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Too much to start traveling and trying corrections at the same time?

Hey guys! I am planning to move from VA to NC some time in the next 3-5 months. I've been looking at hospitals in the area I'm planning to move to, but I'm not very excited because I'm starting to get a little bit of burnout in the hospital environment. I've looked into travel nursing because my boyfriend is in the military and by working through a travel nursing agency, I thought that if he goes on a deployment I can look for assignments in areas with family or friends while he's gone instead of staying in NC alone waiting for him to get back just to keep a job. I also want the flexibility of travel nursing because I plan on working on my bachelors degree.

The part where corrections comes in: I found many assignments to work in a correctional facility about 30 minutes away from where i plan to move. I currently have 2 1/2 years hospital experience in the resource pool at my hospital, which includes a mix of med-surg, telemetry, PCU, and some ICU experience, though I really only take ICU patients that are intubated mouth care, turns, maybe a couple drips, never the "crashing" patients. I understand that with travel assignments there is no time for a lengthy orientation as contracts are typically 13 weeks at a time. Would it be too much to try to take on a corrections position without any previous experience or would the experience I have be enough with the short orientation period?

For those of you who work with travelers, how do they typically do? Is it a pain when someone new comes in without any experience? What could I do to better prepare and not be a burden, but a productive team member?

I really, really want to try something new and am looking forward to new experiences, and I like that travel nursing gives you the opportunity to "try" things without the commitment of a company hiring you, and then feeling as though you are letting them down if it doesn't turn out to be right for you. At the same time, I don't want to be a disappointment or put people at a disadvantage by taking on a position where I don't have specific experience in that field. However, I am a quick learner and enthusiastic so I hope that will help.

Any advice anyone can offer would be very much appreciated!

valzRN, ASN, RN

Has 20 years experience. Specializes in LTC, Correctional Nursing.

I can't speak for the travel nursing, as I have not done that. I have worked for agencies and the one that I worked for was pretty good about keeping me busy. If I were you I would really look into the credibility of the agency if you plan to travel. Don't be afraid to ask questions because the worse thing that can happen is you take an assignment and it's nothing like you thought it would be. Be sure of the things that they pay for and what you are responsible for. (ie... room and board, food, transportation...) I had a friend get stung on that...

As far as corrections... to be honest with you, it's not for everyone. You really have to have a different attitude to be able to work in a jail or prison. You have to be a person that is strictly "by the rules" because if you aren't, you are taking a chance on getting hurt. These people are not locked up for holding their halo too high if you know what I mean. You can't take them at their word because most of the time they are lying / manipulating you to get what they want. It's just a different kind of nursing. You can still be compassionate, but you have to be careful because you don't want to be labeled at "inmate friendly." Not to mention, the inmates do prey on the weak... Where I am, there is a high turnover because nurses come in here thinking that it's one thing and when they see what it's really about, they high tale it in the opposite direction. It's definately not for the "faint at heart." It really does take a special person to work in a correctional environment. Just remember one thing, it's not the patient that comes first, it's safety and security. That's always #1.


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