4 March 2012
I had been a nurse for 1 yr, and only worked in long term care. I craved a change in my career that was exciting, yet challenging; I decided to become a correctional nurse. I had no idea what was in store for me when I applied for a position with UTMB .I spoke with family and friends who thought I was crazy for wanting to work in such a hostile environment. Needless to say, I didn’t listen and followed my own instinct. When I was hired, I had not taken a tour of the facility; day one was the first time I walked into a prison. As I walked in the gate house, I was saying to myself “this isn’t so bad!”I kept telling myself those same words the whole time I was taking my shoes off , letting my hair down to be searched, and getting frisked while checking for contraband. After the most violating pat down I had ever received was over, my heart began to pound. “What am I getting myself into?” Once in the infirmary I was given a brief description of job duties. By now my heart was in my throat, but I kept up the brave front .I learned that I would be working in our clinic with convicts that required inpatient medical care. My role was to provide nursing care only. A few things I had to take into consideration; they were convicts. They could be quite manipulative and they tried to test me every time I turned around. They asked questions about my personal life and they asked for favors. They would also ask me to bring in things from the “real world” or deliver items or letters. This behavior could be grounds for termination so any and every time I was asked to do any of the things I listed or anytime an inmate tried to get to personal it had to be reported. The inmate would then have to face disciplinary action. It was very hard to remember all the dos and don’ts while maintaing professionalism, as well as maintain safety and sanity. In the Texas prison system the inmates endure grueling...