5 Mistakes New Correctional Nurses Make
By: American Nurses Association
We all know nursing is hard. It is riddled with stress, pain, tension, and emotion. These difficulties become even more challenging when nurses are working in an environment that provides additional obstacles, such as bars, security, and additional procedures. Below are 5 common mistakes new Correctional Nurses make when entering these strict professional minefields.
Adhering to Security Procedures
The truth is, correctional nurses are subjected to more security measures than almost any other working environment that they may have worked in, including ER’s and mental health units. This can be appealing for nurses who are looking for a safe and secure environment to work in. That said, nurses must also understand the additional security procedures and be sure to follow them. These measures may take a bit more time to work through as well as add a bit more to remember to their daily shift. These measures can include letting others know before heading to a different area, and/or traveling with another person to a different location in the building for security’s sake.
Dealing Professionally with Correctional Officers
Another unusual part of working in Correctional Nursing is that a nurse’s coworkers include members of the correctional staff. It is important to remember that these officers perform a vital role in the facility and are there to keep nurses, staff, and even the inmates safe in the correctional environment. In order to enjoy their work environment, nurses should learn to build collegial relationships with these coworkers who have much different training and a different mindset than those in the medical field.
Treating Inmates Like Patients
Studies have found that nurses in a correctional environment can often adapt their nursing style to the culture of the correctional facility. In a facility with a poor cultural environment this can include the development of a cynical or punitive attitude towards patients.
It is important that nurses keep a professional mindset and treat the patients the same way they would any other patients in a hospital, while still adhering to additional safety measures that may be required.
Keeping to Strict Nursing Standards
The atmosphere in a correctional facility is definitely far different than that of an ordinary medical facility. Because of this, nurses in correctional facilities sometimes fall out of practice sticking to each and every requirement of their nursing license. It’s important not to forget something as small as missing documentation when dealing with larger issues such as participating in the use of force against an irate inmate. It is important to stick to professional standards – no matter how unusual the situation may seem.
Keeping Personal Opinions & Attitudes In Check
As with any patient, nurses may not like, agree with, or understand a patient’s choices or decisions, but they need to keep on task with their job and communicate with patients only about their health and wellness. While patients in a hospital setting may more easily hide differing lifestyle choices or opinions from a nurse, these choices can be well-known by nurses in a correctional facility. It is important that nurses treat every patient the same, with respect, and do their job to the best of their ability no matter who the patient is. It is important that they do not let objections to the patient’s lifestyle filter over into their conversations or their attitudes. If a patient picks up on hostility coming from a nurse, this can cause aggression or problems.
Above all, it is important for all nurses – and especially correctional nurses to keep calm, cool, collected and professional at all times. After all, these mistakes could cost them their job, their license or even place them in grave personal danger! That is why the unique challenges that Correctional Nurses face are outlined, explored, and advised upon in our Scope and Standards, Correctional Nursing 3rd Edition, now available here. Don’t miss it!