Tuesday, January 17, 2006

What's Your Issue?

The topic of knowing what a prisoner is in for was brought up in comments, and I thought I'd make a post on that.

In some ways I'm concerned that knowing what a person is in for might cloud my judgement when interviewing them about health concerns. Would you believe someone in on drug charges is drug seeking? Would you treat a rapist differently? I think it's better that I don't know, so I have an opportunity to treat everyone equally.

There are opportunities to find out anyway - when you're in booking, the charges against them are usually discussed at the desk right outside the exam room so you can't help but hear. You also might find out that someone is a "commercial sex worker" (don't ya love that - PC at it's finest!) when they're discussing what STDs they've been treated for in the past and which ones they think they have now. We can offer free STD testing and HIV/AIDS testing.

I want to do my best in giving care. I would like to think that some of these people can be helped, and can come out of jail in better condition than when they came in (yes, maybe I'm idealistic and living in a fantasy world...). This might give them an opportunity to change their life. True, some of them should be locked up and never let out, but that decision isn't mine to make at work - only at the polls.

On one of my first days shadowing another nurse we interviewed a young woman who was very pretty, polite, and well-spoken. She didn't fit in with the other inmates and we did end up looking her up to find she was in for burglary with a weapon. There's just nothing we can do with the information. We're not there to counsel or preach - there are plenty of people for that. I hope she straightens out before she becomes one of the repeat customers.

The title of this post is from a page of prison slang terms I was reading: What's your issue = What are you charged with. I never hear it, but I don't know if they talk amongst themselves like that. It may happen more often in prison than in jail.
Posted by HypnoKitten at 5:42 PM

Blogger Janine, at 7:40 PM  

Hey grrl -
I know when I am working in Corrections, I too, prefer to not know what they have "done." I am not there to judge, just to provide, safe, compassionate and competent care.. I am afraid if I knew their crime details doing that would be harder.

Blogger PaedsRN, at 12:12 AM  

Hey Hypno :) Still happy to go over your blog template and bugfix for you if you want... haven't gotten email yet though!

paedsrn (at) gmail (dot) com

Anonymous jen, at 12:54 PM  

In the ER, I used to be like "so what are you for?" as i was assessing the prisoner, now.....i've seen so many and heard all the stories.....I don't even ask. It most likely won't change the ER plan of care anyways.

oh, and i'm glad the guy is still ok from his gsw. I think working at a prison would be interesting.

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