Seeking Advice on forensic nurse opportunity

  1. Hello all,
    I am a recent grad, mid-life career changer. Since starting nursing school, I have been interested in psych and addictions. I have an opportunity to take a job PT nights at our state hospital for the criminally insane, or for those not yet cometant to stand trial. This area interests me greatly, and I feel I could serve in an underserved population, doing something that interests me (med surg is not for me). The state hospital is in many ways like a LTC facility bc pts can stay months or years.
    The benefits of a state job in a filed that I am drawn to is tempting... but when I research it, I cannot help but get scared too. I am a petite woman, and I hesitate to put myself in a population so dangerous. However, for every "bad" story, I also read from many forensics nurses who enjoy thier work.
    I am torn... I want to do this, I hestitate to do this. Can you tell me how "scary" ? How stressful? Do you ever feel in danger? How is night shift?
    I had a tour of the soon to be opened new hospital, security looks very tight, cameras and carefully divided units based on behavioral issues... each patient will be given a private room and I see some hazards (beds bolted to floors, those bolts could easily become weapons) ... other things are red flags to me... like passing meds in rooms instead of through window, for example. I believe in rehabilitation of this population and I would love to give myself to this career (and pursue an NP in psych) but again,,,, I want to weight the risks vs benefits.
    Please, tell me your stories? Thank you kindly.
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    About mrsmarah

    Joined: Aug '15; Posts: 21; Likes: 6


  3. by   Oldmahubbard
    I worked for 13 years as a Psych NP at this type of facility. Retired 2 years ago for a much better paying job. I was never afraid, although I worked days only. The politics in that place were scarier than the inmates, haha. Great learning experience, nothing like it.

    97% of the interactions I had with inmates were respectful, and most of the 3% that were not were acutely psychotic men.

    Aside from the annoyance of a ton of malingering, I have good memories