questions about correctional nursing

  1. 0
    Hello all correctional nurses..

    I am an RN who is in need of some info on correctional nursing. If anyone can help, it will be greatly appreciated.. I am looking for a change in career and would like to know some info..

    1. What are some advantages of being a correctional nurse? Do you get bonuses, rewards of some kind, flexible hours??

    2. What are some of the disadvantages? I can imagine that danger is one of them.. any others??

    3. How many posiitons are available in your facility for correctional nurses??

    Again, thank you for your knowledge and time..
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  4. 8 Comments so far...

  5. 0
    Quote from nurse angora4
    Hello all correctional nurses..

    I am an RN who is in need of some info on correctional nursing. If anyone can help, it will be greatly appreciated.. I am looking for a change in career and would like to know some info..

    1. What are some advantages of being a correctional nurse? Do you get bonuses, rewards of some kind, flexible hours??

    2. What are some of the disadvantages? I can imagine that danger is one of them.. any others??

    3. How many posiitons are available in your facility for correctional nurses??

    Again, thank you for your knowledge and time..
    The benefits are usually good. The RN's at our facility get 15% hazard duty pay on top of their gross income. We also get a uniform allowance.
    The downside is the type of patients that you have. There is always danger in the work area. Sometimes the facility is on lock down and no one can move about. That makes it hard to do the job sometimes.
    It really is an interesting profession.
    I work in a county jail that houses 1500 inmates. We have approx. 15 doctors on staff, 60 RN's, 50 LVN's, 20 MA's, 2 dentists, X-ray techs, dialysis nurses, psych techs...
    Whenever staffing gets low...we use registery nurses to fill in. I actually started working for a registery first to see how I would like it. I have now been a full-time employee for over 6 years.
    There are benifits and downfalls...but I think that you find that in any job...
    Hope this helped some!
  6. 0
    Dear lvnprntlc,

    Thank you for your response!! It was very helpful and I appreciate you taking the time to respond. I am presently a cardiothoracic nurse presently and if you ever have any questions regarding this, let me know.. I will be happy to help.. thanks again....
  7. 0
    I work as DON of a Correctional Healthcare Company. I started as the administrator of a local prison and moved up the chain over the past 7 years.

    1. Benefits depend on the type of facility you work in. For example, a prison without an infirmary is much easier than a prison with an infirmary. Benefits vary by facility location. If one of our facilities is having trouble recruiting, and has a qualified applicant who may have a need for flexible scheduling, we offer it. It comes down to what can you provide that we need & what can we provide that you need. Some facilities have sign on bonuses or relocation bonuses, etc.

    All of my facilities operate a clinic only. These facilities run similar to MD offices. We triage medical complaints, follow chronic illnesses, manage medications, pass medications, schedule appointments, etc. One benefit of this environment is your patients are ambulatory (no bedpans, no assistance with ADLs, etc.). We consider our adult inmates as "adults" and we treat them as such and allow them to play an active role in their own healthcare. (Just as your doctor allows you to do in the real world) We have a medical observation room for those inmates who need isolation from the rest of the population or frequent checks by nursing staff, but no one on med obs requires skilled nursing care.

    I have never worked for a facility which had an infirmary. So I don't know the benefits of this type of environment.

    However, from all of the nurses I have worked with in corrections, the best advantage overall is NO FAMILIES! When I worked in the hospital, it was a common saying that if the families would leave us to do our jobs, we could get so much more accomplished. How true it is! Now you have one Warden to deal with instead of multiple family members.

    2. As far as disadvantages, the biggest is politics. There are so many things you have to do a certain way "just because". I heard this same complaint in the hospital, so I know it's not unique to corrections. However as you move up the chain, you see more and more. Medical is not the first priority, security is. If you accept this, it's no problem. If you don't, you'll never last.

    Believe it or not, in our facilities, security is not a disadvantage. I know exactly what my patient is...
    an inmate! I have security backup. In the hospital, I didn't know anything about my patients other than what they told me. The inmate can tell me how innocent he is or whatever, but he is in prison.

    I had instances in the county hospital where the patient or visitors were gang members and there was one security officer (without a gun) for the entire hospital. We also had those patients that were released straight from the hospital and booked into jail (we weren't notified of this until he was ready for discharge).

    Needless to say, I feel much safer in the prison setting than in the hospital. However whatever setting you are in, your safety should be your number one priority.

    3. As far as openings, it really depends on the region. In smaller more remote towns, it is harder to recruit staff. In larger metropolitan areas, it's easier to recruit. If the staff is happy, they stay.

    Hope this helps. If you have any other questions or concerns you can always email me at cmoore@pnamedical.net . I am always trying to talk up correctional nursing. I know I will NEVER go back to the hospital setting!

    Good luck in whatever you decide!

    Cristi
  8. 0
    Dear CMooreRN,

    Thank you for responding in soooo much detail!!! I am so glad that there are still nurses out there that don't have a problem in sharing their knowledge with those who seek it. We are mortal and sometimes forget that the only thing that we will leave behind is our knowledge and wisdom.. Thanks again... God bless...
  9. 0
    Wow, that's a lot of staff! We have 1400+ inmates. We have one administrator, one admin assistant (read: secretary), two records techs, one pharmacist, a part time pharmacy tech, two dentists, one dental assistant, one MD, five PAs, two RNs. We also have some contract staff (surgeon, opthomology, optometry, x-ray tech) who come 4 hours/week or less.

    Don't get me wrong, we need more people; the inmates keep getting sicker!

    Quote from lvnprntlc
    The benefits are usually good. The RN's at our facility get 15% hazard duty pay on top of their gross income. We also get a uniform allowance.
    The downside is the type of patients that you have. There is always danger in the work area. Sometimes the facility is on lock down and no one can move about. That makes it hard to do the job sometimes.
    It really is an interesting profession.
    I work in a county jail that houses 1500 inmates. We have approx. 15 doctors on staff, 60 RN's, 50 LVN's, 20 MA's, 2 dentists, X-ray techs, dialysis nurses, psych techs...
    Whenever staffing gets low...we use registery nurses to fill in. I actually started working for a registery first to see how I would like it. I have now been a full-time employee for over 6 years.
    There are benifits and downfalls...but I think that you find that in any job...
    Hope this helped some!
  10. 0
    Quote from bsnintx
    wow, that's a lot of staff! we have 1400+ inmates. we have one administrator, one admin assistant (read: secretary), two records techs, one pharmacist, a part time pharmacy tech, two dentists, one dental assistant, one md, five pas, two rns. we also have some contract staff (surgeon, opthomology, optometry, x-ray tech) who come 4 hours/week or less.

    don't get me wrong, we need more people; the inmates keep getting sicker!
    reading about a lot of other correctional facilities on here...i am realizing that we do have a lot of staff! we have acute (16 beds) and sub-acute (60 beds) at are facility. not sure if that is why our staffing is higher? sometimes there are so many nurses that they work the registry nurses 4 hours and then send them home.
    we run nurse-sick-call 5 days a week. we don't have any pas working for us, but we do have 3 nps. we also have an ob/gyn doc that comes in weekly and an ortho doc. oh...can't forget the eye doc too!
    very few of our inmates actually go out to the area local hospital. we try to do as much as possible inside the facility. we have a lot of level 4 inmates, and it is just too darn dangerous to take them to the hospital. of course, in life threatening situations, we do send them out.
    thanks for sharing!
  11. 0
    i think i see why you have more staff than us: we have only one infirmary bed, and it's rarely used. we basically deal with an ambulatory care clientele. theoretically, patients requiring long term care or skilled nursing care are sent to one of the federal medical centers. of course, the federal bureau of prisons has a shortage of bed space in those facilities. the solution, of course was obvious for our central office: close on of the medical centers. that will obviously create more space for patients.

    even so, that's a lot of medical staff. i wish we had more providers; it would make for much better chronic care.

    Quote from lvnprntlc
    reading about a lot of other correctional facilities on here...i am realizing that we do have a lot of staff! we have acute (16 beds) and sub-acute (60 beds) at are facility. not sure if that is why our staffing is higher? sometimes there are so many nurses that they work the registry nurses 4 hours and then send them home.
    we run nurse-sick-call 5 days a week. we don't have any pas working for us, but we do have 3 nps. we also have an ob/gyn doc that comes in weekly and an ortho doc. oh...can't forget the eye doc too!
    very few of our inmates actually go out to the area local hospital. we try to do as much as possible inside the facility. we have a lot of level 4 inmates, and it is just too darn dangerous to take them to the hospital. of course, in life threatening situations, we do send them out.
    thanks for sharing!
  12. 1
    Correctional nursing is one of the best kept secrets in the nursing industry. I have been in the field for 12 years now and will NEVER go back to hospital nursing.
    I work for the state - the pay is competitive with hospitals, the benefits and retirement package are superior to most.
    More nurses will be assaulted or abused in hospital settings this year than in any correctional facility. We know who our patients are and what they are capable. There are no surprises.
    We work in co-operation with custody and meet community standards of care for inmates. We are treated as professionals and peers by the custody and adminitrative staff of our facility.
    We have a very busy clinic, and will most likely become even more so as the population ages. Unfortunately, as the economy suffers more, our industry will grow. There is most definitely a need for more nurses in the correctional specialty (and it is a specialty). We fill or vacancies quickly as they occur and our turnover is low. As I mentioned before - Correctional Nursing is one of the best kept secrets in the nursing field.
    We never have a dull moment. There is something new to learn and a different experience almost daily. We work hard, but we laugh alot.
    It can't hurt to try it out. If it's now your cup of tea, there are always LOTS of hospital jobs available.
    Thanks for listening. I hope this helped you out some.
    karen49967 likes this.


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