As I'm sure it is at most places, we are severely understaffed at my facility. There is a shortage of nurses a lot of places. And I was talking to one of my co-workers about why we thought it was so hard for nurses to come and work there. And I was told tonight while I was at work that most nurses do not go into the medical field to work in a jail, that they do not graduate from nursing school and say that they want to work in Corrections. And I understand that most people don't. I did. I had the goal of working in Corrections to help people there. So I'm curious about other people. Why did you get into working in Corrections? Was it the money? Was it a convenient job? Did you think that it would be interesting?
I was a new Psych NP and it was the first job I found. I thought, even though the pay was terrible at first, the experience will be invaluable. And it was. 13 years later I left (retired) for another position with a private company at twice the money.
Yes, it was interesting, and yes, I got to help people. You will learn lessons that will stay permanently with you.
If you can do this work, you will soon carry a confidence that will spill over into the rest of your life.
Don't get over involved with patients, always maintain boundaries, and see what there is to learn.
I've worked in both a jail and a prison and I will never go back. I actually loved the actual job or helping people and the patients were usually kind and I felt safer there then working in acute psych. I've always liked helping people that general society doesn't seem to care about or sweep under rug. The problem was the severe purposeful understaffing in both places. Both paid the fines for low staffing instead of hiring even though we had people applying. Both had shady practices but asked the moon from the staff and it was impossible to deliver. At the jail, the staff were treated so terribly by management that we all quit at once, including the providers, and they lost their contract. The private contracted correctional medical care companies are destroying the specialty. Just look at the employee reviews for these companies.
As for just regular understaffing as in no one applying, the cause for us was the long and arduous process of actually getting hired. At both places it could take up to 3 months to get hired. When people are looking for jobs, they don't have 3 months to wait for approval. It can also be very intimidating. For instance, at the jail I had to be interviewed for 2 hours by 2 detectives and fill our a 15 page application.
My other friend had to be put through a lie detector test and if they found you lied about something they warned you that you could be prosecuted. Because we all know lie detectors tests are 100% accurate.
Frankly, it's just not worth the low pay, stress, lack of respect from management, and the lack of good benefits.
I don't regret taking these jobs though because holy cow, you learn a lot, and the confidence I gained to be a independent nurse (because I had to) was invaluable. Also my "bullcrap" meter is tried and true now.
HeHeHe I like that you have a bull crap meter that got a work out, I think mine wore out towards the end when I decided to leave corrections.
I truly enjoy what I am doing now and have a life. I do miss corrections and the nursing services I provided to those offenders. My pay was always good, benefits were great. Management lack of respect happens not only in corrections but the civilian side as well. Mean people suck. But truly the experience you get if you apply yourself in Corrections, you will carry it with you everywhere you go.
I took a corrections job because I had less than 1 year acute care experience and could not get hired in the hospital. But I totally love it in jail, although it is: tough, frustrating, and political, our provider relationships are wonderful and every shift I learn more and more. And it has forced me to be very independent.
The ironic thing is that I went into nursing to get out of corrections. I had worked in the correctional field in non-medical capacities for the better part of 20 years. I answered an ad from my current agency for a per diem position hoping to pick up a couple of shifts per month. That was over 17 years ago.
I started working in corrections because I was fresh out of nursing school and at the end of my rope looking for a job. They were begging for people and had a huge sign on bonus. I was amazed that it could be this hard to find a job as a nurse, and took this job out of desperation. Then I started getting excited about it. It offers lots of cool and exciting opportunities for a new nurse - lots of different nursing settings in one job (clinic, ER, meds, psych, educating). It also excited me because before I became a nurse I worked with dementia patients, and the combative residents made my day. I love a challenge, and prided myself at being able to handle the most difficult patients no one else could.
Though I'm having a blast, angeloublue22 is right about management. I work for a private company. It scares me as a new nurse sometimes. They fumble around so much I know they don't have my back. I worry that this behavior makes it very unsafe, being a prison and all. Poor management is bad anywhere, but in this setting? Scary. I wonder if this was the best choice, being a new grad...
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