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- by rn438 Feb 3, '11I hope this does not make me a bad nurse, but does anyone else have some weird feelings about caring for prisoners: mostly the rapists, and child molesters and murderers?
I am not saying that they should not be taken care of or anything like that and I acknowledge their right to health care .. its just providing all the extras.... being nice to them .. "can i have more ice/ pillow fluffed/ do you think you can get me a snack ?" Some seem to be very manipulative, I am uncomfortable with them asking personal information about me ...
What are you're thoughts, and how can I prevent this from compromising my care, and driving me insane?
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- Feb 3, '11 by katmarieRNWhen I'm caring for a prisoner, I usually don't know their crime....nor do I want to know. They are usually accompanied by 2 guards, so I feel relatively safe. I never give information, and if they do inquire, I either give something very general, or state that they don't need to know.
I do find that if I'm nice and professional with them, they respect that. I also remind myself that they are serving their time and it is not my place to judge them or compromise their care for their crimes.
I've cared for only a few, but have not had any bad experiences with them thus far.
- Mar 1, '11 by shhhhHow have you learned about their crimes? I just ask because I've cared for quite a few inmates, and that sort of information is never in charts and rarely is it even discussed. I've worked with some nurses who want to hear all the dirt, while most nurses don't want to know anything. I think the latter is the most healthy and mature. I witnessed one instance in which one nurse approached another caring for an inmate, and said, "Guess what he did! He-" The inmate's nurse stopped them and said, "Don't tell me. I really don't want to know. If I learned he did something terrible, I really don't think I could trust myself to do a good job taking care of him." I think that was a very honest, but strong answer. I also think that is very wise decision every single time.
I think everyone is entitled to best care I can give, and for me to short someone that care they're entitled to because I'm judging them for being an inmate? That says more about my own professionalism and integrity than it does about what they're in prison for. They always have at least one officer with them, and they're not going to be violent or inappropriate with someone watching. The ones I've worked with almost always say "please" and "thank you", and seem genuinely grateful for the care they're receiving. Can you say that much about every other civilian patient out there? NOPE! Haha!
And here's a thought: What about those civilian patients who were convicted of something awful, but have been released from prison and you never find out they were ever there? Or, a patient did committed a crime just as terrible as someone currently incarcerated, but they've never even been caught? Would you treat them any different? Of course not, because you would just never know. I think if you feel that knowing what an inmate did would affect your ability to perform to the best of your ability, then you should make a serious effort to NOT find out. If that information is being passed along to every single nurse in shift change report where you work, then that needs to be stopped. At every facility I've worked at, that practice is not the norm, and information like that is on a "need to know" basis solely because of staff worrying that it affects patient care.
- Mar 2, '11 by elkparkQuote from shhhhAnd don't forget the individuals who were unjustly convicted of a crime they didn't commit. Our justice system is certainly not perfect or foolproof.And here's a thought: What about those civilian patients who were convicted of something awful, but have been released from prison and you never find out they were ever there? Or, a patient did committed a crime just as terrible as someone currently incarcerated, but they've never even been caught? Would you treat them any different? Of course not, because you would just never know.
I have worked in a facility where we sometimes cared for individuals who came from the prison, and I agree that I never took an interest in, or made any effort to find out, what an individual had been convicted of. Our job is to provide appropriate, compassionate care for all the individuals we care for, not to pass judgment on people.
- Mar 2, '11 by shhhhQuote from elkparkThat's a very reasonable option to consider, too. Life certainly isn't just plain black and white, and there's a lot of different circumstances out there. Thanks, elkpark!And don't forget the individuals who were unjustly convicted of a crime they didn't commit. Our justice system is certainly not perfect or foolproof.
- Mar 2, '11 by heronKeep it professional.
I just did a short gig at a correctional facility ... great job, 20 minute walk from my house, but the rotating killed me. One of the things repeated over and over in orientation is that the prisoner is either awaiting trial - thus not yet found guilty - or has been tried and sentenced. In either case, it is not our job to punish the prisoner. It's our job to keep them well and safe.
The advice to avoid the more touchy-feely, warm-n-fuzzy approach is important to remember also. I've seen several nurses crash and burn by getting too personally involved.
There's a whole forum on correctional nursing on this site ... they will have great information on the kinds of issues you would face caring for inmates.