Jump to content

What is it like to work as an agency nurse in corrections?

Agency   (419 Views 5 Comments)
by Blackcat99 Blackcat99 (Member)

24,773 Visitors; 2,819 Posts

advertisement

I am thinking about working part time with an agency that sends nurses to prisons to work. I was curious as to what it was like as I haven't worked in corrections for 15 years.  Do they give you any kind of orientation or are you suppose to know what to do since you are an agency nurse? Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

3 Followers; 34,148 Visitors; 4,268 Posts

They have to give you some sort of training.  However minimal.

It would be utterly nuts to expect even an experienced nurse to know exactly what to do from the first moment you walked in.

At the very least, you need to be told what are your duties.  Med set up and pass?  Sick call?  Help in Doc's office?  Intake?

Where is emergency medical stuff?  What is the procedure for riots?  Fights?  Phone numbers?  Where's the bathroom?  Where is the cafeteria and what are the hours?  What does food cost?

What keys do you need?  What times are Med Pass and Clinic?  What days to certain things happen?  Like is there a day or 2 per week when the Gyn is there or when patients are taken to specialty clinics outside the prison?

If you are experienced, you likely already know how to be courteous and fair but firm, suspicious of inmates, how not to get yourself into any compromising situations, stuff like that.  Share absolutely not one iota of personal information with anyone, definitely not with inmates.  

If you think someone is innocent, don't go around saying so.  Keep it to yourself or you will have staff thinking you are on the wrong side and inmates might try to take advantage of your bleeding heart.  Fair or not, that's life and work behind bars.  No favors or you'll be labeled an inmate lover. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

214 Visitors; 6 Posts

Are there always guards around when caring for patients? Do you ever feel unsafe in the situation? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

3 Followers; 34,148 Visitors; 4,268 Posts

Where I worked, 3 different jails in different states, absolutely.  Yes I still felt unsafe almost all the time. 

You must always be alert.  You are dealing with some very mentally ill people, some who want to make trouble for you "just because".  They would likely not be in jail if they didn't have some issues. 

There are innocent people in jail, don't get me wrong.  And most inmates have no wish to hurt you, they just want to do their time as peacefully and easily as possible.  Once in a while, you might meet someone who actually thinks he/she deserves to be there.   I think I met 2 in 15 years.

You will likely have only 1 guard and a lot of inmates.  How many people can 1 guard fight off?  1?  2?  Hopefully nothing will ever happen or

back-up guards get there fast, or inmates jump in to help the guard and you if need be, but you must understand that they can't guarantee your safety.

The priorities in jail are:  Officer Safety, getting people to Court, officers going home in 1 piece, a piece that is walking, breathing, normal.  Officers staying out of trouble.  Not letting anyone escape.  Then everything and everyone else.  Meals, Medical, cleaning, laundry, getting inmates to work, and whatever else.  Then civilians' safety.  I am not kidding.  Civilians are last.  Read the Policy Manual. 

I'm not saying Officer Safety is not important.  It is totally important.  Just that it was kind of a shock when I fully realized, during a riot, that my safety was really not as vital to them as their own. 

And the inmates' safety was definitely not as important. 

And Medical care - it's not a hospital.  Sort of like school nursing, summer camp nursing - Med is important but peripheral, not the first priority of teachers or those who run camps - or jails.

It was absolutely drilled into us that we were never to be alone with inmates, especially those of the opposite gender or those with psych issues.  

I always followed the rules, so no one could ever say I didn't.  Oh, they could have, but I made it a point to be humane, courteous, and pretty quiet about my viewpoints on whatever topics people were discussing and definitely about my personal life.   I tried to gain trust and a rep for being decent, and it paid off in never having any c/o from staff or inmates.

Inmates have time to fill. sometimes they do it by digging for info about staff or trying to get you into some sort of compromising situation,  a situation where you owe them. 

Carry a letter to the outside mail box for me.  No.  What is in that letter that you don't want to put it through the regular (censored and inspected) channel?

Deliver a message to my Mom, my brother  for me.  Forget it.  You do it and you will have just crossed the line and now you are in their power.

Give me an extra vitamin.  They sell them to other inmates.

Bring me cigs, candy, money, etc.  Need I say how to respond to that sort of stuff?

I need extra food.  Not from me, tell the CO.   Custody Officer, guard, doctor.  Let them see the Doc if you think it's warranted.  (chewing or swallowing issues, cancer, gastritis, breastfeeding, pregnant, poor wound healing, whatever)

Some nurses are very rude, very mean.  Just say you're sorry, you can't help with that  because YOU will get in trouble if you do what they are asking of you.  And if they persist, tell them you are going to have to report them to the CO and you really don't want to make trouble for them but they have to stop asking you to do something they know you can't do.

OK, that's my epistle.  Sorry to be long-winded, I hope it is helpful.  Good luck with your decision.

I super enjoyed my years working in jails (male, female, minors, adults) and was so glad to be out of the hospital setting.  There are definitely advantages to Correctional Nursing.  You do lose your hospital skills (ICU, for instance) if you don't work occasionally in a 2nd job at a hospital.

But there are also hospitals in jails, prisons.  From Infirmaries where you might have someone with a cast or chicken pox all the way to OR, Recovery, Med-Surg, although likely not as involved as in the hospital.  Fed and State prisons might have the more complex med care settings, even Death Row.

Intake is interesting, too.  Enjoyable.  Officers are supposed to take new arrestees to the ER if they were pregnant, beaten, tackled, bitten, or incurred any other injuries.

  The ER doc has to decide if the arrestee is fit for confinement in a place where there likely is no doc for the majority of the time.  My jails had a doc Monday through Friday for about 4 hours per day.  There was a doc on call, but mostly no doc present.  

The officers don't like to have to sit around the ER for several hours, so some officers try sometimes to not take arrestees there if they think they can avoid it. 

Intake RN must do VS, visual assessment head to toe, get history as best you can - some people are very angry and uncooperative, you do what you can - and make a determination as to the arrestees's fitness for confinement - even if ER doc cleared the person.  Mistakes can happen, things can be missed.  But they will teach you that.

If you find someone unfit, you tell the officers you can't accept the person and get them to take him to the ER.  Cover yourself always.  No one else will.  Nice but firm.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

3 Followers; 34,148 Visitors; 4,268 Posts

18 minutes ago, Kooky Korky said:

Where I worked, 3 different jails in different states, absolutely always a guard present.  Yes I still felt a certain degree of unsafe almost all the time.  Call it heightened awareness.

You must always be alert.  You are dealing with some very mentally ill people, some who want to make trouble for you "just because".  They would likely not be in jail if they didn't have some issues. 

There are innocent people in jail, don't get me wrong.  And most inmates have no wish to hurt you, they just want to do their time as peacefully and easily as possible.  Once in a while, you might meet someone who actually thinks he/she deserves to be there.   I think I met 2 in 15 years.

You will likely have only 1 guard and a lot of inmates.  How many people can 1 guard fight off?  1?  2?  Hopefully nothing will ever happen or

back-up guards get there fast, or inmates jump in to help the guard and you if need be, but you must understand that they can't guarantee your safety.

The priorities in jail are:  Officer Safety, getting people to Court, officers going home in 1 piece, a piece that is walking, breathing, normal.  Officers staying out of trouble.  Not letting anyone escape.  Then everything and everyone else.  Meals, Medical, cleaning, laundry, getting inmates to work, and whatever else.  Then civilians' safety.  I am not kidding.  Civilians are last.  Read the Policy Manual. 

I'm not saying Officer Safety is not important.  It is totally important.  Just that it was kind of a shock when I fully realized, during a riot, that my safety was really not as vital to them as their own. 

And the inmates' safety was definitely not as important. 

And Medical care - it's not a hospital.  Sort of like school nursing, summer camp nursing - Med is important but peripheral, not the first priority of teachers or those who run camps - or jails.

It was absolutely drilled into us that we were never to be alone with inmates, especially those of the opposite gender or those with psych issues.  

I always followed the rules, so no one could ever say I didn't.  Oh, they could have, but I made it a point to be humane, courteous, and pretty quiet about my viewpoints on whatever topics people were discussing and definitely about my personal life.   I tried to gain trust and a rep for being decent, and it paid off in never having any c/o from staff or inmates.

Inmates have time to fill. sometimes they do it by digging for info about staff or trying to get you into some sort of compromising situation,  a situation where you owe them. 

Carry a letter to the outside mail box for me.  No.  What is in that letter that you don't want to put it through the regular (censored and inspected) channel?

Deliver a message to my Mom, my brother  for me.  Forget it.  You do it and you will have just crossed the line and now you are in their power.

Give me an extra vitamin.  They sell them to other inmates.

Bring me cigs, candy, money, etc.  Need I say how to respond to that sort of stuff?

I need extra food.  Not from me, tell the CO.   Custody Officer, guard, doctor.  Let them see the Doc if you think it's warranted.  (chewing or swallowing issues, cancer, gastritis, breastfeeding, pregnant, poor wound healing, whatever)

Some nurses are very rude, very mean.  Just say you're sorry, you can't help with that  because YOU will get in trouble if you do what they are asking of you.  "You don't want me to get in trouble, do you, Mr. Inmate?"
And if they persist, tell them you are going to have to report them to the CO and you really don't want to make trouble for them but they have to stop asking you to do something they know you can't do.

OK, that's my epistle.  Sorry to be long-winded, I hope it is helpful.  Good luck with your decision.

I super enjoyed my years working in jails (male, female, minors, adults) and was so glad to be out of the hospital setting.  There are definitely advantages to Correctional Nursing.  You do lose your hospital skills (ICU, for instance) if you don't work occasionally in a 2nd job at a hospital.

But there are also hospitals in jails, prisons.  From Infirmaries where you might have someone with a cast or chicken pox all the way to OR, Recovery, Dialysis, Med-Surg, although likely not as involved as in the hospital.  Fed and State prisons might have the more complex med care settings, even Death Row.

Intake is interesting, too.  Enjoyable.  Officers are supposed to take new arrestees to the ER if they were pregnant, beaten, tackled, bitten, or incurred any other injuries.

  The ER doc has to decide if the arrestee is fit for confinement in a place where there likely is no doc for the majority of the time.  My jails had a doc Monday through Friday for about 4 hours per day.  There was a doc on call, but mostly no doc present.  

The officers don't like to have to sit around the ER for several hours, so some officers try sometimes to not take arrestees there if they think they can avoid it. 

Intake RN must do VS, visual assessment head to toe, get history as best you can - some people are very angry and uncooperative, you do what you can - and make a determination as to the arrestee's fitness for confinement - even if ER doc cleared the person.  Mistakes can happen, things can be missed.  But they will teach you that.

If you find someone unfit, you tell the officers you can't accept the person and get them to take him to the ER.  Cover yourself always.  No one else will.  Nice but firm.

Hey, good luck.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Recently Browsing 0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×