A Hidden Gem
Correctional healthcare is a hidden gem. If you want to widen your scope of practice as a nurse and you are confident in your assessment skills, this may be a specialty you would enjoy. I would suggest knowing the difference between jails and prisons is essential to understanding which culture is the best fit for you.
Both correctional facilities often treat patients who may not have had access to healthcare or who haven’t wanted treatment. In my experience, jails are short-term and have a revolving door for new and old inmates who need more temporary and short-term care.
A Peek Behind the Bars
With more than 2.2 million people currently incarcerated in our nation’s prison and jail system, there is a growing need for qualified medical professionals that are able to support this undeserved population. While not the right assignment for every nurse, those that choose to pursue a career in this unique healthcare environment will experience a host of benefits not readily available in more traditional healthcare settings. Keep reading to learn more about the advantages of a correctional nursing career and to determine if this career path is the right fit for you.
Correctional nurses are the face of healthcare within the corrections environment. In many cases, they serve as the gatekeeper to physicians and other medical services. From an initial assessment of a patient’s needs to developing a treatment plan (in consultation with a doctor), nurses are the primary (and sometimes only) healthcare provider that patients will have access to for their medical needs. Thus correctional nursing provides clinicians with an opportunity to utilize the full range of their clinical expertise (within a provider’s discretion) to support the health and safety of the inmates.
Correctional Nursing Benefit: Use the full range of your medical knowledge