Thursday, October 3, 2019

Correctional Nursing

Most people wonder how in the world I ended up being an RN in a Jail.

Well, first off, I never dreamed of being a nurse in the first place, I got into the profession out of necessity when my kids were just wee babes. I started out as a CNA and just moved my way up from there for financial and peace of mind reasons, and now I LOVE IT!! I tried nursing in nursing homes, in home care and hospital - all of which I loathed. Correctional Nursing is my niche.

I've always been a bit of a rebel - and I love the atypical style of nursing that happens in corrections. First off, in my experience, the inmates treat nursing staff with reverence - unlike in a hospital, in home or nursing home setting where the patients treat nurses like their help. Second, correctional nursing is all about Emergency and Mental Health help at least 70% of the time (I'm kind of an adrenaline junkie in that way).
Plus - um... awesomely gross abscesses, weird or undiagnosed health issues and the hint of danger every single day!

One of the most frequent questions I get when I tell people I am a Correctional RN is “How can you stand to take care of (insert terrible, unspeakable crime here)?” Well, I don't think about it... or try not to to maintain a sense of partiality. It’s easy for me to compartmentalize. My personal beliefs aside, there is a job to be done here.

I am fortunate enough to work for a county jail, meaning I get people right after arrest and before they are sentenced of any crime 99% of the time. The inmates I see on a daily basis are either awaiting sentencing, serving out a county sentence or waiting to be transported to a prison facility.

So, in effect, partiality is easier for me to have and use within my particular job duties as every person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

In all my years, I have taken care of a few ‘newsworthy’ inmates, for instance I was a nurse at a facility where Charles Rowan was held before being transported to prison – Here is a video on him from HLN....

He was an interesting character, to say the least.

I was also a nurse on staff at a facility where Anthony Ostrander was being held before being taken to prison – you can read about his crime(s) here:

This kid was a riot in jail, he was always cracking jokes.

Want to hear more about newsworthy inmates? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. Is it safe to work in a jail or prison? After all, the patients are criminals, right?

  2. Great question Sandy! The answer is a resounding Yes AND No :) There are MANY rules that staff (both medical and correctional) have to abide by to help ensure that we all stay safe through out the day. It is because of these rules and the diligent watchful awareness that the answer is Yes, it is safe - BUT there is always the chance that an inmate, for whatever reason, will decide to harm a staff member.