Prison job for female RN

  1. 0
    I got an interview offer for a prison RN job. My family is so angry with me thinking of taking that job. I thought I'd be with a guard all the time (depends on the prison, I know) and I really need to learn to be extra careful. During my public health rotation, I conducted in-home visits to released inmates and I did have quite a few inmates in my ER rotation. So, I know their manipulative behaviors. I'm a young female, very small. What are your thoughts?

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  2. 13 Comments...

  3. 2
    My mom's friend is a PA in a prison system in California. When she does her assessment, she's left all alone with the patient inside a room. There's a guard nearby though to help her if she calls for him. She said that yes, they are manipulative and she has to toughen up (she's petite, skinny and asian) but she survived working there for 10+ years.

    I'm actually interested in what other members have to say. I'm going for grad school in a few years and so far, it's the prison systems who offer a lucrative package for new RN grads.
  4. 4
    If you're young and cute they will try to manipulate you 40 ways to Sunday. Don't even think about taking the job unless you know you are very astute. You are going to have to maintain much tighter professional boundaries than in any other kind of nursing.

    Find out all you can about the particular facility where you will be working. How seriously do they take your safety or are they planning to throw you to the wolves? It's doable if you have what it takes and it's a well-run facility.

    Good luck.
  5. 2
    A friend of mine worked in a prison, and really liked it. There was no contact with the inmates without a guard present.

    They treat you how you treat them- from what she said... she showed respect, and the vast majority respected her. The ones who didn't were jerks- not violent towards her. If you're sensitive about juvenile sexual references, you'll be more likely to have issues with that than being in danger.... just what she told me
  6. 3
    I knew a friend of a friend (in Oz) who was a prison guard. She was a bit older when she got the job, & street savvy. But she always had to shadow the RNs who were not allowed to be left alone with any prisoners. It is part of their duties.
    I've talked to other prison RNs on here (& other sites), & most enjoyed it. I think the experience would be invaluable. You will learn manipulative behaviours and how to deal with sexual innuendoes. You will get a lot of abuse. When I've nursed prisoners in our teaching hospitals, we were told not to react to sexual innuendoes or threats - prisoners will do this all the time. It's all very psychological. You just do your job, don't comment - or make disparaging, negative comments - and get out of there. I've had to nurse a paedophile, murderer & rapist. No one else would care for the paedophile except me that day (they were all mums so I can understand that). You need to keep your emotions under the surface & just think: these people are mentally ill, (most not all), and will not take responsibility for their actions in any way. You have to try & distance yourself a bit and think: you can only do so much to help them - what they decide to do & how they decide to treat people is up to them. And you will some nasty, nasty inmates. I used to see the worse prisoners chatting & laughing with the new, young female RNs like they had never done anything wrong, & the fact that they were chained to a bed didn't seem to matter. They are all highly manipulative. Even the prison guards at the hospital were joking & laughing with the prisoners, & couldn't seem to see they were being manipulated. Talking sweetly, normally & nicely to others is a very manipulative way of 'getting them on your side'. And prisoners know how to play guards/nurses etc against each other, so watch out.
    It all comes down to your personal philosophy as well. Do u believe in rehabilitation, or that some people are just the scum of the earth? Have a think about that before accepting the job, otherwise u may hate your work place everyday.
  7. 2
    Oh, forgot: ask FIRST before taking the job if a guard is present when giving nursing care, very important to know.
  8. 4
    I have a friend who is a NP in a medium security state prison. She really likes it. She says the corrections officers are, by far, much more difficult and unpleasant to deal with than the inmates.
  9. 1
    Quote from linearthinker
    I have a friend who is a NP in a medium security state prison. She really likes it. She says the corrections officers are, by far, much more difficult and unpleasant to deal with than the inmates.
    This is true, I've worked a few ER's in central Cali that had the prison contracts and the guards can be difficult most of the time. Some of the prisoners can act a fool but the guards can really show their backsides when they are told they still have to wait. "Well, I'm going to have to call my watch commander to get this authorized" lol.
    virgo,student nurse likes this.
  10. 4
    I work at a county jail and love it. You have to be VERY secure with yourself in terms of being a female and not letting jabs about "ugly", "fat", etc bother you....because they will throw anything out. I agree with a PP, the officers are usually worse than inmates. If you set a standard from the beginning that you refuse to be alone with an inmate and follow through, you should be fine. I get lazy officers all the time who are too busy to stick with me and you just have to move up the ranks to Sgt or Lt to get your job done. You're not there to make friends, that's for sure. It helps if you're married and happy in your marriage because you're not even thinking about meeting men at work. Corrections nursing can be the best career, but it's definitely not for everyone. Inmates and addicts are the most manipulative types of people on the planet. They will scheme to get a blank sheet of paper or a tube of A&D ointment or a bandaid. They're terribly creative and have nothing better to do with their time than to come up with new schemes for getting what they want. You have to be firm. My standard response is "Nope, I like my job and wanna keep it....I'm not allowed to give you X, Y, or Z"
  11. 3
    Quote from TriciaJ
    If you're young and cute they will try to manipulate you 40 ways to Sunday. Don't even think about taking the job unless you know you are very astute. You are going to have to maintain much tighter professional boundaries than in any other kind of nursing.

    Find out all you can about the particular facility where you will be working. How seriously do they take your safety or are they planning to throw you to the wolves? It's doable if you have what it takes and it's a well-run facility.

    Good luck.
    I disagree with the "young and cute" comment. They will attempt to manipulate you regardless of your looks, size, age, or gender. The male nurses get the same leering looks and comments that the female nurses do. The female nurses tend to be the ones that feed into it though.
    Criminals are everywhere; the difference is, in a prison setting they are wearing uniforms and are easily identified and you have access to security personnel. If you want the job, take it but be smart. Never go into an area that doesn't have security officers present, never leave an i/m alone in your area or they will rob you blind, always be sceptical, and listen to your inner voice about safety. You will not be in trouble if you say "I didn't begin medical treatment because I did not perceive the area as safe." Because safety trumps medical treatment in corrections.
    katkonk, luckystarRN, and Altra like this.


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