Reply To: Any other "well seasoned" corrections nurses out there?

Home Forums Nurse to Nurse Advice Any other "well seasoned" corrections nurses out there? Reply To: Any other "well seasoned" corrections nurses out there?


Working in corrections takes a strong person; i did it for many years. Everyone has a sense of entitlement… My own mantra when working in corrections was to give them professional, courteous care; they didn’t get the ‘niceties’ so to speak. They weren’t my friends, they weren’t patients that I wanted to get to know better, i didn’t care what they did or why they were there – that wasn’t my concern. I was there to meet their medical needs, period.

When i worked in a state prison, most of the other nurses had corrections experience and understood how things were; it was when nurses without any experience were hired that we ran into problems; we called them the ‘social workers’ (no offense to SW, but it is just a different training and mentality). They were the ones who wanted to baby the inmates and be their friend; that just doesn’t work and let’s just say trouble always ensued and those types of personality ended up involved w/ inmates (yes, I worked with at least 3 nurses who had affairs w/ inmates who were fired and the entire incident was covered up).

In addition to working in a state facilty, i worked in a county jail, which was a completely different ballgame, but as a nurse, i learned and adapted to the differences of having people right off the street. The most frustrating thing about this facility – when they opened this dept – they hired all new nurses off of the street and basically I was the only one w/ experience in corrections. That is all well and good, but the thing these nurses didn’t get was not needing to know about why someone was in. In a county jail, you see it all, murderers, rapists, etc. right off the street and they wanted to know what EVERYONE was in for. I found it unprofessional and unnerving, because when you do KNOW, it can change you perception. I don’t want to know that the person whose blood i’m drawing, just killed his girlfriend. I don’t need to know that. Sorry, i’m rambling. Overall, i did enjoy working in the corrections field; I found that I did a lot of patient education and I liked that.

I think the biggest things to know about when you work in a corrections setting – 1) Work w/ the corrections officers to accomplish your goals in the safest, best way (sometimes you have to compromise and think outside the box to get it done), they are your friend and your protector; don’t get on their bad side. Medical dept and Corrections usually butt heads; you can overcome that by compromising and seeing their side of things and working with it. 2) Treat the inmates professionally and w/ respect, but remember, they are not your friends; never get friendly or drawn in; they are major manipulators 3) Trust your skills – if a guy is telling you he can’t breathe and he’s having an asthma attack and your assessment proves otherwise – call him on it – it’s ok, really. 4) Don’t ask what they are in for; no matter how much you think you can handle the truth; you just might find otherwise. If you need to know something due to security risk, then you will be told for your protection, otherwise, it is of no concern.
Sorry this got so long, i guess I had alot to say! 🙂

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