I'm going to be graduating with a BSN in May and I am interested in possibly working with the prison population as a unique challenge for a couple of years. I'm nervous that going directly into a correctional facility wouldn't develop my clinical skills enough, as I wish to pursue other specialty areas of nursing later on. I recently saw a job posting for an RN position on a secure medical unit for inmates within a large hospital. Would this be a good way to get the med-surg experience that many RN positions require while still working with inmates? Any opinions on this sort of working environment?
I did a clinical rotation at a county hospital where they had a prison ward on a med surg floor. The area was isolated and there were two deputies standing guard. In the secured unit the inmates weren't allowed to speak except for medical questions and there was a caged area if anybody caused any trouble.
If an inmate wasn't high risk, like a thief who was serving time for minor charges, they'd put them on the regular floor nearby and handcuff their leg to the bed. But, one time one of those guys suddenly started yelling and throwing things so, the deputies put him in the secure caged area.
I don't know if it works like this elsewhere but, it was interesting to see how they handled inmates at this hospital. It sure felt safer having those deputies around.
Afterall ... I've had patients yelling and throwing things but, security usually wasn't around to do anything about it. But when that inmate caused trouble those deputies took care of it right away.
Last edit by Sheri257 on Feb 28, '07
I agree with RGIRN totally. Document, document, document. And never believe anything they tell you at face value. Always check it out.
The inmates in locked units in hospitals are generally cooperative. Reason being: the nurses at the prisons have already blocked admission to most of the fakers so you are going to get people with real medical problems for the most part. Also, it is a new environment and a lot of times inmates lay low for awhile while checking out the situation (even the trouble makers) and later decide what games they can get away with. Most of them aren't there long enough for this and sometimes they are too sick to get the con rolling.
When an inmate is acting inappropriate, in the best situation both the officer and the medical staff stop it. It gets to be a problem when the Md or other medical staff feels the inmate deserves special treatment. The Md's don't work with inmates and their manipulative behavior everyday, sometimes you have to intervene. The same thing is true for inmates who are drug seeking without a real medical reason for asking for narcs. Some Md's don't understand that inmates are not like the rest of the pts and that you shouldn't accept everything they say as fact.
Some of the officers can be real jerks and can be mean as all get out to the inmates and inappropriate to the medical staff. Have had to report this.
All in all, would recommend it. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask.
Also, I highly recommend the book "Games Criminals Play" if you haven't yet read it.
Last edit by VegRN on Feb 28, '07