How to Obtain a Career in Correctional Nursing
Choosing to become a corrections nurse is a decision that should not be taken lightly. A corrections nurse is responsible for attending to inmates at correctional facilities across the country. Not only do they have to perform regular medical checks, they also have to use extreme caution. Correctional facilities have a high rate of disease among their inmates, so corrections nurses need to be advanced in their safety measures. Not only that, but a special demeanor is required when working with inmates. It takes a special person to be a corrections nurse.
How to Become a Corrections Nurse
If one wants to become a corrections nurse, the pathway is truly similar to that of becoming a registered nurse. An education in nursing needs to be successfully completed. The schooling options for nurses are vast. Many nurses simply get a nursing degree at a technical school, community college, or hospital-based school. These programs usually take 2-3 years. However, for more in-depth knowledge of the field and a leg-up on the competition, you should consider a bachelor’s degree in nursing. This program takes four years and will more readily arm corrections nurses for what they will encounter on a day-to-day basis.
Since corrections nurses have to be prepared to handle any kind of ailment, they need to be well trained in all areas of nursing, including emergency and psychiatric nursing. For this reason, many correctional facilities require a four-year degree because they feel it is the only way to be fully prepared.
Many people who become corrections nurses already have prior hands-on experience working in a medical clinic or hospital. This work provides corrections nurses with a better understanding of the nursing industry and will better equip them to work with the inmates. If the end goal is a corrections nurse, an RN should opt for a general specialty when working at a hospital. That way, they will have more experience with more conditions that they will actually encounter on the job.
In addition to ample schooling and hands-on experience, corrections nurses also have to go through an additional verification process before being eligible to work in a correctional facility. They will be required to do drug testing and a criminal background check. Many correctional facilities also require a psychiatric test to be passed before being eligible for employment. These processes are required for the safety of everyone involved. Being a corrections nurse is not like anything else, and it is important that the person hired for the job will be able to complete it without any problems.
What are the Benefits of the Job?
All of this work does not go unrewarded. Many corrections nurses take great pride in their work. They feel like they are contributing to society in a positive way. Inmates are usually not treated with dignity, and corrections nurses give them this dignity. Besides the feeling of personal and professional accomplishment, there are also financial rewards. Since corrections nurses are in such a high demand, they are offered a truly competitive salary. According to Registered Nurse, a corrections nurse can expect to earn an average of $60,000 annually. However, with more experience and increased hours, some corrections nurses can earn upwards of $90,000.
Not only is the salary a nice perk, but the benefits are also to be desired. Since corrections facilities are owned by the government, corrections nurses usually get government benefits. This means great healthcare, paid time off, and retirement options. These are benefits that cannot be met in a traditional healthcare setting, so they are a great advantage for those looking for a rewarding nursing career.
The corrections nurse is one of the most important jobs in a correctional facility. They are responsible for properly diagnosing inmates to determine if they need to be transported to a different facility. Since their job is so important, a certain level of education is required. However, it is rewarded aptly with a strong salary and bar-none benefits. Most importantly, a corrections nurse is rewarded with a strong sense of job security and a strong feeling of accomplishment.