If you decide to pursue a career in correctional nursing, your first step may be to contact the prison itself. The human resources department can tell you what positions are available and also indicate the steps needed to apply for those positions.
There is a high rate of disease in prisons. They usually have much higher rates of HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis than other patient populations. Safety is a major focus for any correctional nurse.
There will be many of the same tasks you have in other settings. Jobs such as charting, distributing medications, vital signs and dispensing insulin are commonplace. Inmates must be assessed closely. It is important to fine tune your assessment skills. This will come in focus if it is up to the nurse to decide if the prisoner needs to be sent to a medical facility.
Although there is no specific requirement for certification, there is certification available. A certified correctional health professional will have a lot more clout when it comes to finding the position of your dreams.
There are links to professional correctional nurse associations. The national commission on correctional health care has set standards for health services in these facilities. It is a joint effort between the health, legal and correctional profession. The standards are recommendations for efficient operation and management of correctional health services.
The Academy of Correctional Health Professionals informs correctional professionals of publications, special events and correctional activities. It also works to put you in touch with other correctional health care professionals.