You are welcome, I hope this will be of assistance to you.
When did you graduate from nursing school?
LPN 1981 RN 1988 BSN 2004
Have you been a Correctional Nurse since you graduated, did you work in another nursing capacity, or take time off after graduation? What other types of nursing(if any) have you done?
I have done many different types of nursing:
Specialty experience in Medical-Surgical, Pediatrics, Orthopedics, Neurology, Cardiac, ICU, Telementry and Short Stay Surgery; Geriatric nursing services, Home Health/Hospice: Case Management/Intake Coordinator,Staff Developement Coordinator, and Corrections.
Do you work in more than one institution at the present time?
No at this time I am assigned to one prison.
How many hours a week, on average, do you work in a week?
36 hours three 12 hour shifts
What shift(s) do you work? If you work more than one shift, how do you rotate through the different shift rotations?
I work 7:00 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.
What do you like about working as a nurse?
Independence and Autonomy - Practicing nursing in correctional healthcare is a satisfying mix of independence and cooperation.
While functioning autonomously is rewarding, I also appreciate being part of a collaborative approach-- Specialty physicians, mental health, dental and other professionals are readily available to nurses in support of patient care. I think I am not only taking care of the patients but also doing a type of public health nursing as well.
What type of facility is the institution?
male Medium-security 768 beds currently.. scheduled to build further beds starting March 2007 opening Spring 2008
What are the types of patients that this unit cares for?
Orthopedic injuries, sports injuries, diabetes, hypertension, HIV, ingrown toenails and other chronic illnesses
In general, what are the needs of these patients?
Facility health care staffs oversee all stages of patient treatment, from care planning to clinical outcomes. The nature of the population served provides additional perks for health care professionals: all are ambulatory,no bed pans to change at our facility. Acute care is a reality, but a rare and short-term occurrence, as serious illnesses and injuries are transferred to community health care facilities.
Correctional nurses have a great deal of autonomy, provide acute and chronic assessments, dispense medications, manage acute illness and injuries, perform health screenings, and educate inmates on various health related topics. Correctional facilities also reflect the society at large, therefore the incarcerated population is aging and has a wide range of health issues that need to be addressed while serving their sentence.
What types of problems do you address or try to prevent,as a nurse working with these patients?
We place emphasis on education that may include group meetings to discuss care and maintenance of various illnesses and other educational health care programs; successful readjustment into society upon their release through addictions treatment and psychological counseling.
What other types of health care providers work with these patients and what arethere roles with these patients? How much time, on average, might they spend with a patient on a shift, a day or a week?
We have LPNs, RNs, NPs, MDs, Dentists, Psychologists, mental health counselors.
Time with each is variable MDs, Dentists counselors and Psychologist are in the prison a set amount of hours per week between 20 and 24 per week.
What is the staffing level of the primary shift that you work? Do you know what that might be for other shifts?
On the shift I work, one RN is staffed. Day shift has between 3 to 4 nurses. If an Inmate is in the medical Department overnight, then a Medical Correctional Officer is also assigned.
How is patient care divided amongst the different health care providers? (For example does one C.N.A. provide the care to 3 patients and work 1:1 with one RN?)
On day shift care is divided between sick call, medication administration line, segregation visits, and triage. One night shift these and restocking, ordering medications and supplies are the responsibility of the night nurse.
Have you ever had an injury as a result of your employment as a CorrectionalNurse?
You mentioned your concern about an overall security falter. Would you say that prevention of access to weapons, or objects that could be used as weapons is themost important preventative measure implemented in your area?
This is a primary concern, cells are routinely "shaken down", that is searched by correctional officers for items of contaband.
Within the medical Department we count things that most nurses would take for granted, rolls of tape, plastic syrgines, needles, lancets, the metal hooks used for securing ace wrap bandages.
You also mentioned that security is first priority, would it be fair to say that putting security before medical care adds to the overall safety of all patientsand staff?
It takes many types of employees to meet these challenges: correctional officers, administrative office personnel, and food service workers, as well as professionals in the educational, social and healthcare fields.
Certainly, for example, I once had to respond to an inmate"s cell: I was told the Inmate had used a razor and had cut /slashed his wrists. Medical care had to be done after security correctional officers secured the inmate, sweeped the cell and searched the inmate for that razor /weapon.
Has a patient's health been adversely affected by security measures in your experience, or has a crisis clearly been prevented by following safety procedures?
I am aware of a time where kitchen "tools" were not counted and a large knife was found missing. A lock down of the faciility and search was done, the item found and confiscated, upon questioning the reason for the item taken, "was do do in someone".
Are you aware of any regulatory and/or reimbursement agencies are involved in this safety risk for the patient and the nurse?
American Correctional Association,
State Accreditation: Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations and the National Commission on Correctional Health Care, the most rigorous industry standards for corrections and health care provider organizations.
Colorado Department of Corrections
NAADAC (the National Association for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors), The Association of Addictions Professionals.
These organizations work to improve the quality of health care provided in jails, prisons, and juvenile confinement facilities by developing and maintaining nationally recognized standards for correctional health care.
Are you aware of the stance of any professional nursing organizations related to correctional nurses or correctional nurse safety?
There is a standard of care much like the American Nurses Accosciations standard of care, far to long to post here.
How much additional training was required to prepare you for this job? What was the nature of the additional training?
My company provides a 40-hour orientation program for all new, full-time employees. Included in this training are the following:
--Corporate history, philosophy, goals and objectives
--Facility policy and procedures
--Job responsibilities and personnel policies
--Employee standards of conduct
--Communicable diseases/infection control
--Special management offenders
--Use of force
Employees also receive additional training specific to their job assignments.
Also the company works closely with local, state, and federal organizations in the planning and presentation of training programs to ensure that training is efficient, effective and beneficial to local agencies, institutions and organizations.