What are Safety Risks for Correctional Nurses?

A job of a correctional nurse can be highly risky and a nurse must take necessary precautions to remain safe.

The most common risk of working with inmates is a communicable disease.

In correctional facilities, there is a higher risk of being exposed to bloodborne pathogens such as Hepatitis B and C, as well as HIV.

Also, correctional nurses have a higher risk of getting infected with tuberculosis.

The common precaution measures include using gloves, masks, goggles, and other protective equipment when working with patients or infected objects.

Correctional nurses need to take regular tuberculosis screening, but nurses need to be aware of any tuberculosis symptoms.

If they identify any symptom, they need to report it to their supervisor and receive appropriate treatment.

It is very important that a nurse utilizes proper airborne precautions to lower the risk of tuberculosis.

On the other hand, correctional nurses are at risk of getting injured by inmates.

Many of them have mental illnesses that remain untreated or have violent and aggressive past.

A nurse can stay safe if being alert all the time.

For example, a nurse should never turn her back to intimate and always have safe access to an exit, alarm, or any communication device such as telephone.

The safest way for a nurse to do her job is to be accompanied by a correctional officer.

All nurses, including correctional, need to be respectful to the patients.

Sometimes, inmates violently react if they perceive a nurse’s behavior as disrespectful.

A nurse must respect inmates and approach them as if they were in any other healthcare facility, but with the proper precautions.

Also, a nurse must understand the difference between being respectful and being overly friendly.

If a nurse shares too much about herself, and an inmate starts to perceive the nurse as more than a friend, the safety risks are even higher.

When working in a correctional facility, the nurse needs to keep her personal equipment to a needed minimum.

The inmate can use almost anything as a weapon and injure a nurse.

It includes stethoscope, bandage scissors, and there were attacks made with ink pens.

Because some of the items are necessary, nurses need to stay alert when using those items or call a correctional officer.

Because there are inmates with mental illnesses and specific disorders, nurses who treat them need to be aware of all techniques that can help them the situation from escalating.

Effective communication is a great tool for handling a situation when an inmate is experiencing a mental health crisis.

A nurse should stay calm and maintain a quiet atmosphere, which can help her to prevent impulsive reactions or aggressive behavior.

Even though the job of a correctional nurse is very risky, it is also very rewarding.

Inmates value and respect correctional nurses, as they perceive their intention as good.

Often, inmates feel as if only nurses are listening to their troubles and issues.

Again,  a correctional nurse must always stay alert in any care area, especially in a correctional facility.

Also, reporting all potential risks is important for remaining safe.

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