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Corrections NP: questions

Correctional   (153 Views | 2 Replies)

ThePrincessBride has 5 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Med-Surg, NICU.

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So I am in the middle of NP school (FNP). I will be graduating in a couple of years. However, I have an interest in both Urgent Care and Corrections. I was wondering: how hard is it to get into Corrections as a new FNP? Or in general? For those who work in corrections as NPs, do you like the work that you do? What are your hours like? And is there much MD/DO oversight?

 

Thanks in advance!

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ocean.baby has 25 years experience and specializes in corrections and LTC.

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I am answering as a prior prison health administrator.  You would have a period of orientation with a correctional provider, your orientation may be longer due to not having worked as an NP.  You have a patient list to see each day plus respond to emergencies which may be physical or mental health.  You should have an officer with you at all times.  Minimum security does not always require an officer to be with you and that is more dangerous.  I have almost 25 years of correctional experience starting with staff nurse, DON, administrator.  I would never see inmates without an office present so keep that in mind when you are interviewing.  No matter what their reasoning is for not having an office with you and the inmate, don't buy it.  You don't have to live in fear but you do always have to be cautious and expect the unexpected.  The hours are similar to an 8-5 job, there are times you are not seeing inmates as they are eating or locked down for count and you can get your paperwork caught up during those times.  You will renew medications, see inmates for chronic clinics (HTN, DM, hepatitis, seizures, etc.).  You will perform a lot of intake physicals.  There are guidelines as to how often physicals and chronic clinics have to be performed.  You will have to take call during nights and weekends - how often is usually dependent on how many providers there are.  You will always have a physician and regional medical director to support you.  There are limitations based on the patient being an inmate.  If he broke his ankle 5 years ago running from the police or playing basketball, and did not ever have it looked at while he was not an inmate, we are not going to allow him to have surgery at our expense.  If he breaks it while in prison that is a different story.  It is essential to document well when you are doing the intake physical as they will tell you things like they broke it playing basketball, but a year later will say they injured it in prison.  I have heard horror stories about inmates not getting proper medical care.  I think this can be true based on the company that you work for, but mostly on the site administrator and overseeing physician.  I have only seen poor medical care once, I had gone to help at a prison in another state and the HgbA1c's were out of control and been for some time.  That provider was fired the day I got there, hours after I saw the A1c's. 

I think it would be a good idea to work in an Urgent Care first and get a little experience on dealing with patients on your own.  Those skills that you learn there will be invaluable to you in corrections.  Corrections is a great field, I loved it.  Good luck to you no matter what your choice!

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ThePrincessBride has 5 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Med-Surg, NICU.

1 Article; 2,331 Posts; 56,514 Profile Views

Hi Oceanbaby, 

Thank you for your reply. I do have another question: Is it better to be a psych NP or an family NP as a corrections NP? I am in the FNP track but am considering adding a post-master's psych certificate down the line.

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