What Does a Correctional Facility Nurse Do?
Correctional facility nurses provide care and medical support for inmates of correctional facilities like prisons, juvenile homes, jails and penitentiaries. They specialize in acute care like trauma and influenza. They must also address and be prepared to treat chronic health problems like AIDS, substance abuse, mental illness, renal failure and dialysis, respiratory disease and terminal cancer, as well as other infectious diseases like TB and hepatitis. Unfortunately many inmates have complicated or unknown medical histories, which makes the nurses’ jobs even more challenging. Correctional facility nurses also have the unique ability to choose which population they work with, from adults to youths and in different patient care settings. But because of the environment, it is important for all correctional facility nurses to project an aura of confidence. Some inmates might interpret shyness or insecurity as weakness and take advantage of those nurses.
How Can I Become a Correctional Facility Nurse?
The basic requirements for becoming a correctional facility nurse differ depending on the state and the facility hiring. Most require that a nurse hold an RN/BSN nursing degree from an accredited university and have at least 1-2 years of previous experience as a registered nurse. Also, the majority of facilities prefer nurses to be certified as a correctional nurse. To be eligible for the certification exam, one must possess a valid RN, LPN or LVN license and at least one year of experience in a correctional nursing position. After passing the exam with a score of 75% or better, that nurse is then a Certified Correctional Nurse (CCN). Prior to employment at a correctional facility, nurses must be subject to extensive back ground checks. Upon employment, nurses are required to pass through a metal detector each day, have their personal items checked and then do an exhaustive inventory of all narcotics and instruments inside their ward.
What Is the Career and Salary Outlook for a Correctional Facility Nurse?
Nurses in correctional facilities enjoy many perks, including professional freedom and job security, higher salaries than their peers, impressive benefits packages and faster tacks to management positions. Because there are prior misgivings about working in a correctional center, many have increased their compensation offerings to entice health care providers into employment. One of the main benefits of working as a correctional facility nurse is the difference one can make in the life of an inmate. There are inmates in the correctional system that have never received proper health care prior to becoming incarcerated and appreciate the time and effort those nurses spend with them. There are several drawbacks to this type of nursing, including lack of trust between inmate patient and nurse, as well as an abundance of bureaucratic red tape to work within. Overall, the employment outlook for correctional facility nurses is very positive and is expected to continue to grow in the coming years.