Being afraid you might die at work is an excellent reason to quit
I was the new kid on the block, the most recent and youngest nurse. I just turned 24 and walked into one of the most dangerous jobs you can have as a nurse.
Prison nursing is not something for the faint of heart; most nurses are men or older nurses who do not want to work in the hospital and lift patients.
The inmates are walky-talky, which means they are not bedbound and can tell you what they need. We all love a walky-talky unless you are in the ICU, and then we want a vented, sedated, and restrained patient.
I am sure you can imagine working with inmates can be dangerous, except I thought I would stay in the hospital and pass medications from a window.
That was one of the nurse’s jobs; however, that was not my job.
Once I got orientation and the general flow, I was assigned my unit. It would be the same every shift. I worked 3 pm–11 pm; I got an extra $50 just for showing up for work.
I used to work 8 hours in a restaurant to make $50 in tips; I was in heaven 50 bucks just for showing up, on top of my hourly wage!
My assignment was to give medications to inmates in their cells. So I took my patient list medication cart and got to work; how hard could this be?
I got assigned to the DDU; these inmates were the worst in prison. They were locked in their cells for 23 hours a day and had 1 hour to shower and go outside if they chose.
For the inmates, this was a safe space. If they couldn’t make it in the general population, they would cause a fight with another inmate and get thrown in the DDU.
The walkway was big enough to fit a guard next to me, my medication cart, and me. I pushed it close to the wall so the inmates couldn’t reach it, and I walked next to the wall so no one could reach out and grab me, but do not ever touch the wall; inmates like to throw their feces on the wall.