Prison nurses are responsible for caring for the needs of prisoners in correctional facilities across the world. It takes special individuals to fulfill the nursing job of prison nurses.
This career path can be very rewarding for the right people. It takes a spirit of caring and nurturing to enter the medical field of correctional nursing. Prison nurses must put the safety of themselves, inmates, visitors, and prison worker first to protect the safety of the prison environment.
Prison Nurse Job Description
Prison nurse must first use universal precautions to protect the safety of everyone who enters a correctional facility. Prisons have a high rate of disease among the many inmates. For example, many prisons have an extremely high rate of hepatitis, HIV, AIDS, and tuberculosis among inmates. Compare the rate to that of most hospitals, and it will be higher than average so safety is of the upmost important for prison nurses.
Other responsibilities of prison nurses include passing out medications, checking vital signs, charting medical information, and administering insulin to prisoner. Prison nurses’ ability to assess medical issues is very important in correctional facilities. It is important that these skills are extremely sharp since they are required to assess patients to determine if these conditions require relocating for further treatment options.
Prison Nurse Job Requirements
It is necessary to receive a nursing education from a nursing school before qualifying for a position as a prison nurse. Many choose to receive their schooling from an accredited college or university so that they can increase their standing in the job market. Many employees desire highly qualified nurses to fill the position of prison nurses.
Most prison nurses are registered nurses (RNs) or licensed practical nurses (LPNs). These credentials can be gained by earning a degree or certificate from a number of qualified nursing programs. Many employees require that nurses are registered nurses but these credentials are not necessary to become prison nurses. An LPN education is suitable to work in most correctional facilities across the country.
The core courses that students take in nursing programs include Pharmacology, Human Anatomy and Embryology, Biochemistry, Physiology, Immunology, Nursing Concepts, Surgical Nursing, Nursing Fundamentals, Pathology, Nursing Psychology, and Nutrition.
Additionally, it is not necessary to obtain nursing certification to become a prison nurse. It is beneficial to earn certification credentials to compete for higher paying jobs and positions with greater responsibilities. Many choose to earn the Certified Correctional Health Professional (CCHP) certification to increase their marketability.
The certification is offered through the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC). This designation proves that prison nurses have mastered the knowledge and skills of the national standards that leaders working in correctional healthcare settings should possess.
Prison Nurse Salary
The nursing salary for prison nurses working in correctional facilities is very substantial. The job encompasses working in an environment where safety is of the upmost importance. Prison nurses may have to work under conditions where inmates have contagious diseases so exercising proper safety techniques is what they depend on to get their jobs done properly. There is a shortage of qualified, certified nurses in all areas of nursing. There is a higher need for nurses in prisons so the salary reflects this need.
The salaries for entry-level positions as prison nurses are approximately $45,000 to $46,000 annually. This is a bit low, but prison nurse have the ability to take additional shifts and increase their annually salaries by thousands of dollars. The average salaries for prison nurses are between $58,000 and $60,000 annually.
Earning certification can increase the salaries even more. Experienced prison nurses can expect to make $87,000 to $89,000 annually. Again, there is the potential to make higher wages with additional hours of work.
Correctional Nursing Jobs Outlook
The outlook for correctional nursing positions is great. These nurses have a high level of job satisfaction because they know that they are making the difference in the lives of those who may not feel as if anyone cares about them. The responsibilities of prison nurses may make the job very difficult because of the conditions and the patients they serve.
Prison nurses are in high demand for nursing positions due to the extensive skill sets that they possess. They must know about various aspect of nursing to perform their jobs adequately. These aspects may include medical nursing, emergency nursing, and psychiatric nursing—just to name a few.
Working in correctional facilities may prove to be one of the most rewarding aspects of working in the medical field as a prison nurse. Those who work in prisons do not do it for the money; they work for the rewards that come with being prison nurses.