Prison nurses, opinions please

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    Hi all, I'm thinking about becoming a prison nurse here in Oregon and I'm looking for some opinions such as: how do you like your job? Which prison offers better working conditions, how are the benefits, and anything else you'd like to share with a prospective prison nurse? Thanks! -Lance
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    I have heard that prison nursing has good benefits and good pay. I don't know how it is to work in the prisons here in Oregon but I know a friend who lives in Colorado who says that nurses in prison are treated better (by the patients) than in LTC!
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    My neighbor was a prison nurse. She really loved it, but was fired for refusing to give an abortion to a prisoner. I say give it a shot, she said it was challenging, scary sometimes, and overall a very rewarding job.
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    "Give an abortion"??? How does one "give an abortion"? I'm stumped. Do you mean that she refused to assist the doctor while he performed a D&C procedure? Something doesn't sound right.
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    Quote from hereagain
    "Give an abortion"??? How does one "give an abortion"? I'm stumped. Do you mean that she refused to assist the doctor while he performed a D&C procedure? Something doesn't sound right.
    Get an abortion? how does one "get an abortion"? Well probably from the person "giving" it. When she first got a job in the jail she specifically asked if she would have to take part in abortions and they said no. Then 5 years later they asked her to administer some sort of oral drug that would cause they woman to have an abortion. She said she wasnt comfertable giving it and they fired her.
    legisty likes this.
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    I am a prison nurse in Vancouver, WA - just across the river from Portland. Word of warning. First - I love my job, I work at a minimum security prison camp, (like the skookum camp in Tillamook). I am the only nurse with 480 patients, most are in really good physical shape because they are required to work. The pay is not good, when you work for the state you make about $10.00 less an hour than nurses in the hospitals, but the benefits are good. Here is the kicker - When I took this job, I thought "wow, I work for the state now, less chance of being layed off (who loses a government job?) great benefits". Washington has a budget crisis (what state doesn't) and is closing the prison I work for. I am now looking for work. I have both my WA and OR nursing licenses and am looking on both sides of the river. If you can get a job with the state, good for you, go for it. Prison nursing can be very satisfying. In some cases I am the first health care provider some of these guys have seen for years. I love the patient education aspect, making sure that their chronic conditions are under control. I have never had a problem with a patient or any of the officers.
    legisty likes this.
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    I worked as an RN/trainer/manager for the oregon state prison system for a few years and I did enjoy it. There was quite a bit of variety as the RN you provide a full spectrum of care (first responder, medication, triage, assisting specialist MDs that come into the facility, education, etc). There is quite a bit of autonomy involved in the RN position. I personally prefer to work with the men rather than the women. It seems to be quite a bit more mental health issues with the females vs the males. Don't get me wrong, mental health issues permeate both populations. I recommend starting out at the higher security prisons as they have the higher acuity patients (infirmaries are located at the maximum security sites). Lower security settings nurses have more autonomy and need to be confident in their assessment, use of protocols and their ability to triage. I found the pay and benefits to be comparable to a med surg floor (this was a few years ago). By the way, there may still be a loan cancellation in place should this be applicable to your situation.

    Good luck
    legisty likes this.


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