Thinking of going to corrections

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    I have long stalked these threads and I have learned either you love corrections or hate it. I am on a cardica unit and work nights. We have 6 patients at night. The best part is sometimes when change of shift is going on you get a new admission which makes you drop everything to take care of that patient while the others are on their call lights for something. To me that is very stressful. Some nights you have people on amio or dobutamine drips etc... I am a fairly new nurse, itll be a year in september. I have always wanted to go to ER but ER is full. Corrections to me is intriguing, its a whole new world, plus the pay is very good here. Benefits etc... I just want to know what goes on on a typical day at the prison... I also dont want to go to corrections and hate my job even more than I hate my current job.
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    Woah, if they are on Amio and dobutamine drips, that sounds like a PCU and you have 6 patients? that is a lot. My PCU, the only drips we can do are insulin and heparin, and most of the times we have 4 patients.
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    We are on the regular cardiac floor, yea its overwhelming at times...
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    I'm actually doing the opposite , I'm a former Corrections Officer going into nursing. I can't really speak to the nursing aspect of the job, but I worked for a large county jail in the NY/Metro area and if you want a challenging enviroment, you've found the right place.


    Our med dept was pretty much everything from a hospice to an ER, I've seen all types of trauma in there and you sort of become numb to it. From what I observed, the nurses spent most of the day loading meds onto the cart (They were interrupted often & understaffed) , dispensing meds to their assigned floors, dealing with inmates/patients that ask to go to sick call for a change of scenery, and the remainder of the time attending to whatever the Nurse Prac had going on.

    I've seen some Nurses last only a week and leave (One went to lunch and never returned), but the good ones start a little unsure of themselves (everyone is nervous when the first work in a jail) but you see them gain confidence over time as they start to own the job...It was pretty cool to watch them make the transition.

    You don't really need to be scared for your safety but always be aware of your enviroment. You'll never be "alone" with an inmate/patient without being "shawdowed" by a Corrections Officer and C/O's don't take kindly to inmates/patients that disrespect our nurses, most inmates/patients understand that from either 1st hand experience or word of mouth.

    Best of luck!
    Last edit by Deuce Gear on May 16, '12
    ChuckeRN likes this.
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    I work in Corrections in FL and really enjoy it. I work in the psych dorm, and mostly "pass out" medications. I also do assessments on the inmates, there is a form that we fill out.
    The day nurses do "sick call" working with the ARNP or/and Dr and taking off orders. Which is just like working in the clinic.
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    Quote from toddlar
    I have long stalked these threads and I have learned either you love corrections or hate it. I am on a cardica unit and work nights. We have 6 patients at night. The best part is sometimes when change of shift is going on you get a new admission which makes you drop everything to take care of that patient while the others are on their call lights for something. To me that is very stressful. Some nights you have people on amio or dobutamine drips etc... I am a fairly new nurse, itll be a year in september. I have always wanted to go to ER but ER is full. Corrections to me is intriguing, its a whole new world, plus the pay is very good here. Benefits etc... I just want to know what goes on on a typical day at the prison... I also dont want to go to corrections and hate my job even more than I hate my current job.
    Thanks guys, this is what I have heard its hit or miss, either you hate it or love it...I just don't want to leave my job now and go to one I'll hate even more.
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    Quote from Deuce Gear
    You don't really need to be scared for your safety but always be aware of your enviroment. You'll never be "alone" with an inmate/patient without being "shawdowed" by a Corrections Officer and C/O's don't take kindly to inmates/patients that disrespect our nurses, most inmates/patients understand that from either 1st hand experience or word of mouth.

    Best of luck!
    This is so interesting to me. At the prison I worked at officers would sometimes get distracted and leave the building when the nurse was with an inmate in the medical building. This was considered abandoning post. And these were not low-custody level inmates.

    Also, during the day there would only be one officer in the large medical building with maybe 20 inmates and many, many rooms with multiple staff members. So there would not be an officer witnessing the nurse with the inmate. Additionally, at times I was treated with disrespect by inmates, and if an officer was standing there, often they would say nothing. Some officers don't seem to think it's their job to say anything. I've had inmates unload f-bomb tirades, and the officer said nothing. My coworkers experienced the same.

    I mention this because some facilities are particularly bad, and security precautions will vary quite a bit, IMO. The OP needs to pay attention during the interview/tour and ask questions.
    Last edit by Multicollinearity on May 26, '12
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    Hi everyone - I've worked in corrections both as a "floor" nurse and in administration/management. I have worked with both adults and juveniles.

    I think that the facility dictates your opinions. My experience has been mostly in California. I have found that County and State facilities have great correctional officers - and they can make or break your experience. INS facilities often have private correctional companies working for them - and they can be a nightmare. The "rent-a-cop" that I have found working in facilities that typically deal with immigration offenders, does not want to become too involved with violence. They feel they are not making enough money to risk their safety. Now, I'm not saying that all facilities are the same, and that all private companies are the same. I'm saying that in my experience, those officers that are trained by the county or the state, and that have good benefits, are far more likely to have professional responsibility. I have found them to be downright "gifts" to the RN or LVN who is working with inmates. I've also had the experience where an officer will walk away, off the medical unit, leaving me to deal with a problematic inmate. A radio communication, going out over the whole jail will most often fix that situation. Also, a call to the watch commander will help.

    I believe that this type of work demands a respectful relationship between the medical staff and the correctional staff. Good performance commands respect - in both disciplines. Communication is the Key.

    This is difficult to ascertain on a job interview. But at least you know to ask the questions. "Do you have good communication/understanding with correctional staff?" is a good question. Keep your eyes and ears open, which is essential in this environment.

    And last, but not least, the RN or LVN has to recognize that they are not in a clinic or a hospital - they are dealing with people who are locked up, have criminal records, and have suffered. If you don't think you can deal with that, then stay away. As nurses, we are called on to care for all types of patients. If you can't treat them as patients, not criminals, then you should probably look elsewhere. This type of job demands "compartmentalization". Treat your patients within the facility, then go home to your family - two totally different environments. And always remember that every day brings a different challenge. I've had inmates try to get information out of me about my kids - you have to be aware and remember where you are. Danger is all around - plus sometimes inmates look good to other inmates if they have "information" about staff....and sometimes it's not lethal - it's just their environment. If you have information as an inmate, you have power. If you think you have skills to offer in this environment, try it out. Just be very sure about your opinions about inmates, etc....and what other people's opinions are too....I've had nurses in hospitals accuse me of being sympathetic to criminals. It's not for everyone - but if you can handle it, it's a great job. Look within yourself and decide. Good Luck!
    Multicollinearity likes this.
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    I am very lucky where I work: I had an officer tell me yesterday that when he was training a new officer he told them the nurses have it "dicked" here. I said what? He said "you all walk into work and have like 57 secret service agents ready to jump in front of you" Isn't that the best? I also think that if a nurse ever got hurt on their watch they wouldn't want to live that down. Also we have candy and motrin so...
    MrsBailey777 likes this.
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    This is very true, but I also find that where most COs are willing and able to jump in and help and protect you, a lot are also lawsuit phobic and will let an inmate get away with quite a lot.

    Just last night I had an inmate demand that I give him something for his dental pain that I could see no S&S of. I warned him once to lower and watch his tone of voice. When he did not, I sent home with nothing. Then he asked for my name and threatened to tell everyone about me. I almost asked him if he thought I was a Chinese restaurant that he could spread bad stories about. lol

    In the end though, medical and security will have to work together and they will always "work" together.
    Quote from deyo321
    I am very lucky where I work: I had an officer tell me yesterday that when he was training a new officer he told them the nurses have it "dicked" here. I said what? He said "you all walk into work and have like 57 secret service agents ready to jump in front of you" Isn't that the best? I also think that if a nurse ever got hurt on their watch they wouldn't want to live that down. Also we have candy and motrin so...
    MrsBailey777 likes this.


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