Why Correctional Nursing

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    I am currently in a psych rotation (ADN program) at a women's prison. I am loving every minute of it, and am intrigued by everything that happens there. I am considering working there after graduation in May (much to the dismay of my family).

    Why have you chosen to work in a correctional facilty? Do you like it? How dangerous is it, really? I'd love to hear your stories.
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    Quote from kellyo
    I am currently in a psych rotation (ADN program) at a women's prison. I am loving every minute of it, and am intrigued by everything that happens there. I am considering working there after graduation in May (much to the dismay of my family).

    Why have you chosen to work in a correctional facilty? Do you like it? How dangerous is it, really? I'd love to hear your stories.
    Hello and Welcome to Allnurses.com

    You might try looking here and find some answers to your questions.

    Good luck.

    http://allnurses.com/forums/showthread.php?t=106222

    http://allnurses.com/forums/showthread.php?t=115958

    http://allnurses.com/forums/showthread.php?t=80218
  6. 0
    Quote from kellyo
    I am currently in a psych rotation (ADN program) at a women's prison. I am loving every minute of it, and am intrigued by everything that happens there. I am considering working there after graduation in May (much to the dismay of my family).

    Why have you chosen to work in a correctional facilty? Do you like it? How dangerous is it, really? I'd love to hear your stories.
    To tell you the truth, I didn't choose correctional nursing...it kind of chose me! After graduating from LPN school, I went to work in a long-term care facility (nursing home). I absolutely hated it. Hated it when I did clinicals in one...but the money was not bad for a new grad and it was close to home. Stayed there only 3 months...all I could stand! A friend of mine that worked PRN at the nursing home encouraged me to apply at the jail he worked at, so I did. It didn't take me long to figure out that corrections was my "niche", my "calling" you could say! I worked there for a little over a year, left because I was getting burnt out on night shift, tried a couple hospitals and then ended up back at the jail. I was SO unhappy at the hospitals and nursing home. Correctional nursing is my specialty. I never imagined it, but it is. Every clinical rotation we had in school, I would say "this isn't for me...this isn't my thing"...well we got all the way through school and I had not found anything that I so thoroughly enjoyed that I wanted to make it my specialty. I enjoyed the psych rotation, but the psych hospital was just a little too intense for me. You get a lot of psych experience in the correctional setting, but not as intense, you don't have to really deal with their violent outbursts, security does that. I cannot say that I have ever felt like I was in danger at the jail. We are never alone with the inmates, there is always an officer present. There have been times that things have been a little "hairy" you might say, but I can truly say I have never been in fear for my life. Tell your family to calm down! Most prisons, however, do give the inmates more freedoms, but this is due to the fact, partially, that they have undergone a full mental evaluation and been classified as to how much "freedom" they should actully be given.
    Correctional nursing is challenging at times, easier than a nursing home, you do a lot of independent assessment...most facilities do not have on-site drs. You are the one doing Sick Call and assessing what is real and what is a fake ploy being used by some manipulative inmate just trying to get something for nothing. And so you learn to sift through a lot of bunk to get to the real health problems that actually need treatment. As I said, your assessment skills will be in constant use. One thing is for sure...IT IS NEVER BORING!!!
    I am rambling on, so I will wrap this up for now...hope this helps...if you have any other questions, feel free to ask.
  7. 0
    Quote from kellyo
    I am currently in a psych rotation (ADN program) at a women's prison. I am loving every minute of it, and am intrigued by everything that happens there. I am considering working there after graduation in May (much to the dismay of my family).

    Why have you chosen to work in a correctional facilty? Do you like it? How dangerous is it, really? I'd love to hear your stories.
    I think I posted quite a bit in another thread. I'll try to find it. Would be a good way to "pay back the state" for student loans IF the medical dept. in your state prisons are actually run by the state and not a private agency. Some county jails count as state retirement so maybe they would count towards your debt also.......here's the link to another thread. http://allnurses.com/forums/showthread.php?t=113882
    Aw Heck, just read em' all. You'll pick up quite a bit of info.
    Sashi
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    As seems to be the case, I stumbled into correctional nursing. I received my LPN license in Feb. '03 and started my search for the nursing job "of my dreams." I applied at several hospitals with no replies. I applied at a childrens' center but, with a young son of my own, I didn't think my heartstrings could handle that. (They turned me down anyway which may have been a blessing in disguise!) My last resort was a nursing home that wanted me to start almost immediately. As desperately as I needed a job, I knew in my heart that I could not work in a nursing home. (God bless the health care providers that can!)
    I happened across an ad for a contract LPN at a local prison. On a whim, I applied. After all the background checks and whatnot, I was hired. That was nearly a year and a half ago and I am hooked. I can't see myself working in any other setting now. I have never (so far!) felt that my safety was in jeopardy nor have I felt threatened.
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    I work for an agency at a juvinile correctional center. I took the first few shifts to get away from ICU( getting burned out). Now I wouldn't go back,even for more money. Just enough "crises" to keep the blood flowing .
    Never felt threatened. Just laughed when one of them started to act agressive.
    Any way it takes all kinds... nurses & "cadets" what we're supposed to call the little darlings:chuckle.
    Good luck all!:hatparty:
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    Like it seems to be, I didn't pick correctional nursing, it picked me. After graduation in May of 04, I got a job on a general med surg floor in a teaching hospital. A few months later, our small unit ended up merging with our hospitals prison unit which is an 8 bed lockdown unit. During my interview, the nuse manager ever so briefly glossed over the speculation that the two units were merging.
    At first, I was horrified, I really didn't want to be a prison nurse. However, after awhile I warmed up to it and now more often than not I work in the prison wing instead of the med surg section. THe prison unit is very safe and I have never felt I was in danger. In fact all of the inmates from med to max are essenitally on max security (guard goes with nurse during all interactions) by virtue of being outside of a prison institution and in a hospital. If the inmates are stable enough to be behind several locked doors they are housed on our unit. If not they go to the ICU's with their guard in tow.
    Working in this environment is interesting and challenging and oftentimes comedic. Pts all of a sudden moaning, unable to walk to the BR and reporting their pain at "100" on a 1-10 scale after you saw them on the security camera walking around their room and lollygagging with their roommate 2 minutes ago. The behavior problems are managed by the officers so it's not like the good old psych unit where phones are thrown at you and the pt has bit your arm and you are still waiting for hosptial security to arrive and handle the situation.
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    Turds and giggles- seemed like the thing to do at the time.

    I work with four other guy nurses and one sensible female nurse who keeps us in line. I enjoy the camaraderie of the other men I work with. Nice being able to chat about lift kits on trucks and Hemiís instead of menstruation cycles.
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    I've worked at a prison for a year now and can't imagine working any where else. I started working there since my husband worked as a nurse at this facility for about 2 years. He didn't want me to work there to begin with but the medical unit needed nurses and I went for it.
    My family had many concerns about the prison setting for me and I was scared about it too. I've never felt safer before in this setting. There are always officers present when interacting with the inmates. Security is always number 1. If there happens to be an incident, security first and medical second to ensure our safety. I'm definitely watched after by the eye in the sky and male officers around. I always remember where I'm at and who is around. Caution.
    I still use my assessment skills and never know what condition I'm going to be looking at. The shift is never boring that's for sure. I say go for it. The beautiful thing about nursing is the many directions it takes you. If you try it and it doesn't work there will be another door to open. Good luck!
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    Money. Corrections is not my passion, and the facility where I work has regular nurses quitting in droves (I'm agency.) That said, I could see myself enjoying it more in a better-run place. It's challenging and using all your assessment skills, and it's SUCH an underserved population. When there's time to sit down and teach somebody what blood pressure is- not what hypertension is, but actual blood pressure- you can't help but feel like you've made a difference, even a small one!

    Other things I have heard from nurses there are that you don't have to deal with docs or families, for the most part, you see a bit of everything, and it's rewarding to (cautiously) make connections with people that society has all but given up on...


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