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katkonk BSN, RN

Occupational health, Corrections, PACU

Have been exclusively in Occ Health for the past five years, and at this point I don't forsee going back to any type of nursing other than Occ Health. Never say never...but..

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katkonk has 25 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Occupational health, Corrections, PACU.

Love Occupational Health.  It is the only field of nursing where I didn't feel like I was just passing through.  I know I've saved a few lives along the way in Occ Health, and that always feels good.  Not like in acute care, where all that matters is "right now", but knowing that you are helping people both in the moment, the immediate future and for the rest of their lives.  Teach, teach and teach some more.

katkonk's Latest Activity

  1. katkonk

    ABOHN CSAT now $50 and two volumes?

    I would have to agree with you. Put the fifty dollars toward a good review course! I cannot even fathom paying that much for, as you said, a pdf. nope, nope, nope.
  2. katkonk

    ABOHN CSAT now $50 and two volumes?

    You say that you took a review course and it didn't help. I am a long time COHN-S, so my questions are just out of curiosity. Which review course did you take? If you have been working and have your CAOHC and NIOSH certifications and have experience with Respirator Fit testing, that will help immensely. I did not have those courses and only limited exposure to the knowledge base involved with those when I took the test. But I went to two review courses, and by far the best was the one given by Bonnie Roger's group out of North Carolina. If you are nervous about passing at all, I highly recommend the North Carolina group that is affiliated with Dr. Rogers. Good luck on the test!
  3. katkonk

    What do you do?

    This has resulted in a very good discussion. Agree with all the posters above except the paramedic who worked someplace handing out bandaids and ibuprofen. I have had a wide range of experience in the Occ Health world, and as pointed out before, it really depends on the type of company and type of facility that you work for. My guess is if it is a summer time job only, it may be a "peak season" type job for their company. For instance, I have seen jobs posted only for 8 weeks to serve migrant farm workers in the field while they pick--whatever. Or it could be to fill a shift for a nurse that is on maternity leave. I agree with the above poster that said "Go for it!", although with the caveat, be absolutely sure that you feel confident in your skills enough to respond to critical situations; i.e. seizures, chest pain, allergic reactions. It will be interesting for you, but I will say, there are many experienced nurses out there looking for work, so you may have some pretty tough competition. Personally, I feel the very best way to find out what a particular type of nurse does, is to survey job ads. Go to indeed.com or careerbuilder and type in "occupational health nurse" in your search. Be sure to use the quotation marks, or you will be weeding through lots of occupational therapist job openings. It never hurts to apply for anything. Best of luck in your job searches.
  4. katkonk

    San Quentin Scrubs

    This is absolutely correct. You need shoes you can run well in, for whatever reason. OOOPS...sorry, just realized this was a very old posting. Well, I hope your SQ position turned out well. :)
  5. katkonk

    Safety of Jail Rn with no deputys or guards?

    Understood...the proverbial "rock and the hard place". Just be sure and document, in writing, each date and time you complained and voiced concerns about the risk you are taking by being by yourself. If you choose to stay, then you ARE at risk. If you ever are assaulted, then you have documentation to provide an attorney to say that you noted and shared your concerns and no action was taken. Document who you spoke with, the date, the time, what their response was, etc. Meanwhile, quietly keep shopping for another job. Good luck with everything.
  6. katkonk

    got fired/got hired, but confidence shaken

    Definitely not alone....been there...done that. You just pick up and go on. But didn't it feel good when you finally walked out the door and knew you didn't have to go back?
  7. katkonk

    3 Interviews then no call?

    I would consider it a done deal, since they have not called you back, in spite of a voice mail you left. Move on. May I suggest a case management job, since you are burnt out on direct care? Case management is always looking for experienced clinical nurses, and it gets you away and working independently for a while. Not a bad life until you decide you want to do something else. Some nurses stay in it, once in, and enjoy the relative autonomy and usually M-F hours.
  8. katkonk

    Thoughts on First Week

    Oh my....LOL... Unless your state is VASTLY different than ours, you cannot just "call up and request a tour of the facility". These are facilities with murderers and violent gang members, not to mention the other large group that are sexual offenders/child molesters. You have to go through a stringent background check before they will let you in, which is done post-offer. People cannot simply "drop in" for a visit. And when you do go in for an interview, you will need to leave your purse, cell phone and most other things in the car (sorry, I do not know if you are male or female). And you will receive a pat-down search before entering. At our prisons, even permanent medical staff and all correctional officers are patted down and searched after going through a metal detector, each and every morning when reporting to work. It is part of the routine.
  9. katkonk

    Drug Test & IV Therapy

    I do drug testing. You are not allowed to "tell" anyone what you are taking before or during the drug test. The collector is only the collector. It is not like when, many years ago, you could "declare" what you were on. Now, you simply do the drug test, if something shows positive, you will be called by the MRO (medical review officer), and he/she will ask you questions about what they need info on. That is the only person you will need to tell anything to. Drug testing protocol and procedure is a set standard, and it does not vary from place to place.
  10. katkonk

    New Grad Med Surg or PACU?

    I think you clearly made the right choice. Med/Surg will definitely help you in graduate studies more. You don't have to do it forever, just long enough to get through school. PACU is very narrowly focused, and you don't get into the medical issues with the patients. You stabilize and move as quickly as possible if going to ICU or the floor, or d/c them as quickly as possible if they are outpatient. There is no doubt you will know you made the right choice on the MS floor. Plus, it will allow you to get to the NP status more quickly as well. Good luck!
  11. katkonk

    Thoughts on First Week

    Kansas, Excellent observations and well written. Everyone will have their opinion, but let's see if I can answer a few. Re: insulin line, yes that is how it is done. You must be very careful, check and double check, because it is only you. However it is done thousands of times a day with just one nurse throughout the U.S. I never saw an insulin dose-related incident while working in corrections. However, I had my doubts about some of the reports from the inmates about feeling bad after insulin, etc. and the method of injection by the nurse. I saw many poor nursing skills in corrections by nurses who had nothing but contempt for inmates. I would watch them jab the needles straight in and sometimes I was certain that it was being given IM, but no one seemed to care, and I was "just agency". However, it was my experience that the inmates would watch you very closely and they would catch any mistakes before you could make them. It helps to identify one of the bottles by always making sure there is a recognizable difference. For instance, I always put a rubber band around the 70/30 bottle. You will do just fine, you just always have to be alert and precise. Tell your husband that it is safer on a bad day than the ER is on a regular day. No tripped out, coked-up junkies breaking restraints and taking a swing at you. Bad boys come in, in full leg irons and cuffs. Or at least cuffs, and escorted. For the rest, there should always be a c/o within easy reach. Seg is always weird, but you will habituate to it. If it doesn't feel weird, then I would worry. Re: security-there was always a c/o presence at the clinic entrance, making sure that the inmates either had an appointment or a real reason for being there. They would not let just anyone walk in. Your situation may vary, are you behind glass, or is the desk open? I have to leave this to other posters for their opinion and experience. Re: #6 Well...as I mentioned, I saw some really BAD nursing while I was working in corrections. I found that the bad nurses really don't like a good nurse, especially one that has more education and real skills to come in and make them look bad (which is easy to do, sometimes just by doing your job). The good nurses will applaud and welcome you. Get used to seeing inmates treated like dirt by some of the other nurses and staff. It goes with the territory, so all you can do is be professional. Re: not feeling scared...I did not feel scared in all the units I worked in. I only had an inmate act as if she would hit me once, and the c/o quickly put her in her place. I dealt mostly with men though, and felt comfortable. You are right, some seem like SUCH nice guys, but we are seeing them drug-free and without the problems they had in the free world. Beware though, because it will shock you when that first really nice guy that you learn to "like" tries to steal a syringe, or something else. They will try to manipulate you, and at first you won't even know you are being played...but it is all part of the process. Enjoy your job! You like it, and it seems good fit.
  12. katkonk

    Safety of Jail Rn with no deputys or guards?

    I agree with others, this is totally unacceptable, even if another poster said it was routine where he/she worked. Nurses are NOT correctional officers, and are viewed as more vulnerable. I would not risk my life for any job, any where. I understand the considerations of needing an income and a tight job market, and the fact that you may like your job there (except for this MAJOR consideration of being by yourself). I would take it up the chain of command, if no satisfaction and you really still want to stay, I would write a senator/congressman and explain the situation. Our elected officials can have some influence when they call a warden and ask some questions. Of course, this may put you on their you-know-what list, and then you may have trouble, but whoever follows you might not! If you cannot get a remedy for this situation quickly, resign and report it so that hopefully they will be forced to correct the situation before the next poor soul that works there has to do the same.
  13. katkonk


    Hmmm...I am wondering whether you meant sick calls by staff, or by inmates. Anyway, while handwashing is very important, the cold and flu viruses are spread by air droplets, and everyone throughout the nation is sick right now. This means visitors, c/o's, everyone is helping to bring this bad bug inside now. Re: whether to wear gloves on med pass or not, some do, some do not, but not a bad idea, if your hands do not get too sweaty in the period of time it takes to do medpass. Re: them refusing their meds-well, they are just yanking your chain. They will seize upon anything to have an excuse to buck authority, including refusing meds.
  14. The registry (agency) nurses make more, because it is a contract position with no benefits. It is the same as working any place else through an agency...agency nurses always make more because they do not have insurance, vacation, holidays, etc. unless it is offered by their agency. For the institution that needs the help, the trade off is that agency nurses are used prn, so they do not bear the burden of providing work on days when it is not needed, or all the overhead that any employer faces-paying part of the taxes, insurance, paid time off, etc. Therefore they pay more through an agency.
  15. katkonk

    Oh Crap I Just Lied On My Application

    My question is how would they know you were dismissed from the school, as opposed to you just leaving?