What Do Correctional Nurses Do?

  1. 2
    :typingWhat are the duties of RN at a correctional facility? I would like to know the details? Really interested.
    kitnaw and buckrubRN like this.
  2. 3 Comments so far...

  3. 4
    I guess it depends somewhat on the facility but here goes:

    assess new arrivals for "fit for confinement" in a facility where no MD is present; (suicidal? dog bites or other wounds that a doctor should eval before the person is deemed FFC? fever? rash? pregnant? s/p recent abortion or other recent surgery? in withdrawal from drugs or alcohol? and many more conditions that the prudent nurse will use as grounds to have the arrestee/inmate/prisoner taken to an ER for treatment and clearance before accepting him or her in jail;

    intake history: seizures, DM, etc.; what meds are they on? get these ordered/started; refer for intake physical and intake dental exam;

    pour up and pass out lots of meds at several daily med passes; give out lots of tylenol, etc. at sick call; refer as needed for various conditions;

    change bandages; do other treatments;

    process orders;

    respond to emergencies - hangings, falls, cuts, burns, whatever;

    Do necessary paperwork, order supplies, help in doctor's clinic, review charts of arriving and departing inmates to get their med needs, forward their med needs to the receiving facility;

    death row inmates also need care.

    Think of all body systems. You will see problems involving every one, particularly resp and GI;

    Think of community health. You will dealing with a large community, many of whom are mentally ill, homeless, maybe from other countries where health care is different, e.g., some from central and south America will have had the BCG vaccine against TB. US doesn't give this. If dealing with Muslim females, you might encounter GU or GYN situations that result from circumcision, something you would not normallly see in other populations.

    Safety is always first in jail. It comes before everything, including getting the inmates to Court and definitely before their health.

    You can work with juveniles or adults, male or female, or all of the above.
    Best wishes. It is a great field. Don't trust the trustees. The job of every inmate is to escape or get nurses and other staff in trouble or see if they can get you to compromise your standards and your life. Follow the rules at all times.
    Last edit by bollweevil on Apr 20, '08
    Jessy_RN, kitnaw, medsurgrnco, and 1 other like this.
  4. 2
    Quote from bollweevil
    I guess it depends somewhat on the facility but here goes:

    assess new arrivals for "fit for confinement" in a facility where no MD is present; (suicidal? dog bites or other wounds that a doctor should eval before the person is deemed FFC? fever? rash? pregnant? s/p recent abortion or other recent surgery? in withdrawal from drugs or alcohol? and many more conditions that the prudent nurse will use as grounds to have the arrestee/inmate/prisoner taken to an ER for treatment and clearance before accepting him or her in jail;

    intake history: seizures, DM, etc.; what meds are they on? get these ordered/started; refer for intake physical and intake dental exam;

    pour up and pass out lots of meds at several daily med passes; give out lots of tylenol, etc. at sick call; refer as needed for various conditions;

    change bandages; do other treatments;

    process orders;

    respond to emergencies - hangings, falls, cuts, burns, whatever;

    Do necessary paperwork, order supplies, help in doctor's clinic, review charts of arriving and departing inmates to get their med needs, forward their med needs to the receiving facility;

    death row inmates also need care.

    Think of all body systems. You will see problems involving every one, particularly resp and GI;

    Think of community health. You will dealing with a large community, many of whom are mentally ill, homeless, maybe from other countries where health care is different, e.g., some from central and south America will have had the BCG vaccine against TB. US doesn't give this. If dealing with Muslim females, you might encounter GU or GYN situations that result from circumcision, something you would not normallly see in other populations.

    Safety is always first in jail. It comes before everything, including getting the inmates to Court and definitely before their health.

    You can work with juveniles or adults, male or female, or all of the above.
    Best wishes. It is a great field. Don't trust the trustees. The job of every inmate is to escape or get nurses and other staff in trouble or see if they can get you to compromise your standards and your life. Follow the rules at all times.
    I use to be correctional officer so I Know about inmates playing "eliminate as much staff as you can" game. Just never had much interaction with the nurses at the max women prison I use to work at. Thanks so much for breaking it down to me. Makes me even more excited about being a correctional nurse. I dont want to do nothing but that. Thanks
    kitnaw and bollweevil like this.
  5. 0
    Wow, Bollweevil did a great job of explaining. Our set-up is, we have some who work in Triage, where they do the initial screening. We ask about medical history, meds, ETOH, drug abuse, psych illnesses, etc. Those patients get vitals, meds ordered, see a doctor or mental health specialist, etc and they are on their way to housing. We use our judgement, like if they just need a vital sign check for a few days, the RN's order that. That's Triage in a tiny nutshell. Then you have other areas, where the nurses do the diabetics, dressing changes, labs, etc. Day shift does routine sick call. The inmate submits a slip stating his complaint ie; a cold, athlete's foot, chest pain, etc etc etc. The nurses see them and either do nothing (for a nothing complaint), order OTC meds or creams, refer to the NP, send out to the ER, etc, depending on the problem and the symptoms and the findings. We also do man-downs; seeing an inmate who needs care at once, which also sometimes turns out to be pretty much nothing, but could also be something serious; a suicide attempt, chest pain, abdominal pain, lacerations, labor, etc!!! We don't have a "crash cart". We do BLS and call paramedics.
    IT'S FUN!
    =)
    -Gem


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