Corrections Nurse: What Do They Do? · The Gypsy Nurse

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By AB Staffing Solutions

January 23, 2023



What Does a Corrections Nurse Do and How Do You Become One?

AB Staffing Solutions provided this article.

As a corrections nurse, you provide healthcare to a portion of the 2.1 million inmates in correctional institutions. Often there are only a handful of medical professionals and limited supplies. As a nurse, you will need to be able to assess patients and handle their needs with whatever you have on hand. In some cases, they will need to be stabilized for transport for care at a hospital.

As a corrections nurse, be prepared for anything from communicable diseases and traumatic injuries to mental health management and basic healthcare. You may also be providing care to staff, though that is not always the case, and may be supervising nursing assistants in the treatment of inmate ailments and injuries.

You may think that this environment isn’t safe, but that’s not what nurses say. Security measures are taken from when you enter the parking area to when you enter the facility and when you’re working with patients. When working with the most dangerous prisoners, they will have security assigned to them. This personnel stays with the prisoner throughout the medical process, so you’re safe with whomever you work with.

The patients are appreciative of the time and care you take with them. Some haven’t had medical attention in a long time, if ever, and may have come from living on the streets or in deplorable conditions. You will be treating any number of conditions, including tuberculosis and other respiratory issues and infections from lack of dental care. It’s challenging but rewarding work.

What traits does a corrections nurse have?

In this position, you will need to be able to work collaboratively with others using limited supplies, making the most of what you have on hand. Other traits include communication skills, patience, empathy, and interpersonal skills. Communication with inmates can be challenging depending on the circumstance and type of prison in which you work.

When you are interviewed for this position, you may be asked questions like:

  • How does your experience pertain to this contract?
  • What characteristics do you have that will make this a successful contract?
  • Why do you want to work on this particular contract?
  • What do you like/ dislike about corrections?
  • How do you handle pressure and stress as an RN/LPN in a locked facility?

Prepare your answers and update your resume well ahead of the interview. It will go a long way in making you stand out as a great candidate for the job.

What types of nurses work in corrections?

Experienced nurses are needed to manage the work of a nurse in a prison. That is for the protection and safety of other nurses, inmates, and staff at the facility. As a corrections nurse, you will be required to have completed RN or LPN, have a few years of experience, and complete a Basic Life Support (BLS) exam to be considered.

If you have forensic psychology experience, that is a plus for this job. If you think you’d like to enter this specialty, we suggest trying a corrections contract by connecting with a local prison or county jail in your area. Ask if they are accepting PRN or short-term contracts.

As an RN or LPN, we know you have a lot of choices of where to work, and serving this unique population may not have been on your list, but you are needed as much here as anywhere else there are nursing opportunities.

What kind of work will you do?

The type of work will vary depending on the facility. You will likely be the first point of contact to perform intake exams, administer medication, and determine whether further care is needed from a specialist. You may also assess the patient’s mental health and chronic conditions to determine if they need additional care.

You may be working with a population of 100 inmates or as many as 1,000 inmates, maximum- or minimum-security prisons, or even juvenile detention centers.

Can you be a corrections travel nurse?

YES! There are corrections RN and LPN positions in states all across the country. Check our Job Board for the complete current list of opportunities.

While working in this specialty can be challenging, it can, as with any nursing specialty, also be rewarding. We look forward to exploring this option with you. Contact us today to learn more.

Our job board is a great place to search for your next travel nurse assignment. We have you covered with our housing page if housing is an issue. You can search for what you are looking for.

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