I've been in corrections since 1996. Went to the interview solely out of curiosity. They gave me a ton of backround check stuff to fill out, then said, "If you want the job, fill this out and send it in to the Sheifff's dept," Been at it ever since, and would reccommend to anyone who is fed up with hospital nursing. You get a little bit of everything, but not as much of the "customer service" garbage you get in hospital nursing. You actually get to treat patients for their problems, and you can really have an impact with helping to diagnose and educate patients. There is a lot of bogus stuff, where inmates claim certain Sx because they know they will get sent to medical, but there are also thoses cases where you discover an undiagnosed illness and actually get to do some good. The doctors. at least where I work, are more prone to view you as a peer, and listen to your input. You usually have a more independent practice than you would in other settings, due to standing orders, etc..that allow the nurse to order meds under specific parameters. Would highly reccomend this specialty to nurses that have enough experience in other settings to make judgements based on a patient's presenting Sx.
Look out, if they tell you that you"re their favorite nurse. That probably means that you have broken some rules somewhere. As Aurora said, be firm, fair, and consistant and you won't have any problems.
Would recommend at least 1-2 yrs med-surg or any other hospital specialty before trying corrections. However, don't expect a jail or prison to meet JAACHO standards. The certification for these institutions are under an entirely different system. The main thing to remember is does the Tx rendered live up to community standards. Always remember that safety standard of the institution take precedence over medical concerns(excluding emergency Tx). In other words, if a pt. is scheduled for clinic and they have a court scheduled for that time slot, the court appearance is paramount.
If you are able to be independent within your prescribed standards of practice, then I would think you are a prime candidate for the job. Being independent in your home health care practice would be a BIG plus. Emphasize it. Don't be afraid to negotiate for pay. THere is a shortage of nurses right now, and esspecially in corections, so don't forget that you have a valuable commodity and should be paid accordingly.