Prison Provider

  1. I met up with an old physician friend of mine and I asked him to help me find a new grad position as a FNP. Well he promised to have a friend call me and possibly help me find a position with well known university health system. Well I did get the call alright but to my surprise the position was in a well known prison in South Texas with hard core inmates. He tells me I will learn more in the prison system in a year than any where. As much as I want to be challenged as a new grad, I am not sure of working in the prison system. Has anyone worked in the prison system and if so do you care to share the pros and cons.
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  2. Visit ashonman profile page

    About ashonman

    Joined: Nov '01; Posts: 111; Likes: 41
    from GB
    Specialty: 8 year(s) of experience in ER

    7 Comments

  3. by   zmansc
    lmao, you sure this physician is a friend?! I have no experience in a prison, so I can't share the pros/cons, there is a AN specialties group corrections nursing that might have some information and frequent posters whom could give you information.

    I would think there would be current providers that the organization your talking to might be able to put you with who could answer your questions regarding the environment of that job, as I would have to assume all facilities are not created equal.

    Good Luck, and definitely keep us apprised with what you find out!
  4. by   Nursetonp
    Hi ash-

    i have not worked in the prison system as an np... Yet,anyways.. Haha. But I did work as an rn there.

    Although it was a bit scary at times, I found that the inmates were respectful of me (maybe because I could refuse their pain meds if they weren't??- that was a stipulation at my prison)and I found that it was actually the officers I was more uncomfortable around then anything. They were a bit too friendly.

    I do agree with your physician friend , the nps there could probably go into most settings after working there long enough! As taboo of a place as it is, it is a great place to learn. I've even seen babies delivered there! ( although they try to avoid this and set up a hospital transfer, sometimes that baby is coming anyway!) lol.

    I eventually left because I got tired of having to go into work an extra hr or sometimes two to find parking in the city, and get through all of the security clearances. It really wasn't that bad of a job though : )

    but as zman said above, not all facilities are going to be the same, so maybe you could shadow someone to get a better idea?

    If you want to know more, let me know!
  5. by   ashonman
    Sure shadowing will be great to get a feel of what actually goes on there as a provider. From what I understand as a provider you don't go to the inmates they come to you at the clinic/hospital inside the prison. The bit of going through shake down is not my cup of tea though. The jig on this is its also comes with competitive salary, state benefits plus loan forgiveness. All is nice and groovy but it's a prison that's what scares...
  6. by   zmansc
    OP - Where have you worked before? I work in the ER, we get a small number of prisoners from the local county jail in for everything from incarceritis to chest pain, anxiety, hypo/hyperglycemia, etc. I'm knocking on wood as I'm typing this, but I have never had a bad encounter with an inmate. I have with those being in-processed into jail, similar to some of the behavioral health patients who typically test positive for several drugs, but those guys will not be your population (I don't think). So, while I share your negative stigma both from a concern of being around violent offenders, and from the stigma of having administration limiting your ability to properly serve your patients, I do think our initial fears are probably overblown.

    That is why I would suggest getting a feeling for it as much as you can before you say no to it. It might be a facility that treats the inmates well, and they treat you well. The other providers could give you a much better feel for those things, and I would assume they would be fairly straight with you, they certainly don't want to train you up, and have you leave before you even get going because they lied to you about the conditions! Of course what is perfect for one person, might not be for another, so any advice they give, like advice from us or from anyone else should always be taken with a grain of salt....
  7. by   nursetim
    I have worked in a maximum security, for NM that is, prison. I thought it was going to be a gladiator academy, nope. Security was so tight until close to the end of my time there, when a couple of moderate attacks took place. I learned a lot about chronic illnesses and hep.c though. I never really felt threatened there. My first day a prisoner got in my face and wouldn't you know it, my escort was asleep, really. No big deal, he was just bowing up and posturing and testing me. I end the encounter and wrote the prisoner up. Apparently I was the only provider to do so. I have had all types of prisoners as patients. It wasn't a bad job. I got tired of prisoners working me for all manner of stuff. If they needed it, they got it. If they didn't a gentle no with no argument sufficed.
  8. by   resilientnurse
    Search this site for additional insight. There was a NP poster who felt that he was being stigmatized in the employment marketplace as he looked for jobs after his correctional work experience. He felt like no one would hire him because of it.
  9. by   ashonman
    Very interesting. ..well I went for a second interview, toured the place and it was no different than any long acute care unit with the exception of all the prisoners wearing white. The other cool thing is the providers do not work for the prison system they work for the teaching hospital that has a managed care contact . I a am still thinking about it, I have 3 other interviews to go to and then I will decide. Thanks for your input.

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