starting in correctional nursing

  1. I am a CNAI, taking the CNAII course. I'm trying to get a job in a correctional facility as a med-tech. I am also a certified med-tech. I plan to enroll in nursing school @ mercy school of nursing in charlotte. i really want to go into the field of correctional nursing with a little mental health nursing on the side. i've worked with patients with alot of mental health problems. i am taking a course in correctional nursing @ canon college. but i want to know as much as possibe by the time i go in. can anybody help me?thanks
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   RN2007
    I do not know why, but I would be very scared to work around prisoners in a correctional facility. However, starting 1987, I worked in two different psych wards, for over 7 years and other than a little boredom and wanting to wring some of their "manipulative necks" from time to time, I did not have any problem with those patients.

    Psych patients can be sooooo manipulative, and sometimes you think they come to the institution just because they have not taken advantage of all of their annual insurance psych benefits, therefore they go back to the psych ward to meet back up with their friends and family as if it were Club Med. I got tired of the adult babysitting I had to do years ago as a Mental Health Tech and the institution I worked for really did not do any "counseling" . Now this was years ago, but they would send everyone to the AA, NA, CA meetings if they drank at all , regardless whether they had an addiction or a problem with the drug. The meetings were held by members who did not know enough to facilitate them, and they would treat all members the same, regardless of their problems. I was sooo glad to get out of there. For a while I felt like I worked at, "One Flew Over the Kookoos Nest" - do ya remember that movie? I believe many things have changed for the better today, hopefully, but I bet those patients are as manipulative as ever....
  4. by   Orca
    This strikes a chord with me. I am an RN with seven years of mental health experience and ANCC certification in the field who has worked in a correctional institution for the past two years.

    There are significant differences between the two. First off, in corrections, the security staff take great pains to protect your safety. I am far more likely to be assaulted on a mental health unit than I am on the yard. Secondly, you don't have to take any crap off inmates, or placate them when they become angry because they are "customers".

    It helps to have some foundation in something else before you come into corrections. I heartily recommend it as a specialty, just not as a first job. It helps to have had some feel of how things operate elsewhere as a frame of reference.
  5. by   sjoe
    First off, in corrections, the security staff take great pains to protect your safety. I am far more likely to be assaulted on a mental health unit than I am on the yard. Secondly, you don't have to take any crap off inmates, or placate them when they become angry because they are "customers".

    It helps to have some foundation in something else before you come into corrections. I heartily recommend it as a specialty, just not as a first job. It helps to have had some feel of how things operate elsewhere as a frame of reference."

    Right on both counts, IMHO.
  6. by   renerian
    I always wanted to do correctional nursing but I am a chicken too...........buck buck LOL.

    renerian
  7. by   Maxwell Smart
    The not very much correctional stuff I have done I found to be really interesting, I think people often have a very real fascination with the darker side of life and I don't think this is all that unhealthy, certainly getting to meet a number of the most crooked people (who have been caught) was an eye opener, I would dispute that guards, officers, security personell whatever you want to call them will always look after your safety, I think there is a real danger in falling into the trap of thinking "these people are here to protect me, at all costs because I am so learned and important", I've known some remarkable officers in my time but I've also known a few who seem to have forgotten which side of the razorwire they belong on.
    If you went to public school you would most likely be better prepared for what goes on in correctional facilities than most.

    The hardest thing I found though was the ill informed oft repeated rhetoric of civil libertarians and their sympathysers who seem to want to throw open the floodgates and let these folks out into the community.

    I realise I'm opening up a whole nasty can of worms here but before working in corrections I was very anti capital punishment, I've softened on that somewhat, I realise that the law is all too often an ass and to give them the power of life or death is risky, and I am aware of the all too common posthumous pardons of the past, however I honestly feel that a lifetime in prison without hope of release is quite simply cruel beyond measure, it surpasses any measure of human cruelty I have ever encountered, with equal feeling I believe there are individuals currently in prison who by there release wouuld place greater risk to the community than it can reasonably expect, the dilemma is in knowing which ones.
  8. by   sjoe
    "I think there is a real danger in falling into the trap of thinking "these people are here to protect me, at all costs because I am so learned and important""

    Of course that is not the point. They will protect you because that is their job, they are trained to do so in any reputable facility, AND not to do so would create general unrest among the inmates--causing trouble for them as well.

    A good book is entitled "Games Criminals Play," for those further interested in inmate dynamics.

    "I honestly feel that a lifetime in prison without hope of release is quite simply cruel beyond measure, it surpasses any measure of human cruelty I have ever encountered,"

    Spend some more time in corrections and you will clearly realize that for MANY of these inmates they have much better lives in prison than they have ever had, or would likely ever have, "on the outside." They are well aware of this and "keep coming back" to prove it.
    Last edit by sjoe on Jul 16, '03

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