Hello everyone, here is my question. Should a prisoner be treated different? I am a brand new RN, however, I am not new to the medical field. I work in the prison system as a RN. When I was in school, our instructors ALWAYS stressed to treat the pain. Pain is what the person states it is. Anyway, sometimes I feel very sorry for these men. In my opinonion, just because they are in jail, they shouldn't be treated any different than someone on the street. However, I have to admit, they do get better health care than the working public. They have everything, they get care for chronic illnesses like diabetes, htn, hiv and etc.... They also, get dental services, xray's, wound care, vaccines and medications for everything under the sun that you can think of. We also have a psych Doctor on site 24 hours a day.
Again I pose the question should the prisoners be treated any different. At my facility, their are some nurses who mistreat these men. For instance if someone come in for a headache, they will tell them to go buy motrin on commissary and put in sick call. I don't no if they have money to buy motrin or not and as RN's we can write some prescriptions under the medical director, so we can write for motrin etc. To make a long story short, the RN's do mistreat them, most of them feel, they are in jail, so they don't deserve good care, however you would give an animal good care. Please let me know what your feelings are regarding this issue.
Would not treat differently - but never forget that you are dealing with a population where manipulation, deceit and drug abuse are rempant. I am not saying that those apply to everyone - and you will undoubtedly meet those type of people on the streets - but the bottom line is that those inmates are not there because they were being upstanding citizens. Assertiveness and knowing your population goes a long way.
What are your policies? If they can get OTC meds there and can self medicate then a simple headache may not necessarily be treated in the infirmary.
Bottom line - remain professional. Give the care you are supposed to give at teh level of care you've been taught. Yes, it stuinks that criminals can get better health care than those on the streets, but it is not up to you or any other staff nurse there to amend treatment protocols to try and balance the world in your own mind.
Last edit by Flare on Oct 22, '09
I am a DON in a state correctional facility. To be blunt, it seems to me that you aren't quite acclimated to the situation yet. From reading your opening statement it sounds as if you are identifying with the inmates - which is not a good place to be when you work in a correctional facility. When you hear nurses tell inmates to buy Motrin at the commissary, understand that some inmates who have the means to buy medication try to manipulate medical staff into writing them an order so that they don't have to spend the money. There are also those who just like the attention that coming to medical brings. Some also exaggerate or totally fabricate symptoms in order to get medication - and pain meds are a favorite target, because they can sell or trade them. Don't mistake preventing inmates from engaging in manipulation for cruelty.
This does not mean that you totally ignore all requests for pain medication, but you have to be very thorough in assessing the situation. Heaven help you if you are identified on the yard as the nurse who always gives inmates pain medication. Inmates will request you by name, they will staff split and "let the games begin".
Last edit by Orca on Oct 22, '09