I'm soliciting your input in order to highlight this field:
1. Why do nurses leave corrections? Have you?
2. What should be taught?
I left correctional nursing for several reasons... first was the fact that I had to drive over 90 miles one way to get to the facillity and then do the return drive home after each shift. Since there were several nurses who made a drive of at least 90 miles, we tried to get a "home away from home" so that the nursing staff could have a place to stay after a 12 hour shift. This was not approved for the nursing staff, we were told that having this living arrangement would make us more likely to be contacted by inmates, and that our security would be at risk. The department of corrections could not approve us getting a place for staff to live at during our work times. We did not ask DOC to pay for this palce, only to allow staff to make sure that we could have a place so that we didn't have a 3 hour round trip drive with a 12 hour shift in between. After 2 years of making this drive and not seeing my family, I felt I needed to try to get employment closer to to my primary home.
The second reason for leaving was no raises for any medical staff after a year. This was a private run prision, yet we saw that the correctional officers were given a raise; "across the board/cost of living" while none of us in the medical department was even given a cost of living raise. I could and do make more money working for the temporry agency that staffs the prision, for me this was a $13.00 per hour raise in pay.
The third reason I left was the rotation in "charge nurses". Each day it could be a different nurse, no consistancy in charge, making each day uncertain of where we would be assigned to work, IE clinci, segreation, med line ect.. Some days the LPNs would make the nurse's assignments, while policy clearly stated RNs only were to do this. The inconsistancy of charge and assignments clearly left the medical/nursing staff open to breaches in security.
I would love to return to working in corrections, however the same drive time of at least one hour each way exsits. The supervision would need to be clearly a nurse with at least 5 years in correctional nursing and a RN not an LPN.
What should be taught-- I would have benefitted from having a clear idea of what a medical correctional officers duties were. Sometimes I was given a different list than what the officer the day before had. Again not having the knowledge of what their duties are/were placed the nursing staff in a posistion of not being able to provide the best care.
Learning more of the subtle ways an inmate tries to manipulate nursing staff, and how to to put a stop to this would have been of help.
How security makes arrangements when an inmate needs to leave the correctional facillity in order to go to and "outside" medical appointment and what is needed for security.
Documentation-- it seems that a few times a year the state would require a different kind of charting and/or the chart in a different order... no inservice was ever given on how to put a chart together in the correct order. More inservices on nursing items special to correctional nursing would have been of help, these couldhave been on simple how to chart/document to inservices on the stockholm syndrome... any inservice that would have made us better correctional nurses, would have been beneficial I think.
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