Professional boundraries in Correctional Nursing - page 2

by harmonpa 5,243 Views | 16 Comments

I am a new nurse that is hoping to soon be an employee in corrections. I have read alot about all the information on this forum about correctional nursing and just have some questions about the professional boundraries issue. I... Read More


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    Quote from mikethemurse
    4. I avoid any and all personal conversations. Meaning the IM have no idea where I live, if I am single or have a finance, what kind of care I drive, and etc. I also refrain from asking personal questions such as these, unless it is part of an assessment i.e. to assess the support system that an IM with psych issues has on the outside.
    Cannot be emphasized strongly enough. I did a brief (6 mo) stint as a CO. I carried a work wallet- ID & cash only. If you have a secure locker, put your stuff in it before going to the units. Manipulation runs the gamut from trying to get an extra slice of pizza, to seeing what your reaction is to nekkid pictures of their GF/BF is- can you be induced to participate in internal trafficking or social compromise that opens you up to the same.
    lindarn likes this.
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    I am a new grad LVN and am interested in working in corrections. I am also a small framed female who smiles a lot. Quite a few people have told me that corrections is not something I should consider- none of them are nurses. I secretly worry that I might not be mean enough, or tough enough. I am firm and have clear boundaries. I regularly take the same self defense courses that police officers do, so I can be tough- I just don't usually lead with that tactic.

    Does size matter? Does being tough matter?
    lindarn likes this.
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    We have issues at the prison I work at with professional boundaries. Most of the nurses invite the inmates to call them by their first name. At first I went with it. After some issues arose with another nurse being way too friendly and sharing personal information with the inmates, I stopped letting them call me by my first name. Most of the inmates were perfectly fine with it and picked up on it on their own very quickly. But we have one who pitched a fit when I told her she needed to adress me as Nurse Lastname and demanded to know why. I never address any inmate by their first name unless they are unresponsive.
    Some of the nurses have a problem with me not wanting to be called by my first name. Just because they've been working there for 10 years doesn't mean I'm going to go against administrative directives and compromise myself because they tell me it's okay. I've gotten a lot more respect from the inmates since insisting on last name only, and more respect from the correctional officers as well.

    featherbean, you don't have to be large or loud or mean or tough. Just be firm, fair, and consistent. Know your boundaries and stick to them. I'm also a small framed female that smiles a lot, and the inmates know they won't get anything by me. You can make it work.

    Another good thing to remember is "That is a personal question and I will not answer it."
    ceddlemon and kito4149 like this.
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    I worked in a prison for four years, from LPN to Director of Nursing. What I found is you have to be very careful what you tell the COs about yourself. There are some COs who will tell all of your business to the inmates just to have a conversation or for some vindictive payback because you wouldn't give them an APAP for headache or give them something else (you know what I mean). Believe me, cause it was done to me and I found out from another inmate. That inmate told me the exact info I told the CO so I had no choice but to believe him. So, treat the inmates with respect and they will respect you back. But treat the COs the way you would treat the inmates- firm, fair, and most importantly consistent.
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    I have an odd situation, that I am clearly "light skinned" but spanish speaking. It causes lots of questions about my personal life. Since I am usually one of the only bilinguals it makes the hispanic inmates/patients automatically "bond" with me simply because I am the only person that can converse with them. This may sound odd, but in a facility where almost nobody is bilingual the patients/inmates can go several days without being spoken to by staff so they begin to craze any conversation.
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    Quote from featherbean
    I am a new grad LVN and am interested in working in corrections. I am also a small framed female who smiles a lot. Quite a few people have told me that corrections is not something I should consider- none of them are nurses. I secretly worry that I might not be mean enough, or tough enough. I am firm and have clear boundaries. I regularly take the same self defense courses that police officers do, so I can be tough- I just don't usually lead with that tactic.

    Does size matter? Does being tough matter?
    Mindset. That was the reason I left corrections. If you doubt, you're already behind the inmate(s). I spent most of my professional life (EMT) verbally de-escalating. It works well, but the IMs will push to see if you have a "go" trigger, where you'll stop their advances. If you don't, they know they can take/use you. I hadn't worked the physical side enough to have established the escalation point from verbal to physical. I've since worked to mitigate that failure, to some degree.

    Speaking of the SD stuff- if the officers you're working with aren't using full-shield sparring helmets, and if there aren't occassionally some dislocated fingers & bloody noses(inside the helmet) & knees, it probably isn't hard enough. Its like wearing your seatbelt. You may never need it, but when you do, you really need it. Being small means you have to make up for the size in "meanness" and/or technology (read a pen you can stab with- I like Parker and good ol' Bic). A significantly larger man(200#+) can simply pick you up or fold you over, all the happy-crappy GI Jane stuff notwithstanding. You don't see co-ed MMA for a reason.

    Smiling is an indicator of social acceptance. Even your post is friendly. That's fine, but if you don't have an animal inside that will bite, claw, and go straight for eye-gouges to survive, literally, corrections may not be the best choice.

    I went to corrections(officer, not nsg) after 5 years as an EMT, having handled (only) a couple of "warm" shooting scenes and quite a few EDPs/assaultive people, and really had trouble with the transition of "talk-it-down", to "now-we're talking-now-its-kickas-time".
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    I have been working in corrections (prison, not jail) for almost 8 years. The very best advice if you must go into corrections is definately being firm, fair and consistent. Treat the inmates/detainees/offenders (whatever they are called where you are) with professional respect, but then on the other hand, you don't "kiss their butt".

    With that being said, the very best advice I would give to a new nurse going into corrections is DO NOT DO IT !!

    Having a long time position as a correctional nurse has made it almost impossible for me to get another position in any other nursing field, even though I had several years of ER and ICU experience prior to working in corrections.


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