Why Do You Love Being A Prison Nurse?

  1. There's not too much posting on this forum and I'd like to see if we can get a new positive thread going on why you love being a correctional nurse. I'm sure there are topics like this in the past, but I'm hoping some people will come in and build this thread. So, what's good?

    For me, I like working with underserved populations. I like the public health aspects. I love that I don't have to deal with family members or spend a lot of time getting refreshments, blankets, or otherwise doing "customer service". I like educating people, who often have had very little health education or access to health care, about their medication and medical situations so they can make better decisions. I like that I get to use my nursing skills in an environment that is not (usually) pulling me in a million directions at once, but gives me many opportunities to hone my assessment skills and make decisions.

    There are more things I like, but this is a beginning. Yes, I know there are "cons" to being a correctional nurse and perhaps another thread will be in order for that. In this one, I'm hoping to read about the GOOD things. :-) Please share!
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  2. 24 Comments

  3. by   Neats
    The good things I liked about correctional nursing
    1. This specialty challenges your assessment skills on a daily basis
    2. You get to see way more interesting medical diseases/injuries much more than say a med/surg unit
    3. The patient education you must do on a daily basis is way more than a nursing instructor (I think)
    4. The compassion you must have challenges you to continue and not give up no matter what for these patients are someone's sister/brother/mother/father/aunt/uncle...
    5. The autonomy you will experience is real and you must not take it for granted
    6. You can be blunt at times, you must remain in control at all times, and the patient relationship is real but with clear boundaries. I do not need to worry about a star rating, I just need to do my job well and within the scope of my practice.

    The above are all what I love about correctional healthcare
  4. by   Psych77
    Quote from Everline
    There's not too much posting on this forum and I'd like to see if we can get a new positive thread going on why you love being a correctional nurse. I'm sure there are topics like this in the past, but I'm hoping some people will come in and build this thread. So, what's good?

    For me, I like working with underserved populations. I like the public health aspects. I love that I don't have to deal with family members or spend a lot of time getting refreshments, blankets, or otherwise doing "customer service". I like educating people, who often have had very little health education or access to health care, about their medication and medical situations so they can make better decisions. I like that I get to use my nursing skills in an environment that is not (usually) pulling me in a million directions at once, but gives me many opportunities to hone my assessment skills and make decisions.

    There are more things I like, but this is a beginning. Yes, I know there are "cons" to being a correctional nurse and perhaps another thread will be in order for that. In this one, I'm hoping to read about the GOOD things. :-) Please share!
    But everyone you work with is a con (convict)
  5. by   SobreRN
    Can do my job WITHOUT Press-Ganey which is good because I lack the God-like ability to render absolutely everyone happy all of the time. Also not a gazillion departments (i.e. MRI, CT) crawling up my a** all day. No running around all day trying to get non-patient care stuff accomplished such as a TV channel not working, food not perfect, 10 families member asking for water and a pull-out bed etc...so much easier to focus on patient care.
  6. by   OrganizedChaos
    All this & the fact that I can stand up for myself. I don't have to kiss any patient or family member's rear end.
  7. by   Zigga zig ah
    Every day is different! I get to go from working in the clinic, to the SNF, to the ER. If they become belligerent or aggressive I just tell the custody to lock them down or return them to their housing unit. I love teaching and there is a lot of teaching necessary in the Correctional setting.
  8. by   Zigga zig ah
    Oh and the autonomy that I have is great!
  9. by   NottaSpringChik
    Quote from Everline

    For me, I like working with underserved populations. I like the public health aspects. I love that I don't have to deal with family members or spend a lot of time getting refreshments, blankets, or otherwise doing "customer service". I like educating people, who often have had very little health education or access to health care, about their medication and medical situations so they can make better decisions. I like that I get to use my nursing skills in an environment that is not (usually) pulling me in a million directions at once, but gives me many opportunities to hone my assessment skills and make decisions.

    Please share!
    You said it all very well and agree, agree on all your points. The unit I work in does all the ETOH detox for those who are incarcerated during that time. I have a soft spot for the drunks. I know 99% will continue to drink but ending up in jail can be a catalyst to seek sobriety. I like to be a kind and supportive presence while they are detoxing. If there is an opening to talk about seeking sobriety I take it on and express my support for it to them, encourage them to go to AA even if they can not enroll in a recovery program, encourage them to "work the steps," help them to seek the possibility for life without drinking, being arrested, being ashamed. I think of my small kindness and positivity as a little drop in a big bucket - you never know when/what will fill that bucket and that person will decide to seek recovery. I know the alcoholics, in general, have so much shame. And many that are in the drunk unit for the first time don't think they need to be there; so I do education on what I am seeing that indicates withdrawal, how dangerous it is, and try to get them to think a little about their trajectory. That is just part of what I really enjoy about my job.
  10. by   limitless-visions
    Hi anyone on hear work at a "halfway house/transitional facility" I just started my new hire paper work to work at one as a RN and this will be my first time, but I have background in acute psych and I love it sooooo much
  11. by   Everline
    Quote from NottaSpringChik
    You said it all very well and agree, agree on all your points. The unit I work in does all the ETOH detox for those who are incarcerated during that time. I have a soft spot for the drunks. I know 99% will continue to drink but ending up in jail can be a catalyst to seek sobriety. I like to be a kind and supportive presence while they are detoxing. If there is an opening to talk about seeking sobriety I take it on and express my support for it to them, encourage them to go to AA even if they can not enroll in a recovery program, encourage them to "work the steps," help them to seek the possibility for life without drinking, being arrested, being ashamed. I think of my small kindness and positivity as a little drop in a big bucket - you never know when/what will fill that bucket and that person will decide to seek recovery. I know the alcoholics, in general, have so much shame. And many that are in the drunk unit for the first time don't think they need to be there; so I do education on what I am seeing that indicates withdrawal, how dangerous it is, and try to get them to think a little about their trajectory. That is just part of what I really enjoy about my job.
    I really love this post! You sound like an excellent nurse and I only wish for more like you in this specialty!
  12. by   smllattnspn21
    Things I like about being a correctional nurse.... Ive been doing this for 8 years now.

    1. Autonomy: We don't have doctors breathing down our necks. We can use the brain we were given, to figure out, what is truly wrong with our patient.

    2. We get the opportunity to help a population that is unisured, underinsured, and unable to pay for healthcare on the outside.

    3. We get the opportunity to use our teaching skills to a very captive audience.

    4. I learn something new every day.

    5. The inmates keep me on my toes.

    6. Its never the same boring routine day after day. Everyday's a new day.

    7. I get to crush meds and learn mind games and cons. This has come in handy in my personal life with my teenagers.

    8. I can come to work in a bad mood and get away with it. I don't have to put on a smile and pretend to like someone.
  13. by   Orca
    I have always been drawn to things that most people won't touch. Most of my working life, even the years before nursing, has been spent in and around prisons and on mental health units. Ironically, I went into nursing to get out of corrections, but a per diem job I accepted 16 years ago put me back inside the fences.

    I like being able to resolve problems without having the biggest and best of everything. I like working side by side with doctors who are also employees of my agency. I like that if an inmate gives me a hard time, I just end the visit - no placating because he is a paying customer. I even like that inmates test me from time to time, because it sharpens my ability to tell fact from fiction.

    We don't see a lot of any one thing (besides fakery, perhaps), but we many different things. It isn't unlike running a medical operation in a small town.
  14. by   SobreRN
    The ability to practice straight up nursing! When making everyone happy all of the time took precedent over providing care it was all over for me & hospital nursing...I think patient satisfaction is important but chasing my tail for ice water for 5 family members, having people flip out because their Dilaudid was one nanosecond late, trying to get the cable TV fixed etc...all while never being backed up by management is too much. I would sooner return to waitressing than hospital nursing. The expectation that the nurse has the God-given ability to render everyone happy all of the time has just gotten out of control. I feel for new grads.

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