My life as a Correctional Nurse

Correctional Nursing is a very hard job! It is normal to catch up on the local news correct? But how do you watch the news, listen to these heinous crimes, Murderers, Kidnappers, RAPE, Robbery, BABY KILLERS, CHILD ABUSERS, etc and then have them sit in front of you at your mercy for care? Nurses Announcements Archive Article

My life as a Correctional Nurse

One of my main goals each night that I work as a Correctional nurse is personal safety. Unlike the traditional healthcare setting, there are many types of people you come in contact with. For instance, jails and prisons are full of angry people with poor impulse control. As the nurse, my demeanor will determine the outcome of each and every encounter when providing care.

My first thought when in contact of an angry Inmate is how can I treat him/her and keep any additional anger from developing. Aggressive responses to an angry patient can be risky, and never a first choice. Aggressive responses are arrogant and make the patient feel insecure. Preventing anger from escalating to violence is a primary tool to increase personal safety in this setting.

Correctional Nursing is a very hard job! It is normal to catch up on the local news correct? But how do you watch the news, listen to these heinous crimes, Murderers, Kidnappers, RAPE, Robbery, BABY KILLERS, CHILD ABUSERS, etc and then have them sit in front of you at your mercy for care?

My night consists of cleaning their wounds... gunshot wounds, stab wounds, Medicating their pain, and providing continuous care. Several Inmates that come in are drug and alcohol users that I have to monitor for withdrawals. As the inmates come into the jail it saddens me to see the tears and fears on so many different faces, of all walks of life. And then its the Emergencies that you are called upon....having to SAVE THEIR LIVES?

Meanwhile, in the mist of it all, I have to focus on the patient and try not to judge them! In my mind, "I remember this man, he is the one that killed his family, abused his child, raped that poor woman, robbed the elderly, shot that police officer! this is him!" meanwhile he is crying for Help!!! looking into MY eyes! and what do I do? I HELP.....every time! I pray and I help! Meanwhile asking GOD to HELP ME... help him!!!

If you get too involved its called FRATERNIZATION, and you will loose your job. If you are too HARD on the Inmates you are looked upon as being non sympathetic. The only way I get through my 12.5 hour nights it is the love of GOD...

This one night I was placed in a position where I helped save a life! It was a very rewarding experience and I would do it again! To this day when I see this inmate, I can't remember his charges, I only remember seeing his eyes focused on my eyes while he was in distress. And the remembrance of his sincerity, thanking me after his return from the hospital. Everyday I walk into this correctional facility I pray and remind myself I AM NOT THE JUDGE! I LET GOD... AND LET GO of any feelings of his/her accused crime. Although my job is very mentally challenging, I do love my job as a correctional nurse. And I know that all things work together for good, to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose..

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Wow, that's inspiring. I am to begin a working as a correctional nurse in a few weeks and was seeking some insight and words of advice, and this is surely reassuring. Thats exactly how I've been feeling prior to reading this just now.... how can I provide nurturing care to people who've wronged so many people in various ways? Rapists, killers, robbers, murderers, etc... And here I stumbled upon your post of your experience and I thank you for sharing. I agree that is important to do what is right without judging the inmates for what they've done. That's what God is for. He's the judge, and also the reason why we are nurses today! Thanks again for sharing your Correctional Nursing experience!!! :hug:

Specializes in LTC and School Health.

Very touching.

My God, what a wonderfully, inspiring testimony and story. It was well displayed and truly enlightening. I appreciate you and you time you took to share this. I am a student nurse who is on the wait list for the nursing program in my state and have been approached and suggested to continue my field upon graduation in corrections. I wanted to be an officer at one point in time but my passion has always been medicine. A doctor actually is what my choice has always been. Just too old for it now. I see now that my doubts and apprehensions have been clarified merely in the simple task of reading an article. I truly thank you for this. God bless you always! 2

In school, I was required to visit a local medium-security prison for clinical experience. That experience has shaped who I am, how I look at people, and how I treat them while practicing nursing. This article was excellent, and reflected what my limited experience in that setting was. One of the additional challenges that I noticed was having to ascertain whether you were getting accurate subjective information to base your nursing diagnoses and treatments on, while dealing with men who make it a daily habit to lie to most people. For this reason, the corrections nurses I followed and worked with had OUTSTANDING assessment skills and were willing to share their techniques with students. I learned a lot from those two days.

I am really burned out as correctional nurse and it's not the crimes of the inmates it is the MALINGERING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

I'm a nursing student now I graduate in a few months and I'm actually leaning towards starting my nursing career as a correctional nurse. After reading your testimony, I'm even more inspired to become a correctional nurse. I just have find out hiring process.

In taking histories of some of these inmates, I can see that they are victims as well as criminals. Very often they had a crap start in life and didn't learn the same values I was taught, or were shown cruelty from the family who were supposed to love them.

Even when I'm faced with an unrepentant criminal, I think about how, as a correctional nurse, I'm serving the community by providing care in place and avoiding possible transport of the inmate through the community where they could be more of a danger.

i have worked in correctional nursing for 8 years, and i find it easier to just do my JOB, dont try to be friends with the inmates and you will be fine. the(mis) Management of the nurses (scheduling) is the biggest problem we have.

the(mis) Management of the nurses (scheduling) is the biggest problem we have.

Same at my job. That's why there is such a high turnover rate.

I don't even think of what inmates have done when caring for them. I've been having to do wound care on a patient who (allegefly) killed his girlfriend then slit his wrists. He's one of the nicest guys.

The sex crimes cell blocks are often the most nice and pleasant ones.

I work for Armor correctional health services and they are so terribly managed. I love my job just not the people I work for.

Specializes in PICU.

Thank you so much for sharing your experience and those encouraging words! I am a firm believer in God and that the Lord can do all things through me and it is by His strength and will that I am able to do all that I am called to do. I'm in my third semester of nursing school and I'm considering going into correctional or psych nursing. I am praying for God to lead me where He wants me to be. Thanks again!!