Friday, January 06, 2006

Nursing Duties

I'm getting more comfortable at the LCJ and things are starting to come together. There are many differences between hospital nursing and correctional nursing, but one thing that really stands out is that we rotate (daily, not hourly!) through four different types of jobs.

The RNs in the booking help triage or flag patients who are coming in with problems. This is a full-time job and can get quite busy. Because we're a large jail "chains" of inmates often stop over while being transported between facilities, most forming new chains going in new directions - always splitting and reforming. It's like a freeway interchange, and the nurse up there needs to make sure that anyone who might be spending the night with us has their health needs addressed. It gets really busy sometimes, and I know today they sent two more RNs up there to help the one that was there already.

Another place you'll find RNs is in the infirmary. LPNs help with drawing blood, administering meds, taking vitals, and a lot of other stuff. I have only spent one shift in there, but it can get really busy too. There are no CNAs, but there is a medical records person. The RNs and LPNs work very well together, and it seems to run smoothly as busy as it is. Besides the inmates who are sick and need to see a provider (usually an NP, sometimes an MD, Dentist, or Mental Health provider), there are basic health assesments that must be done on every inmate after they've been there 2 weeks. That's a lot of people to see!

RN's go on rounds to each unit and triage the inmates there. Inmates can see a nurse by putting in a request. Obviously, if someone is very sick or injured they can get immediate attention any time of the day. Triage rounds take up the whole shift for the nurses who are assigned to them. If you see someone who needs to go into the clinic, you refer them and they'll go according to a priority. A dislocated shoulder would get higher priority than bacterial vaginosis - pretty basic stuff.

The fourth job is med pass. Most of the time this is done by an LPN, but RNs can do it if there aren't enough LPNs. This is pretty much an all-day gig too.

OK! Well, that's enough of a post for now. I don't want to bore you to death, just give you a basic idea of what I'll be doing. I had fun today - the RN I shadowed was great to work with.
Posted by HypnoKitten at 8:45 PM

Blogger Heeds, at 2:16 PM  

sounds pretty neat so far. i did part of my peds rotation at a juvenile detention hall, the RN duties were pretty similar. so you do something different each day?

Blogger HypnoKitten, at 10:18 PM  

So far I've been doing something different each day, but I'm still in orientation. Once I settle in, I may change places only once or twice a week. I'm not really sure how they'll have me work. Some nurses really like to do one thing or the other, but so far I think it's all interesting, so it doesn't bother me how often they move me around.

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