Hello, Military Spouse...
About CMS...I have worked for them, as well. They seem like a fair company that treated employees fairly. I only worked for them briefly, but have no complaints. As for the correctional vs. hospital thing...well, my advice would be to see if you could start out on a part-time basis to see if correctional nursing is for you or not. Correctional nursing, IMHO, is a calling. You either love it or you hate it. You sink or swim. Unfortunately, I have seen many nurses come into the correctional setting from a hospital or dr's office background, and be unable to make the adjustment. It is tough for them to remember that the inmates are in the facility for a reason other than to attain healthcare. They are there because they committed, or are accused of committing a crime. If they become ill or injured while there, or if they have a chronic condition that requires monitoring, we must provide them with that care. It takes a nurse with excellent assessment skills to weed through the load of crud they will try to tell you is wrong with them, to find out what is really wrong, if anything. You must always be on your toes. That is where a hospital background would help, as I am sure you have acquired excellent assessment skills in a hospital setting. It just takes some getting used to that they cannot have everything they WANT or ask for...they will expect you to do so, but you cannot do this. That is where the trouble lies for some nurses to get used to. Most certainly, if the inmate needs something, they should definitely get it, but the inmates sometimes have trouble differentiating WANTS from NEEDS. One must also take into cosideration that as nurses we are, as always, pt. advocates and it takes a certain kind of person to be the advocate of a criminal. That is why I say it is a calling, it is either for you or it isn't.
Best of wishes to you...hope it works out for the best. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask. I would be happy to answer any and there are a bunch of great correctional nurses on this board, as well, that I know would be happy to help you with info.