I figured being a native New Yorker this would be a cake walk! Working in a jail or a prison is not a cake walk, but it is an education within itself. You can learn a lot about how people think and the manipulative things that actually happen in everyday encounters.
You have to constantly be on your toes and at any given time any medical situation can occur calling on you to have refined clinical skills at the drop of a hat!
Correctional nursing is no different from any other field of nursing in the sense that you have to have a level of compassion for other human beings except in this case I don't want to know your story of how you got here. That in itself keeps me from being judgmental and altering my capabilities to be a good care provider.
My path through nursing has taken me to places I never expected, I have gained experiences and wisdom that are invaluable and have only made me more passionate about nursing. Nursing is by no means pretty, you see every type of body fluid, injury and illness known to man. You perform treatments and procedures that others only see on T.V or read about in a book. You work long hours and these hours can be unpredictable at times. Sometimes the pay is lousy and who can forget our eating and sleeping habits!
I have often been told I am misguided in regards to how I feel about nursing even if I am very realistic about it, but I became a nurse because I love others and no other career gives me the opportunity to be as close to others in their most difficult time of need. When a person is ill they are their most vulnerable, often times we mistake their anger when its really fear they are feeling.
We sometimes forget that even the smallest measure of heartfelt goodness can go a long way to help that person. I feel passionate about nursing, at times I still get teary eyed and feel that overwhelming sensation of pride at being chosen for this career.
My only hope is that others coming into nursing do so for the right reasons and those who are already in nursing that have lost that passion find some small measure of self containment and not speak discouraging words to those who will compliment the field, but speak words which will strengthen them.
What I have found in my career as a nurse is that you have to stay fresh and not get comfortable. Never take your career for granted, (not everyone can do what we do) and always try to place yourself in your patients shoes, the feeling of having no control of your situation is a very difficult one!
You need to constantly be learning in this ever changing field that we are in, because learning will help make you a better provider. Always practice like you just graduated nursing school and that means tread carefully and mindfully and never be too proud to ask for help when you don't know something.
Never be afraid to show your patients that you too are only human, don't feel bad if you hold their hand or cry with them, there is no shame in those human actions that is what makes us unique. My best and last piece of advice is to vacation often, I find it is a necessity rather than a luxury!
I still have an adventurous nature, I still scuba dive and travel as often as I can partly because it keeps me feeling recharged, mostly because it allows me to relax considering what I do for a living and it helps me to heal my mind and spirit so I can return to my patients and coworkers with a renewed sense. I feel that the best gift you can give to yourself and to others is to never harm another human and I believe these things I have described are a good beginning to a great career!