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Corrections Nurse: Typical Job Duties and Salary Requirements

Career News September 1, 2013

A Corrections Nurse is a nurse who provides medical assistance and care for inmates in a prison or correctional facility. A Corrections Nurse is a job that is challenging, wide ranging, and one that takes quick and critical thinking. Correctional Nursing can also offer greater autonomy and can be very rewarding.

Correctional Nursing not only involves the skill set involved in traditional nursing, but will also involve specialized training in the legal and sociological aspects of dealing with inmates, as well as policies and procedures that may be instituted by a particular facility.

Since the population of a correctional facility is likely to contain people who have not had access to regular healthcare, a corrections nurse is likely to be presented with a variety of health issues. They could also see more gratitude from their patients who are pleased to receive needed care.

A corrections nurse can be employed by government entities and private companies who manage prison facilities, through employment or human resources agency or even as a direct outsourced employee.

Duties of a Corrections Nurse

The duties of a corrections nurse will vary greatly depending on the size and type of facility. This list is not intended to be a complete list, and not every position in every facility will include all of the duties described below. It is a list of duties one could expect to perform in a position of corrections nurse.

•The administration of treatments and medications to the inmate population
•Providing emergency care and treatment
•Assist physicians as needed
•Application of dressing and bandages
•The administration of prescription medicines
•Obtain specimens from inmates for testing
•Check inmate vital signs and keep appropriate records
•Provide appropriate record keeping and notify facility management as required
•Monitor reactions to medications
•Monitor progress or lack thereof of patient treatments

In general, a corrections nurse will collaborate with the facility’s primary health care provider to help insure quality healthcare for the correctional facility population. Due to the environment that most corrections nurses will find themselves working in, they are likely to be involved in everything from flu symptoms to injuries sustained in prison population altercations. It is important to note that as opposed to a hospital setting, providing healthcare is not the main function of the facility a correction nurse works in.

Salaries of a Corrections Nurse

Compensation of a corrections nurse will vary as widely as the medical situations they may face. It will also vary in accordance to the size of the facility, type of facility, and location. It of course will also vary whether the correctional facility requires an LPN or an RN.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median pay for Registered Nurses in 2010 was $64,690, which translates to $31.10 per hour. The BLS also states that Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) median salary in 2010 was $40,380, which translates to $19.42 per hour. A corrections nurse would expect to make comparable salaries according to their LPN or RN designation, and perhaps significantly more when working in one of several states that currently require certification. Other states have legislative mandates in place that provide for annual increases in the pay of corrections nurses in their state-run facilities.

Nursing associations are currently moving toward creating an official Nursing Specialty of Correctional Nurse, which would make a positive financial impact for those looking for a career in Corrections Nursing.

According to the National Commission on Correctional Health Care, the profession of Correctional Nursing is about to head into an area of significant growth, powered in part by its drive for Nursing Specialty certification in this area.

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