smackingf:
  6. by   jamangel
    I am a firm believer in not working where you're not happy. If where you're going isn't your first choice then you won't be thrilled anyway. Since this is your first job as a nurse I would advise you to stay unless the environment is unsafe or something is going to compromise your license. Otherwise try to stick it out for this one year period before you move or at least 6 months.

    Are you a RN or LPN? I asked because depending on where you live LPN jobs may be limited to LTC if where you live is small place or you live where hospitals have converted mostly to RN's in the hospital. If you are an RN you have more leverage and what I like to say less BS to put up with and ALWAYS in demand.

    There's not a lot of skill use in some of these facilites unless they are medical camps. I have worked a medical camp and enjoyed it but it's hard work but your skills will be maximized. If it's a regular camp you're in for a breeze work wise. ED work history will help with emergency situations. You will pretty much have your autonomy. Limiting your career? I doubt it as it will be only 1 year.

    If you want to take a self-defense class do it you won't need it at this job, that's what the CO's are for. You're not to ever be left alone with an inmate.

    You should be able to wear what you want.
  7. by   BSNinTX
    Well, it sounds like you want to do ER, so that's probably what you should do.

    With that said, I work corrections. From my viewpoint, it should not look bad if you quit soon after coming to corrections. The truth is that some people are made for the work, and many, many are not. If you are not made for corrections (i.e., if you don't come to think of it as a great place to be), please leave quickly. The others you work with will appreciate it more than hanging around if you don't belong there. Such a person can create trouble for their coworkers...in prison, trouble usually means danger.

    Quote from Carebear06
    :uhoh21: I've been reading through the different topics/posts here much of tonight trying to figure out what my job might turn out to be like. Now I am not so sure. I am having mixed and uneasy feelings. But the pay is good, I'm not a 'typical' new grad and like doing unusual things... I'm just scared I guess because I really don't know what to expect...there was no clinical rotation at the local prison in school....

    What if I get there and I don't like it? Will it look bad if I quit right away? I'm scared of feeling locked in to the job and not liking it. I know I want to do ED eventually...for a while at least. I'll be a mostly stay at home mom once we have kids.

    I might like this type of nursing a lot... I really don't know. It could be my niche... I know I can't find out unless I try ... but if I don't like it... is it going to look bad on my resume to have quit? I had to leave my 1st job I got in May after graduation after 2 months due to needing to move closer to family d/t family issues. I got a job here in WI but was fired because of it taking too long to get my license through :angryfire (stupid reason). So now I am trying this job... I haven't started yet. I'm afraid of what will happen if I don't like it... what it would do to my resume...??? :smackingf:
  8. by   Carebear06
    ED is my first choice, but that door has been closed for now... This is the first thing to come my way in 2 months of job hunting. It has been really difficult. So I can't just wait around for an ED job, as a new grad it's hard to get into. My first place was retarded for firing me b/c IL was slow in producing my license..that's not my fault.

    I am a RN. I guess I will just see how it goes and be honest with my employer about how I feel about the job once I get there. I am working for a staffing agency, so perhaps they'd be able to find me a different job if I didn't fit into correctional nursing. There's a chance I'll like it though too...who knows...

    Would this experience help prepare me better for ED nursing, or would it limit me? I don't know what kind of skills I will be using often. I know I have read a lot that assessment becomes key... which it would be good to build up my assessment skills.... But other than that and passing meds, what do correctional nurses do? How common are actual emergencies? What kind of actual patient care do you get to do?
  9. by   hippychick650
    Hi, just to say that i am a new grad from uk, and working my first job in a prison, i had spent 12yrs working as a health care assistant in a general hospital, and needed a different environment to work, and i suppose i picked something really different. I had the same worries as you as i wasnt sure i was limiting myself, before i even started a career, but to be honest i am really enjoying it, i have moved into the addictions side now, when you list the learning opportunities, i look on it as community nursing in your own unique community, but you also have your emergencies, triage, nurse clinics etc. I feel i may be losing skills in a hospital setting, but gaining in a speciality. dont know if my comments help in anyway.:Santa1:
  10. by   jamangel
    Since you are working for a staffing agency, leaving should not be a problem if you're not happy.
  11. by   mollyjeanrn
    I am just wondering how you feel about the job now? I am in a similar position to you. My first nursing job is at the state penitentiary and I was very leary of taking it, not because of my safety but because of how it would look on my resume and if my skills would deteoriate. Well, as it turns out, 6 months later I really like my job (although my husband HATES it). I am not getting the same experiences that most of my other classmates are at the hospitals but I am getting experience in this very unique form of nursing. My training was nil and I had to learn lots of "nursing" VERY quickly, on my own. I am thrilled to have taken this job and I can see myself being a corrections nurse for a long time to come...Oh, yea, I also make easily $10.00/hr more than everyone I went to school with! I 'd love to hear about how you are feeling...
  12. by   NurseRachy
    Carebear06 - Firstly - good luck in your new job. You'll never know unless you try it. I have a couple of friends that work in prisons and they LOVE it. They always have officers around them and are NEVER alone with the inmates. They would never come back to a hospital and they tell me the extra money surely helps too!
    Good Luck and ENJOY
    Rachel
  13. by   NurseTino
    Well I'm doing it now for 11 months and I must say it is better than I thought it would be. but as a newbie You really need some practical experience in a Hospital !


    "Everything that is new or uncommon raises a pleasure in the imagination, because it fills the soul with an agreeable surprise, gratifies its curiosity, and gives it an idea of which it was not before possessed".
    Joseph Addison
  14. by   pendita
    Quote from Carebear06
    Hello!

    I am a newly graduated nurse as of may. I have had an interesting few months since then, some ED experience etc. Friday I was offered a position to work as the clinic nurse at a correctional institute nearby--through a staffing network. I have an interview tomorrow morning.

    I have been doing some research online, and came across this message board through that. I'm so glad there's a place out there like this, I'm hoping that you can offer me some advice.

    What is correctional nursing like? Would it be bad for me to get into this, would it limit my career? I like the idea of having more autonomy, and working in a different environment. I'm not a typical new grad... and didn't want to go straight to med/surg (hence ED). I have worked a free clinic while in nursing school and have a pretty good idea of how the job would be done.

    The staffing network seemed really excited about my resume and the different experiences I've had. I was in ROTC in college and through that did an internship at an army hospital, working in the level 1 trauma center. Having had military training, I have been 'toughened up' in some respects and feel that would help in a prison setting.

    I have read through some of your posts and for the most part am encouraged.

    What would you say to a relatively new grad going into correctional nursing? Is it wise for my career? (My interests are in the ED and maybe Flight nursing in the future....I am also getting my masters in mental health counseling right now and eventually hope to start up a wilderness therapy program for teens/young adults). Is it safe? Is it demanding? Do you like your job?

    Any advice or knowledge you could pass on would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    Carebear06
    it can be a rewarding career with correstions i started as a new grad and enjoy the daily challenges and opportunities
    pendita

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