Correctional nurse transitioning to med-surg

Specialties Correctional


  • by lia_bri
    Specializes in correctional.

Hi! I am a correctional nurse who worked in the prison “emergency room” for 5 years. I always felt that RN’s did jobs that EMT’s / paramedics do out in the regular world. Much of my work involved driving an actual mini ambulance and with the help of custody stabilizing inmates until an actual ambulance transported them to the hospital. Many times I dealt with hangings, stabbing, and riots where we had to strap inmates down on spinal boards, apply neck collars, and chest seals to chest wounds. I left that environment because no matter what I did I never felt like a “REAL” nurse. After 5 years I decided to pursue my dream of being an ICU nurse and have started in med-surg. I feel so depressed because I lack basic skills such as knowing how to do blood transfusions or basic insulin/heparin infusion skills. I have learned so much  in the 6 months of med surg but I still feel out of place. I feel like a new grad . I feel judged by other newer more experienced nurses. Has anyone ever gone through this journey? We’re you able to transition from correctional nursing to an in-hospital setting without any prior experience? I feel like I’ve pigeoned hole myself and can’t help but think of how much time I wasted doing stuff that most RN’s don’t do or would ever have to ?. Thank you so much! Sorry for the rant!


216 Posts

Correctional nurse here as well. I understand exactly what you are saying. I started out in correctional nursing and although I haven't got the "itch" to go to med surg yet, I do wonder if I should just to experience it and aquire skills I am not getting/using at my current job. Don't get me wrong I am not a bedside nurse at all, but I am wondering if I am pigeonholing myself. Although, the last few nurses that left had no issues getting into their desired jobs in the hospital, but as of right now I don't have the itch to leave, but I do understand everything you are saying. Plus the pay is more than what the hospitals are paying in the area. 

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