I need correctional advice- please!

  1. Backgrounder- I am a mature RN, (mid 40's) who was a LPN ( RPN here in Canada) and recently graduated a few months back. I have been working at a large teaching hospital on a surgical (and medical ) floor. The pace is fast, fast , fast. 12 hours shifts. I am also taking a critical care course. I am also completing my degree by distance. So I am busy.
    Just recently a large ad appeared in the local paper for RN's in corrections canada. The city near where I live has 8 federal insitutions- min to max.
    So here is my question- I love the fast pace, critical setting. But I also have nursed inmates in the hospital and I am fascinated by the whole idea of nursing in a prision. The money is out of this world-------------------- I make about 25.00 in the hospital per hour and the federal rate starts at 41.00 per hour. No nights. Weekends off. Am I nuts to even think about it twice. My fear, and I may be way off balance, is being bored. Someone told me that the prision nurses hand out bandaids and pills.
    I also get the frosty cold shoulder from some RN's in the hospital who think I would be wasting my time and education.
    I live 50-60 minutes from the hopsital, but 15 minutes from one or two of the large prisions. The prisions that would hold the best chance of employment are max security settings.

    Can someone help me - give me some idea who to believe. I have applied with corrections, have a medical appointment, filled out all the security papers........ I feel pulled in the direction of corrections. The hopsital is exciting.........but I have to think of my future and pension and more education and I get the feeling I could really have a career with corrections..................

    Any bit of advice would be appreciated.

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    About JMP

    Joined: Feb '01; Posts: 740; Likes: 2
    RN, ICU


  3. by   nightingale
    I think you should go with your gut and try corrections.... Especially with that kind of financial leap! Yikes!!!! It is interesting, never boring, and very detailed. YOu can run the gambit of Dx and there is always the psycho/social twists of the inmates.... I find it interesting!!!

    I am sure the hospital would love to keep you on full time... oh sure.... but you call the shots and try the corrections (if that is what you choose) and stay wit the hospital PRN. So schedule a light load and try the correctional facility!!!! YOu can always go back to the hospital!!!!

    Have fun with any decision you make!
  4. by   ratherbecooking
    JMP I worked as a nurse in a Federal Prison for women here in the US for a total of 6 years. It was ANYTHING BUT boring. Inmates have the same health problems as people on the outside. Of course there ARE a lot of minor complaints. Inmates will try anything to get a day off work. Some could win academy awards. All inmates aren't young and tough....there are plenty of older ones too. Inmates have cardiac problems, HTN, diabetes, broken bones, lacerations, bee stings, psych problems, pregnancies, appendicitis, flu, etc. I'm thinking about going back. I left because of staff members I didn't like, not because of the inmates. I say go for it....the hospital will always take you back if you don't like correctional nursing. Nothing is engraved in stone until you're dead.
  5. by   JMP
    Interview this week!

    So I had my interview this week and it was quite extensive. Lots and lots of questions.......... it is actually a competition- this is the way it works with the federal government in Canada.

    In the meantime, I am hoping to work casual at a local prison (max security) to get my feet wet and see how I like it. The competiton I was at this week- well the results will come in later next month. I had a positive experience and felt the interview went fairly well- even though I did not know all of the answers! But then there where alot of questions!

    I am reallly looking forward to the adventure and challenge- I now feel corrections will be both!
  6. by   psychonurse
    I would say go for corrections it sounds like you are leaning towards that anyway..There is alway something going on in this field and like everyone has already told you if it isn't your cup of tea you can go back to hospital.... I left hospital nursing 11 years ago and I will never regret it. Please keep us informed and I am sorry that I havn't gotten in here lately but I have been busy getting ready for Christmas and other things....
  7. by   mopsi
    A frosty cold shoulder from some of your co workers? and you're in Canada to boot! Yikes...I would resent that first and formost.

    Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great. -- Mark Twain
    This quote is from Brandy BSN who is a frequent poster here.

    I think the message fits for you...I did corrections nursing for almost 2 years.It was at a county jail level..I liked most of the inmates...Found the females far more difficullt than the males. Had a couple of wild experiences..I had more problems with the staff, especially the corrections officers.They were under the usual stressors low pay,long periods of boredom, then sudden physical altercations. I think they resented the nurses there.We had a clinic and did triage.A medical unit. A pysche unit.Then there was med pass for general population. We would go with escort into the jail and pass meds by floors. I had a fit when I found out we were providing female hormones for the homosexuals who want'd boobs. All at the tax payers expence.Needless to say those meds were no longer available. Over all it was a great experience...I miss it sometimes..Good luck to you whatever your choice, and I hope you find more warm shoulders in chilly Canada, than the cold ones....
  8. by   nightingale1991
    I work at a small provincial jail in Manitoba. I have previously worked in Peds, L&D, Psych and Home Health. I decided to make the switch to correctional nursing after my son was born - I had the desire to no longer do shift work. I have been at my present position for about 18 months and have absolutely no regrets about leaving the hospital. There is alot of responsibility with this job and I am constantly having to make most decisions on my own. You encouter so many different people from so many different walks of life. I also work with alot of outside agencies such as public health, community mental health, home care, the ER at our local hospital and many northern nursing stations, and I have never once been given the cold shoulder or have been made to feel that I am any less of a professional because I choose to work behind prison walls. If you are fortunate enough to land a job in corrections, enjoy it and all the benefits that accompany it.
  9. by   prison_goddess
    I am currently working in a "Super Max" security prison. It has been a nice change from "regular" nursing is. I have had to learn alot about myself, make changes in the way I would usually care for injuries and anything else that arises. I too was concerned about it being non-stimulating or boring as others have asked me. You never know day to day what will happen. One day it will be routine, the next we might have a stabbing on one of the units. My children were concerned about me working in such a setting and others have asked if I worry about my safety. My response it at least I know what I'm working with. I know what they are capable of doing. When I've worked in the community, I've been at greater risk for voilence. In the correctional setting, at least where I'm employed, I am NEVER in contact one on one with an Inmate. If they are a higher risk inmate, ie: they are in the "hole" or "lock down" or even the death row, they will always be in cuffs and leg irons before I am allowed to treat or be around. One more thing to think about, I don't know about you, but my body has taken a beating in the "normal" nursing field. In the correctional setting, I never have to lift, roll or clean up any inmates. It is really wonderful. I don't have nearly the aches and pains after a shift that I use to experiance. Another wonderful thing for me was I didn't have to give of myself emotionaly and I did when working in other settings. I care, but I don't have to "care." Big reduction on the emotional drain. In correctional nursing you don't have family memebers calling and demanding what ever they seem to demand. No call lights, no more "patient in room ___ need to use the bed pan again."
    Yes, the money is wonderful! Be sure you know who you are and what you stand for. They will teach you about the "con games" and all the fun stuff.

    Best of luck! It really is an interesting and wonderful change in nursing.
  10. by   sewfast
    Hi...I just read your message...I have worked in corrections going on 7 years now and I can honestly say I've never been bored...I came from the hospital...ICU and Telemetry units...my compadres at the the hospital all thought I would be bored...was "too nice" to deal with prisoners, etc...what I found was my niche...a place where I could make a difference...my skills have been enhanced...corrections nursing sharpens your assessment skills because what the patient is telling you does not always correspond with your objective findings...it's a mixed bag and you never know for sure what will present from day to day...good luck to you and let us know how it goes for you
  11. by   prison_goddess
    Just want to make sure that I wasnt mistaken. In no way did I ever say or ment to emply that correctional nursing was boring. That is how those who haven't experianced this untapped filed of nursing view it. I to have had my skills sharpend and are more finely tuned. I love my job and plan to continue in this line of work. Sorry if I may have not expressed my fingers right!
    To all those who work behind razor wire.... God bless us all.
  12. by   kcsnapon
    I am a RPN student interested in working in corrections. I am coming up to my consolidation and am inquiring via e-mails to corrections canada as to the demand for nurses in corrections as well as doing my consolidation within a facility. I have also asked for some direction in such that maybe a consolidation in a MED/SURG consolidation might be just as beneficial. Any additional education that may be helpful? I have taken criminology and forensic psychology and am training for a volunteer position with victim services via regional police services. Anyway my question to you is, what could you suggest to prepare me for the application to a facilty or even consolidating, what was the interview process like? Any help from yourself or anyone reading would be appreiciated. Thanks Kelly
  13. by   nightingale
    I am not familiar with the term, consolidation; I think you mean emphasis to that field to prepare you for it. If so, perhaps I can offer a suggestion to take as much psychological emphasis.

    I remember reading the correctional patients have a history of learning disabilities, abuse, alcohol/drug related dependencies.

    I remember when I did Correctional Nursing and the all to often interaction of patient to health care provider poor or negative manipulation of the patient to get his/hers needs met. Truth telling was not common and had to be evaluated and researched.