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New to Correctional Nursing

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Specializes in Corrections, ER, PCU, Peds, Maternity. Has 5 years experience.

Hey everyone, I just accepted a position with CDCR and turned in all of my required paperwork. HR says I will hear back from them on Monday about next steps, but until then I am curious about orientation and how my schedule might look during the first few weeks? Will it be a combination of classroom and then working with inmates later? I was told I’d have at least 10 weeks of training which sounded generous! Everywhere I have ever worked has been 6 weeks or less (when I worked in ER I got 2 nights of orientation then I hit the ground running!) I know every facility will be very different but I am just curious your experiences with CDCR.

A little bit about me: I’ve been a nurse for a little more than 4 years. I have worked in progressive care, ER, pediatrics, camp nursing and recently OB. I had always wanted to work in OB, but realized a year in it is not for me. Honestly, working anywhere in the hospital is not for me anymore. It felt like the same thing different night and I just didn’t feel challenged anymore. I wanted to put all of my experience into practice so I started researching different areas outside of the hospital. In one of my forensic nursing courses we discussed correctional nursing and it caught my interest. So I applied for correctional nursing positions back in June and here I am 😄 I did a lot of homework leading up my my interview and found Lorry Schoenly’s books about correctional nursing. That is what really solidified my decision to keep moving towards this specialty. I recommend her books if anyone has an interview coming up or is just curious about correctional nursing.

Looking forward to starting and connecting with you all! Thanks for any bits of advice or your experiences you might have for me! 🙂

CONGRATS!! What institution?

trailrunningrn, BSN

Specializes in Corrections, ER, PCU, Peds, Maternity. Has 5 years experience.

11 hours ago, monylo32 said:

CONGRATS!! What institution?

Rehab Center in Norco

I had a little bit of progressive care unit experience and thats it before I started in Corrections. Your hospital experience will serve you very well. Your ED experience and therefore likely acute psych will be very, very useful. My favorite study topic right now is personality and behavioral disorders. Welcome and best to you in our field!

Loli87, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psych/ER/Correctional nursing. Has 2 years experience.

Welcome to correctional nursing. One of my jobs is in correctional nursing. I work in the crisis stabilization unit and it is quite rewarding and educational. Lots of autonomy in correctional nursing and a slow enough pace at times to learn a lot and research interventions before you implement them. It is not as bad as some may make it seem however, I had an advantage before entering the field. I was a correctional officer/supervisor for 8 years prior to going to nursing school.

stephadler82, BSN

Specializes in operating room, surgical services. Has 7 years experience.

I am thinking of applying to CDCR. I am looking at going into psych and was wondering if you have found the job to be dealing with diagnosed psych patients. How do you like working there?

On 6/5/2021 at 4:20 PM, stephadler82 said:

I am thinking of applying to CDCR. I am looking at going into psych and was wondering if you have found the job to be dealing with diagnosed psych patients. How do you like working there?

I work for CDCR in southern california, the inmates are manipulative, they lie, and they get upset if they don't get what they want.

the work culture is also really bad, everyone that works there are afraid of being sued by inmates. there are so many cases where the state has been sued already and there are very strict protocols and policies that needs to be adhered to as far as documentation and notification of complaints. inmates in the prison have more rights than people outside the prison setting. shocking, but it's true. they might be inmates, but they still have rights.

Nurses don't deal with the psychiatric aspect too much since CDCR has psychiatrist, psychologist, social workers that deal with those stuff. nurses just deal with the medical side of things.

word of advice, you gotta have a lot of independence, autonomy, you gotta have good nursing educational skills to convince these inmates that they are okay and their problem is not critical.

there's also a lot of seniority, so if you're a new nurse, you are the bottom feeder who has to help the nurses with the most seniority. did I mention there are so many bosses to deal with. you have to work 8 hour shift 5x a week, sometimes you get mandated to work 16 hours if there are no coverage. and you won't get weekends off if you're brand new. It's all about seniority.

but who knows, you might end up liking correctional nursing, some people love it. but it's not for me.

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