Hello correctional nurses, in the midst of considering a job in a MI prison, can anyone assist me in weighing the pro's and con's (pun unintended) of this untraditional field of nursing, frankly my spine has had it with mobility impaired, incontinent, brain injured pts. 14 more years to the highway retirement.
Dec 20, '06
I have experience in both med surg and now work in corrections and I would take corrections most days.
Pros for corrections
-Inmates are generally more independent, the proportion that is "total care" is going to be very low in most places (it will save your back) and of course that is going to depend on where you work, in the health clinic or in the tiers.
-You don't have to listen to and try to appease the whining about how their breakfast is cold, how it took you 15 minutes to get them a cup of coffee (while you were probably dealing with another critical pt) etc. There will be much more whining guaranteed but, you are not obligated to fix these minuscule "problems". The focus is on real health problems in the prison.
- You will definitely see some inmates be grateful for your nursing care. They are generally a forgotten segment of the population and may never have had any real health care before and it can make you feel good to serve a segment of the population so in need.
-I hear some nurses say corrections is much easier. I don't know if I agree, I do think in some aspects it is easier and in some aspects it is harder.
-It is probably safer being a nurse in a prison versus a nurse in the hospital or similar. How many cases are there of violence toward nurses outside of the prison versus inside? Also violence toward staff members in prison is actually punished.
-You will have a good collection of hilarious stories. See the thread on "your funniest medical intake" if you need inspiration
-You are more independent in general and have to make more decisions on your own. You won't have the luxury of dozens of nurses, doctors etc to consult with prior to making a decision.
-You will see lots of inmates attempting to play games, fake symptoms, etc. Your assessment skills should be top notch to sort out the fakers from the people really needing medical attention.
-I sometimes miss the "feel good" patient /nurse interaction of doing extra for a pt. Like giving them a hand squeeze, making them a nice cup of tea or listening to how they are doing. Nurses working in corrections must have firm boundaries and the feel good aspect of nursing is not a part of the correction nurses practice (for good reason)
Again good boundaries are essential. You must have the ability to be firm, direct and confident. I highly recommend "games criminals play"
Last edit by VegRN on Dec 20, '06
Dec 21, '06
Thank you VegRN for your response, I'll get that book today!