Prison nursing.

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    I am moving soon and going to work in a prison near my home town. Just wondered has anyone got any stories re prison nursing and how it was? I've heard some horror ones from work and good ones as well, where some nurses felt they really made a difference. Any info you can give me would be great, (and please don't tell me to go and get the job description, as the agency doesn't have one to give me - I already asked). Just want to get a general idea of how it has been for other people.

    It will certainly be a change from private hospital nursing!

    Thanks in advance.
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    I worked in the NM prison system for almost a year. >500 male prisoners, and I'm 6"3", so naturally there were male male clashes, no matter what I did. The women did fine. Guess I can best sum up the mentality there by mentioning that the prisoners had a class action suit going against the state. The prisoners wanted more security guards because they didn't feel safe in the prison. I treated a lot of assaults and homosexual rape, so I hope they won because I surely didn't feel safe.
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    Quote from dthfytr
    I worked in the NM prison system for almost a year. >500 male prisoners, and I'm 6"3", so naturally there were male male clashes, no matter what I did. The women did fine. Guess I can best sum up the mentality there by mentioning that the prisoners had a class action suit going against the state. The prisoners wanted more security guards because they didn't feel safe in the prison. I treated a lot of assaults and homosexual rape, so I hope they won because I surely didn't feel safe.
    I'm not in the US. What is a NM prison - is that liked mixed with both sexes or something?
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    I think when dthfytr said NM he is referring to the U.S. state New Mexico. In the states we tend to refer to each state by two letter postal abbreviation when writing.
    nursebenson and carolmaccas66 like this.
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    I work at a women's prison in CA. I really love my job, sometimes the girls **** me off, but I am still in control so I can tell them how it is. But its great when you really help the ones who need it, and get just a simple "Thank You" you really can tell when they are sincere. Health teaching is pretty cool, since most need a lot.

    I work in the TTA, which is like a little ER/triage area for any time medical emergencies is what it is supposed to be, sometimes its what they think is emergency, which it is not, but it still is okay.

    I think its easier being an RN doing prison nursing as the only way I have ever known, because I am just under 1.5yr nursing experience. However, experience does not make a bad prison nurse, but just takes more acclimation, adjusting your ways, changing habits.

    We also have clinic RNs who run their own clinic lines for non emergent medical issues. Also we have a SNF, and mental health crisis bed RNs too.
    Any more specific questions, just ask me.
    carolmaccas66 likes this.
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    Quote from miatagirl707
    I work at a women's prison in CA. I really love my job, sometimes the girls **** me off, but I am still in control so I can tell them how it is. But its great when you really help the ones who need it, and get just a simple "Thank You" you really can tell when they are sincere. Health teaching is pretty cool, since most need a lot.

    I work in the TTA, which is like a little ER/triage area for any time medical emergencies is what it is supposed to be, sometimes its what they think is emergency, which it is not, but it still is okay.

    I think its easier being an RN doing prison nursing as the only way I have ever known, because I am just under 1.5yr nursing experience. However, experience does not make a bad prison nurse, but just takes more acclimation, adjusting your ways, changing habits.

    We also have clinic RNs who run their own clinic lines for non emergent medical issues. Also we have a SNF, and mental health crisis bed RNs too.
    Any more specific questions, just ask me.
    Yes, I would like more info. Do you feel safe? This is a big issue for me, as I once worked in a locked ward and was half-strangled and choked by a patient who'd had a serious head injury (related to alcohol issues), and he did not have dementia - had a plate in his head. It was very frightening - it happened years ago, but I can still remember my terror. What is the routine of your day like? I guess I just want to know is it very different from hospital nursing (I work in a nice, private hospital at the mo thru agency). I wonder if it would be too much of a change for me, but as one of my CNs said you can only try and see what happens. The agency lady isn't a nurse so can't give me too much info (go figure!)
    Have you ever been assaulted, are there guards around all the time? One CN told me she was so badly verbally abused, that she just up and quit one day and said she'd never go back. But it would be good experience on my ever growing resume and my curiosity has been sparked!
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    Quote from CJMR
    I think when dthfytr said NM he is referring to the U.S. state New Mexico. In the states we tend to refer to each state by two letter postal abbreviation when writing.
    Thank you. I forgot about the abbreviations used. I keep using WA for Western Australia, and someone said it means Washington in the US!
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    To carolmaccas66

    I do feel safe, I try very hard to always be aware of each situation and if and when it may escalate. I think that is something you need to always be thinking with prison nursing, especially in a male prison. The females are not quite as prone to violence to eachother or staff as far as I've heard or seen.

    The job I had before this was at a State mental hospital for males, mostly sexually violent predators as they are deemed here in california. I never actually had verbal abuse turn into physical violence, however I felt physically threatened a few times. There they have hospital police officers for security, but they are not always around, and there was a lot of opportunity for the patient to take advantage of the situation.

    I think it is much more secure where I work now, I don't see every inmate with an officer present, but there is always another RN or staff member in the other room with full visibilty. We have officers always with ones who have history of violence to staff, are suicidal, ad seg(basically solitary confinement), or death row. If we have to see a inmate in their cell we always have an officer and all other inmates have to exit the cell.

    In the mental health crisis beds, they are even more restricted due to suicidal precautions, etc and the officer is present most times the cell is opened, and there are surveillance cameras inside those rooms.

    Well my typical day involves taking phone calls and triaging them or making a decision if the medical complaint they have needs to be seen in TTA that night (I work nights), seeing inmates returning from out to medical appointments such as getting vital signs, reviewing procedures done, assessing dressings and notifying the doctor and receiving any orders for further follow up. My particular position also has the responsibility to respond to the various housing units for medical emergencies when the alarm is pulled, or if the officer calls for assistance or just to see the inmate and see if they need to be seen that night.

    We do various nursing assessements of the big and small, and the emergent and non emergent medical needs. Try to figure out "what do they want? what is the purpose of their scheme?", because unfortunately they do scheme, but sometimes that makes it more fun and interesting.
    carolmaccas66 likes this.
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    Hey Carol Don't have any experiences to share, just wanted say good-luck and congrats on the new job!

    Also, here is a link to the correctional nurses section here on AN-I enjoy reading stuff over there. I look forward to reading your posts on the new job

    http://allnurses.com/correctional-nursing/
    carolmaccas66 likes this.
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    Moved to Correctional Nursing forum


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