Correctional Nursing Pros/Con and Environment - page 2

So I'm a recent graduate and have a RN job possibility in a state correctional facility. I was just looking for advice from others on experiences of working with this given population. We went on a... Read More

  1. by   LPN Guy
    I had an initial interview at a state prison Friday which went well. They have emailed me back saying they want me to come back for another interview and a tour of the facility. I got my LPN license in August 2013 so I actually haven't been job searching all that long. This will be my first job as a nurse but I have four solid years working as a nurse's aide in a large hospital where we deal with psych patients, drug and alcohol abuse, med surg patients etc. This will be working for a private company so it won't be a state employee job - all of the prisons and jails in the state where I live are privatized. Anything special I should know going into this? I'd like to hear from some of you out there who have worked in corrections for a while and are liking it

    PS: I have actually been a member of allnurses since 2008 under a different name so I can say that I've gotten some good advice and insights form this forum over the years. I first joined when I became a nursing student, and I an still in school in an LPN to BSN program. If it turns out that I like corrections nursing I may end up being an RN in the prison system. We'll see how it goes. (Had a password/username issue with my othet acct and found it was easier just to start a new one :***:
    Last edit by LPN Guy on Dec 22, '13 : Reason: more info
  2. by   Pudnluv
    I have been a RN for 20 years and have worked in various settings. After spending 11 years doing med/surg/telemetry, I moved to the ED, which I absolutely love. Recently, I decided to take a part time job at the county jail (I still work in the ED), and I love it. In some ways it is like a breath of fresh air. I see many of the same people that I see at in ER, but usually they are a little better behaved in the jail setting. I don't have to worry about press ganey scores if I say the "wrong" thing. I am a big stickler on boundaries and personal space, and I am able to make it perfectly clear without worrying about offending anyone. Also, we have had a rash of violence against nurse in the ER, and so far, it appears to be a bit safer at the jail (sees ironic, doesn't it). I also find that there is less physical stuff at the jail, and at this point in my career that is a plus. It is nice to go home in the evening without that horrible feeling of frustration that the happens when I work at the ER. I'm not quite ready to give up the ER just yet, but I can see me making a move to full time corrections in the future.
  3. by   fiba
    Correctional nursing, I thought there would be more violence in the Jail than ER. =0

    I definitely bet the population you treat there have committed some serious offences, I learned in my criminology class that one still must be empathic and let go of judgements you may have in regards to offenders in order to provide any type of service whether that is in the role of a guard or nurse.
  4. by   Pudnluv
    In the jail, I am surrounded by correctional officers. Inmate movement is monitored and boundaries are clearly established. Also, every inmate is searched before entering (although I am sure some get away with contraband). In the ER, people just come in from the street. They are patients first. They are not searched at the door and we are not accompanied by security when we go into rooms. As we are dealing with patients, we must be careful not to offend. Certainly boundaries can and should be established, but not in such a way as to offend the patient. I am sure that violence against nurses occurs in corrections also. It occurs in every aspect of nursing. It just seems to me that corrections has a few more safeguards to prevent it. I'm still loving the ER though. And loving my jail time.
  5. by   michwestRn
    I have done over 5 years of correctional nursing. I recently quit my correctional nursing for traveling correctional nursing. Each facility is run different. Correctional nursing is hard but rewarding in its own way. I left an very dysfunctional medical unit in New Haven Michigan . Most nurses who have experienced the prison I worked for would tell me that the prison I worked in was run very badly. This came from nurses who worked at different prisons and ended up at Detroit Prison for one reason or another We had nurses fighting with nurses on top of having to deal with the inmates . Its hard for me to work for someone I know that I don't have any respect for so after 2.7 years at this one prison I decided to move on . I look forward to the new prison that I will be working in I would not give up on corrections because of one bad apple
  6. by   OrganizedChaos
    I have worked in various correctional settings, it was probably my favorite place to work. I liked the autonomy & the wide range of skills used. I would definitely go back after I get my RN. But it is not for everyone. I know my best friend who has her RN wouldn't do well as a correctional nurse. It also depends on the facility & how medical is run. There has always been a rift been medical & corrections/security. The last correctional institute I worked at was so filled with drama I was SO glad to leave!
  7. by   michwestRn
    Well the positive thing is if you don't like where your at, you only have 13 weeks and you can move on.
  8. by   TriciaJ
    Lots of good things about corrections, but I would caution any new/young nurse taking this as a first job. Your new-grad uncertainty will be obvious to this crowd and they will try to play you to the hilt. If you really are considering this job, please find a copy of Games Criminals Play (And How You Can Benefit From Knowing Them). Can't remember the author, but really good information for anyone nursing in this setting. Good luck!
  9. by   Mali_nurse
    This information has been helpful. Was hesitant about applying to a job at a detention center practically in my back yard (8-12min driving) up the road in Northern Virginia :-) Anyways, I think I will apply now for the PRN position.
  10. by   OrganizedChaos
    Awesome, good luck! I miss working corrections. Probably my favorite job.
  11. by   Nurse acewa
    What do you mean? "you only have 13 weeks and you can move on."

  12. by   ctcpete
    Hi, I am recently licensed in NJ as an RN (associates). Enrolled in a BS program too through Excelsior.

    Getting that first job with no experience is proving to be a challenge. I am considering correctional nursing. Anyone here in NJ doing it? Any advice is appreciated. I liked psych nursing in school and I come from the streets as a kid..I could have made many of the bad choices that the prison population made. Many of my childhood friends did. So I have empathy and street smarts..if that helps.

    Any job leads in NJ would be appreciated as well. I just completed Excelsior's ADN program and helped many students. I am kind of that way naturally I guess. I could use a hand now. Thanks.
  13. by   f1j1nurse
    4th year in corrections, and I can't dream of doing anything else. I did quit for about 5 months to go work on med/surg and I would never set foot in hospital nursing again unless maybe in the ER.