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Signs you are a Correctional Nurse:


Has 2 years experience.

You get out of the car at the grocery store and shake yourself down for personal contraband before going in so as not to violate facility regulations.

You stand at your own front door, ring the bell, and wait for Master Control to let you in.

You tell your friend to "drop me a kite" when you want them to contact you later.

You count your sharps and check to be sure your thermometer batteries haven't been stolen.

You are entirely comfortable with not having a cell phone on you during working hours

You use the term "On the Outs" to mean the free world.

You look at a stain on your clothes and wonder if it is blood, feces or taco sauce.

You watch the local news to find out who you will be seeing at work tomorrow.

You know that, "I slipped in the shower", "I fell off my bunk", and "I got hit playing basketball" all mean the same thing: "I got my rear-end handed to me."

You get nervous when someone is behind you.

You've seen a man with breasts wearing "Daisy Duke" shorts beat the heck out of three guys at the same time.

You can eat soup with a spork

You can actually read and understand an inmate's illiterate attempt at written requests. "I need a bace for my wrisit" or "I have sea roaches of the liver"

You can be told by three different people in the same morning that they had been hit upside the head with a baseball bat recently.

You believe 20% of what you hear and 50% of what you see.

The thought had crossed your mind to hold a seminar called "Suicide....Getting it Right the First Time"

You know that anyone willing to tuck things inside their rectum for easy transport is dangerous.

OrganizedChaos, LVN

Specializes in M/S, LTC, Corrections, PDN & drug rehab. Has 10 years experience.

Hahahahaha! Oh how I miss working in corrections! I miss reading sick calls & trying to figure out what they mean.


Specializes in ortho, hospice volunteer, psych,. Has 20 years experience.

My husband taught in a maximum security prison as a part of his graduate program. I just asked what he remembers most.

Taking almost everything out of his pockets before he left home.

Waiting to be buzzed in when he came back home.

The VOLUME of what seemed like every single radio or tv in the entire

place was on TOP volume.

Never turning his back on any inmate. Ever!

The overwhelming stench that attached itself to everyone and everything

prison-connected. Her says it MADE him barf before and after.

To end on a more upbeat note, he received a thank you note from a pardoned inmate who had been on death row almost two decades before

when my husband had taught him to read. He sent it to the university and

eventually it found us here.

Edited by sharpeimom


Has 2 years experience.

Our facility is very clean. The only smell I get is very early in the morning when I go for roundss in the units and the guys aren't up and showered yet.

40% of the inmates--when I use an alcohol wipe before giving the TB test, the swab comes back dark brown. This is after they've been in the facility at least a week.

mikethemurse, BSN, RN

Has 6 years experience.

This is great! Here are a couple more:

you stand in an elevator wating for master control to send you where you need to go

you can tell a b.s. Chest pain, seizure, before they even walk into the infirmary

O.C. spray no longer makes you cry, in fact you have thought of using it as a seasoning when you run out of hot sause

jail/prison-isms have even entered the vocabulary of your friends and family: my fave this week is I'm Goochi (spelled as pronounced) for I'm good.

love the one about watching the news, so true!

I'm sure there are more keep them coming!

holy haha that is crazy!!!!!!

What have you heard about working at Donovan? Good, bad, horrible?

I've been in corrections for just under a year, and my observations are:

You know that the ones who look meek and mild are often the most dangerous, and the ones who look really scary and dangerous are often the biggest whiny babies.

You are glad to find scrubs that look plain, rather than attractive.

brandy1017, ASN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care.

I especially like "you watch the local news to find out who you will be seeing at work tomorrow"! A coworker said you have to have really good assessment skills to get to the truth of the matter and another coworker did a clinical at a prison for her NP and said it gave her great real world experience and the chance to manage patient's health like BP control. We occasionally get a prisoner at the hospital that is chained to the bed with the police at their bedside. Luckily they always behaved themselves and there were no problems. I wouldn't want to deal with the clientele and all the catcalls you deal with in prison, but I hear it's good money!


Specializes in Cardiac, ER, Pediatrics, Corrections.

OrganizedChaos..our cats are twins! Haha


Has 2 years experience.

I expected it to be very noisy and for there to be catcalls but have seen none of that at all. If the CO is running the pod by the book, that kind of thing is not tolerated


Has 2 years experience.

You think “alert and an *******” is a reasonable and appropriate assessment

You know that the phrase “Hey nurse, I’m in excruciating pain” means “I’m lying to you so I can get something. Best case: opiates but I’ll settle for a bottom bunk or extra blanket”.

When you use an alcohol wipe before giving an injection, the swab comes back dark brown 50% of the time

All your patients WANT to be diabetic so they can get an afternoon/HS snack

You can tell a B.S. Chest pain or seizure before they even walk into the infirmary

You are regularly consulted on how to beat a drug screen, even though you never answer this question.

You are an expert on getting a complete assessment through an 18 x 6 inch food port.

All your patients wear orange.


Specializes in nurseline,med surg, PD. Has 50+ years experience.

I will be starting a job in corrections shortly. I've figured out that I don't want to be attractive, but, do I wear makeup or nail polish? thanks


Has 2 years experience.

I wear professional make up but no nail polish. But that is just a personal choice. Whatever you do, they will notice any change. I went from all black lace up gym shoes to all black velcro-close gym shoes and one of the inmates commented on it. They know what weekend I colored my hair and when I get a new scrub top.

proudauntie415, LPN, RN

Specializes in Corrections. Has 15 years experience.

I just love this post. I can tell you have been there awhile as well. I was so naive when I started, I mean I'm not cold and nurse ratchet now. I remind myself I am a nurse and advocate...but will not tolerate disrespect.

Is there a study guide and sample questions for the ACA certification test for nurses? CCN/M certification?

If so, where can I find it?


Specializes in Corrections, Psych, Public Health. Has 8 years experience.

This is freaking awesome!!

You know what "prison purse" means