I work in a Kansas City suburb at a county Juvenile Detention Center and make $22.50 an hour. I got my RN license 4 months ago. My job requires a lot of autonomy (I am the only medical personnel on staff during the day) and very good assessment skills. This isn't so much to diagnose people with stuff that is wrong with them, but to figure out if they're faking. Heart attacks, asthma attacks, seizures....they love to fake these things to get trips to the hospital. And then there are kids who really are having seizures, etc and need to be cared for.
I think that someone new to nursing CAN work in this field. I do. I have a lot of questions but my boss is a phone call away, and I have two doctors I can call. I also have the internet and a huge medical library. It took me about 3 months to learn what I need to know.
I would suggest starting out in a juvenile or adult detention center, community corrections center, or jail. DO NOT start your career working in a prison. You want to have experience dealing with the people and such before begin caring for hardened criminals...
I was a corrections officer once upon a time, which gave me a slight advantage.
Sounds like I make a lot less than the rest of you folks, but around here, my pay is comparable to the hospital and slightly better than most nursing homes. However, I work 8 hour shifts (or 12s when I want to) and have weekends and evenings off. I get off at 1430! I don't have to lift anyone, and I don't have to put up with demanding, rude, abusive, crabby patients. I give medical care to people but I don't have to pretend that I am their friend. I am here to make you well and keep you healthy, and that is IT!
I love it so far. Next I think I will move in to Forensic nursing.
Hope this helps.