Saturday, December 31, 2005

What's New

Yea! Here's my post where I reveal my new position. I had to really find out more about it so I can tell you what it actually is.

I'm working at the Large County Jail (hereafter called LCJ). The county has two of them, and they can each hold about 1500 inmates. The one my job is at is a fairly new building and quite clean and spacious inside. The older one is more of a maze of unending hallways and elevators to nowhere. I'm glad I get to work at the new one, but I told them I'd be willing to take an extra shift at either facility after my training period is up. Although this is not a picture of the facility I work at, it is similar.

There's a infirmary/clinic sort of thing that the nurses work out of, with a provider on site during the 'clinic hours' and another one on call on the off hours. There's a dentist and dental assistant there daily also. The other jail's infirmary area is open 24 hours, and they place anyone who needs round-the-clock care over there.

The people I work with are all really fun and I feel like I get along with them much better than at the hospital. I guess they have a lot of agency nurses filling in, because the other RNs seemed very happy that I was 'theirs' and not an agency nurse (although they had a lot of love for the agency nurse that they worked with yesterday, she seemed to fit in really well and they were used to working with her). Regular med passes are done by the LPNs, and I followed one of them around in the morning because occasionally an RN has to do med pass. RNs staff the infirmary area and the booking area.

After lunch I went to the booking area to watch the RNs assigned to that area do intakes and assesments on new inmates. It's so completely different than the hospital. I'm not talking about the assessment part, but the fact that pretty much EVERY new inmate that needs to see the nurse on intake lies about their meds! Dang! Unless the inmate has an actual prescription bottle on them, we have to call the pharmacy where they get their prescriptions filled at to verify them. I didn't see ONE of them the whole afternoon who were completely truthful about their meds. Some said they were on 4 meds when they were really only on 2. Some said their dosages (on meds they really did take) were twice what they really were. Guess I have to get used to that!

I've got Monday off as a holiday then on Tuesday I think they're going to have me shadow in the infirmary and Wed I've got to be downtown in the county building for County Employee Orientation. Later next week I've got Public Health Employee orientation too!

I've talked to two nurses who worked in jails or prisons and both of them didn't like it - but they were in different states or counties. I have to imagine that facilities can be good or bad, the same as nursing schools or hospitals. Even within the same hospital I had a great experience and loved working with the critical care nurses, but then working in med/surg was like another world. In nursing school there were some teachers I loved, and others I don't even want to look at. I think (and although I may be wrong, I do believe in this case I am correct...) that I will really like it at LCJ.

Two more things: I was really surprised at the amount of respect the inmates (the ones who were already in the population) showed for the nurses. I'll have to think on this, because I'm not sure if they're happy to see the nurses, or if it's contrived because of the position they're in. It also sort of surprised me when the nurse manager was talking to me about high-profile people who either had been in jail or were in jail now. You know I can never talk about them here, but it sort of came as a surprise to me because it hadn't crossed my mind that so-and-so would be in there. Or that other so-and-so's had been in there for many months awaiting trial. It makes perfect sense, but I thought it was weird I really hadn't thought about it. It doesn't bother me to be around these people, because I feel totally safe - but now I know I'm probably going to be seeing some of the people in the morning that I saw on the news the night before! Wild. Note: This is not a picture of anyone who might have ever been in jail here or anywhere else.

Ok! Off to the mall for me. Hubby's going to tune up my truck while I'm gone and then we're going to go out and par-tay for New Year's!

~~ Happy New Year, everyone! ~~

Posted by HypnoKitten at 11:08 AM

Blogger Catepillar RN, at 3:34 PM  

Good Luck with the job! If you THINK you will enjoy it, you will!
BTW, enjoying your blog.
Happy new year. =)

Blogger Janine, at 6:14 AM  

Hey you! I also work casual as a correctional nurse... have been for 3 years now. Drop me a line and we can swap stories!

Blogger Bob, at 10:13 AM  

Wow! That is so *not* what I was expecting! Definitely not the "usual." The wife and I know a dental hygienist who works at a county jail here in northwest Florida, and she seems to be enjoying it, and we know a couple of folks who are correctional officers in a state prison a couple counties over, and they enjoy it. Keep us posted!

Blogger Gypsybobocowgirl, at 8:57 PM  

Good Luck--corrections never really scared me, but I always kept my mind on where I was. Just don't feel too safe!

Blogger HypnoKitten, at 10:37 PM  

Thanks, guys!

I am really enjoying it so far, and the people are great to work with.

Janine: I saw the picture of the place you work - it's so beautiful! It looks like a retreat or a spa rather than a facility. I'll write you after I finish this first week.

Bob: What were you not expecting? The fact that it was at a jail? I wasn't sure how much to say until I knew I had the job. I'm still learning what exactly it is that I do, its sort of like a whole new career away from the hospital.

Gypsybobocowgirl: I have had extremely dangerous jobs in my life, and that both helps and harms me. I have a lot of trust issues and am very wary, which is sort of a pain in social situations, but will keep me out of trouble in this job. It's nice to find a place where something that usually gets in my way will be an asset. George Thorogood said: "Everybody funny - now you funny too." I guess I have an easy time fitting in, because I was already 'funny' when I got there! ;)

Blogger ICU 101, at 1:33 AM  

i think it takes a special kind of person to work with the prison population... good for you, for giving it a go... good luck! :)

Blogger Bob, at 10:01 AM  

"Bob: What were you not expecting? The fact that it was at a jail? I wasn't sure how much to say until I knew I had the job. I'm still learning what exactly it is that I do, its sort of like a whole new career away from the hospital. "

When you were describing your new work environment I was getting an image of you going to some kind of high-tech research hospital thing, where people cruise the halls on Segways and robots bring coffee. Yeah, weird, but that's the vibe I was getting (maybe I should go back to those posts and see if I can spot any clues). Of course, when people say they're taking a trip to a warm sunny place with lots of sand I think Jamaica, not the Sahara! It's the Homer Simpson in me, I guess.

I totally understand about not wanting to say too much too soon, and I'm definitely looking forward to reading about your experiences.

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