Correctional nurses specialize in working with incarcerated individuals. Their patients can be found in juvenile detention centers, prisons and jails. They are often the first line of defense when helping inmates manage medical conditions and must consistently balance the work of care with the jail’s prerogatives of discipline and security.
What does a Correctional Nurse do?
The role of a correctional nurse varies by institution. However, all correctional nurses must be proficient in meeting the common needs found in incarcerated populations. These needs might include suicide prevention, mental health care, infectious disease prevention or methadone maintenance. Other duties may include performing intake screenings, helping patients monitor chronic conditions, providing medication and giving care on-call.
Correctional nurses face unique challenges in their work environments, such as limited resources and working in a secure facility. To be successful, these professionals need to possess the skills common to all nurses, such as critical-thinking skills and a detail-oriented approach. However, they must also possess a great deal of emotional stability and keep firm boundaries between themselves and their patients.
Salary for Correctional Nurses
Correctional nurses make a median annual salary of $70,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those in the top 10 percent of earners can make more than $104,100. Nursing is one of the fastest-growing job markets. BLS expects 15 percent growth by 2026, a rate considered much faster than average.
Education Requirements for Correctional Nurses
Those who want to become correctional nurses need the same training as any other professional in their field. An RN is required; however, a bachelor’s degree in nursing is preferred. Certain additional requirements may apply depending on an individual’s state of residence. Correctional nurses also need a drug screening, background check and security clearance.
Rise to the Challenge
For individuals who want a unique and rewarding nursing career, correctional nursing is a perfect fit. Notre Dame College Online offers an RN–BSN online program that provides graduates with the credential they need to take the next step in their nursing careers. Taught by experienced and supportive professionals, students receive exceptional training in a personalized environment. And because the program is offered fully online, working health professionals can balance their educational goals with other commitments.