Correctional nursing opportunities

  1. Hi, I'm an RN who recently got 2 job offers as a correctional nurse on a state prison and a psych nurse in a psych hospital. Im really leaning towards the correctional nurse job however I wonder what kind of career opportunities I could find if I take the path of a correctional nurse. Obviously, if I take the psych job I have the option to pursue a career in psych nurse practitioner, how about correctional nursing? Where could I go later on? I hope to further my education in the future I just wouldn't want to find myself with limited options. Thanks!
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    About gptrn

    Joined: Dec '11; Posts: 5


  3. by   mtsteelhorse
    Correctional nursing encompasses a wide range of nursing skills depending on the facility in which you're employed. You'll be utilizing assessment skills, psych, acute and chronic care. You are only as limited as you want to be in your future! Do you have prior experience? If you're a new grad the job in corrections will benefit you greatly in terms of developing a wide range of skills. If your heart is in psych go for it! Best of luck. How wonderful to have choices!
  4. by   gptrn
    Thanks for the info, I currently work in a Skilled Nursing Facility, I enjoy it but, no offense to nurses in SNFs, I feel there isnt a whole lot of future opportunities for a young RN in a SNF. I'm leaning towards the correctional for a few reasons one being the schedule I'm going offered to me is more convenient. But I want to find out more about it cause I won't let short term conveniences have me regretting the direction I went in the long run.
  5. by   mtsteelhorse
    I understand where you're coming from in regard to SNFs. The nice thing about nursing is we never have to remain locked in to one area forever. If you can get a good schedule that IS hugely important in maintaining balance in your life. I really enjoy corrections for the most part. You need to be confident and assertive to avoid manipulation. Be aware in the beginning and you'll be fine. I wish you much success. If you find it's not your niche you will still learn a tremendous amount about working with this sector of public health. Future employers will appreciate the savvy required to work in this field. I enjoy a LOT of autonomy and respect. I have SWEET hours and great pay. I wish the same for you!
  6. by   trvl
    I am also interested in what Correctional Nursing Supervisors do? Are they required to be available 24/7 for staff?
  7. by   mtsteelhorse
    I think that depends on the facility but that is unlikely. Many facilities utilize contract services for their health care services. I am a supervisor in a very tiny county detention center and I'm not on call at all. After hours officers have to send inmates to the ER or call 911.
  8. by   trvl
    I am interested and applied for the Correctional Supervisor 3 position in CA. Are these positions available in 12hr or 10 hr shifts? This position for all shifts? For Weekends only? Thank you.
  9. by   mtsteelhorse
    What did the position info state? I'd certainly want to know these details before proceeding.
  10. by   Multicollinearity
    I cannot imagine anyone getting a correctional nursing supervisor 3 position if they've never been a correctional nursing supervisor. I can tell you our supervisors are reachable 24/7 because if a nurse calls in they have to find coverage or show up themselves. Also, when bad things go down on the yard, the supervisors have to be able to be reached to give advice or call in more nurses.
  11. by   trvl
    Thank you for all the info. These positions do not state the schedule that would be required.
  12. by   Erikadawn RN
    I have been a correctional LPN for 3 years, and a correctional RN for almost a year. I love my job, but other employers often see the correctional nurse as having no experience and incompetent. I have heard comments from EMT's who come into the facility, that are negative. I have been trying to branch out into other fields. I applied to positions in psych and drug and alcohol, only to get comments from recruiters, that we don't like to hire prison nurses. I have had to at interviews explain out detox procedures or how we deal with psychiatric emergencies and suicide attempts. There is s much to do in corrections and people don't realise it.
  13. by   tom7044
    I was a shift supervisor for the City and County of San Francisco Jail Health division and then Nursing Supervisor for Prison Health Services (now Corizon) in two larger urban jai facilities. The basic responsibility is to insure the smooth running of the 12 hour shift by assigning other nurses both RN's and LVN's to the various station where they are responsible for completing the work of that particular area; such as the Intake area or the Women's section; the Infirmary and the medication nurses and to coordinate the work assignments so that the nursing staff functions as a whole and accomplishes the goals for that shift. My responsibilities also included scheduling staff for a 28 day schedule assigning per-diem nurses where needed and covering sick calls and time off requests making sure that the nursing staff had their lunch breaks and rest periods. I kept in close contact with the nurse managers to keep them informed and up to date about issues that they might need to become involved with as well as staffing issues and concerns about any individual staff members that were not performing at expected standards. I was involved in new employee orientations and monthly staff training. The two most important function of the shift supervisor is to keep a running dialog with the custody staff and the line supervisors. The sergeants and lieutenants responsible for thee custody staff or sworn staff and their responsibility to protect the safety and security of the facility above all else. As nurses we do a lot of educating and teaching the law enforcement professionals about what we do and why at the same time always following the rules of safety and security. We supervise forced blood draws and care for inmates after they have had to be controlled by tazers or hands on techniques. These skills take time to learn and to practice. Bottom as a correctional nursing supervisor I am a "problem solver" dealing with the difficult and unexpected problems that come up all of the time. Deciding where to suggest that inmates be housed when sick or injured to make certain they are safe and that the custody staff have the resources they need to provide the basic things all inmates require. We must be very capable at managing medical emergencies in the facility. We require all RNs to have ACKLS certification and be skilled in physical assessments and certified in reading 12 lead EKG's. I love working in this speciality and think I have the most exciting and rewarding job possible.
  14. by   vernon42
    I understand that if you work at a correctional facility you are expected to work so much over time there is no time for anything else.