Correctional Nurses work closely with inmates. They are responsible for the routine care of inmates with preexisting conditions. They also administer emergency medical care and the treatment of chronic and acute illnesses. This position requires that you have two years of full-time practice as a registered nurse. The nature of this job does not favor nurses without hospital experience.
Below we give a few pointers on the questions that you would expect to encounter in this interview and what makes a great answer.
1. Why Are You Interested In This Role?
This role is complicated and therefore you need to provide a solid answer. You will deal with inmates, some of whom are dangerous criminals. Give your motivation for taking up this role. Be sure to show authenticity and enthusiasm.
“I’m interested in this role because I want to make a difference in the vulnerable communities. I understand I will be dealing with criminals and therefore there is some danger involved and I love a good challenge. I also understand that I will have more autonomy because most work will be handled by me in the absence of a physician. This will help in the development of my career as I will have more exposure than a nurse working in a normal hospital.”
2. What Are The Roles Of A Correctional Nurse?
The interviewer is interested in what you will handle if selected for the job. Give an account of the duties and responsibilities that you expect to handle. Make this question count by basing your answer on the job description.
“For this role, I expect that I will be charged with providing initial diagnosis and treatment for some illnesses. I will also maintain the patient records and treatment plans for the inmates/patients. Provision of counseling services and referrals to mental institutions will also be under my docket. I will keep a record of medical supplies available and request replenishment as required. I will also ensure compliance with set standards for the facility.”
3. What Are The Qualities That A Correctional Nurse Need To Be Successful?
The interviewer is interested in the qualities that a person in this role should possess. Share what you expect to be successful. Give an account of the main qualities of a person in this role.
“To be successful in this role you need to be patient and resilient. You also need to demonstrate evidence-based care. Great problem-solving and decision-making abilities are also an asset as most situations may require that you act fast. The ability to show compassionate care will also be key to enable the inmates to trust that you have their best interests at heart.”
4. What Major Challenges Did You Face During Your Last Role? How Did You Manage Them?
The interviewer is interested in your ability to bounce back after disappointments. What do you do to come out better? Give a story of a challenge and what you did to come out of it. Did it make you a better person? This information will assess your problem-solving skills.
“The challenge I faced in my previous role involves getting conned by the inmates. They would fake illnesses to get medication or favors. For example, someone would claim to have back problems when it was not the case. They would use this to get painkillers to use for their addictions or to give to another inmate to settle a debt. I would fall for this in the first few weeks of working in the correctional facility until I realized a pattern. People would claim similar symptoms from time to time based on what made another get medication. They would look to be placed in the same medication. After realizing this trend, I developed my skills in assessing objective signs and symptoms and the accuracy of clinical judgment. If I would not feel the case is genuine, I would ask for a referral. This eliminated the con game.”
5. Describe Your Daily Routine As A Correctional Nurse?
What activities would you handle on a day-to-day basis? Give an account of the expected daily routine to the interviewer.
“The routine will be predictable and at times unpredictable. Daily, I expect to administer drugs to patients as per their treatment plans for chronic conditions. I will also undertake intake examinations for new inmates as they come in. As usual with any nursing role, I expect to encounter medical emergencies that require my immediate attention during the normal course of duty.”
6. Describe Briefly About Your Experience
What experience are you bringing on board? Share the contribution you hope to make when it comes to your job role.
“I have five years of nursing experience, three of which have been in a correctional facility. During my time in the correctional facility, I worked with inmates with various chronic conditions. Among the diseases I managed were diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, HIV-Aids, cancer, and kidney disease. I also handled the inmate’s intake exams to determine their needs while in prison. This experience has enabled me to develop great skills in handling inmates and ensuring my safety in the process. I also have certifications in emergency response that have helped me in handling emergency cases at the prison.”
7. What Kind Of Strategies And Mindset Is Required For This Role?
How do you prepare yourself for this role? Share your strategies and mindsets that will ensure success for the week.
“You need a resilient mindset to work in a correctional facility. You should be independent and not judgmental when handling inmates as it will not affect the care you offer to the inmates. You should be willing to assist people to reform in their ways. This will ensure that some change and become better humans.”
8. What Is The Biggest Challenge That You Foresee In This Job?
What lessons have you learned in your career so far? How have they shaped your journey? These are the questions you should focus on answering here. This will make a great answer to the interviewer.
“When starting in the correctional facility in my previous role, I handled the inmates the same way I would handle patients in a hospital. I came to learn that this was a big mistake as some would make up stories of illnesses. They would do this to repay favors or just to get medication to assist in their addictions. When I realized a pattern in the way they would come asking for medication, I consulted the other nurses and one offered to mentor me. In the process, I learned a lot. I was able to change my way of handling the inmates and it stopped the manipulation from the inmates.”
9. How Do You Stay Motivated In Your Work?
What keeps you going despite the challenges? The interviewer wants to know what makes you keep working despite challenges.
“To stay motivated, I ensure that I set goals that keep me going. Chasing goals and meeting set milestones to help me stay motivated as I can see my progress. I also ensure to take part in some form of exercise in the day to relax and prevent burnout. For exercise, I do either yoga or aerobics. I find that this assists in calming me down and alleviates stress. For the times that this does not work, I seek assistance to calm down. This ensures I am ready to continue with my nursing duties without much interruption.”
10. Describe A Time When You Failed In This Role And The Lesson You Learnt?
A great answer will entail the lessons that you derived and how they have assisted in your work. Give a story of a failure and how that has developed you both professionally and personally.
“In responding to an emergency to an inmate, I failed to realize that he was severely wounded and would need an emergency transfer to a medical facility. In the process of trying to contain the bleeding, we lost him. This made me learn that it is better to facilitate emergency transfers in cases of injuries in the prison. This will ensure maximum care is provided and a life is saved.”
11. Why Do You Feel You Are The Most Suited For This Role?
What makes you stand out from the other candidates? Give our strengths for this role and what makes you the best candidate for the role.
“Based on the job description, the role fits me perfectly. I have two years of experience working in a correctional facility. In addition, I possess additional qualifications in emergency care as this will be instrumental in my role here. I can think and solve problems fast. I am also able to make decisions fast when the need arises. These are qualities that I believe will be instrumental in my role here. I believe my qualifications and additional skills developed in the workplace make me a great candidate for this role.”
12. Share With Us Your Greatest Achievement.
What makes you proud in your career journey? Share with the interviewer the milestones that you are proudest of.
“During my tenure in my last role, I was working closely with the female inmates and managed to introduce a 30 minutes yoga class with the approval of the administration. I used my skills in personal training to make the class a success. The class was monitored closely by the security forces. In the end, the depression cases drastically reduced because people had found a way to release stress. Our mental health issues went down.”
13. Give Steps That You Will Suggest To Contain The Spread Of An Infectious Disease In A Prison?
This is a technical question to test your knowledge of the job. Give a plan of action that when implemented will make sure that the disease does not spread further.
“Infectious disease mostly spread due to overcrowding, sharing of needles, drug use, and non-consensual and consensual sex. The inmates should be subjected to an intake examination to screen for communicable illnesses and determine if they are in danger of infecting others.”
14. Inmates Love Using Manipulation On Nurses, How Will You Make Sure That They Do Not Manipulate You?
Inmates use manipulation to gain favors or favorable treatment. They will want to take advantage of you especially being a recruit. Share a plan on how you will avoid this.
“To avoid being manipulated, I will set clear boundaries from the onset of my work and will stick to them. I understand that the inmates are my patients and would not be something more. They can never transition to being my friends or objects of interest at any point in my work. I will keep every encounter professional and focus on the diagnosis and treatment plan. I will not entertain anything that is not related to the treatment plan. In case I realize an inmate is trying to manipulate me, I will report that to the authorities.”
15. If An Inmate Wrote You A Note That They Are Planning To Commit Suicide, What Will You Do?
Suicides are a normal occurrence in jails. The interviewer expects that you have a strategy on how to handle this. Give a plan of action that you will follow to assist this inmate.
“I will reach out to the authorities and ask to speak to the inmate to determine what makes him want to take his life. I will then consider keeping the inmate in the suicide protection program and ensure that he is watched so that he does not inflict harm on himself. I will also recommend for the inmate to be seen by a mental health professional so that he is placed on an appropriate treatment plan.”
16. How Will You Handle The Work Considering You Will Be Treating People Who Have Committed Serious Felonies Such As Murder?
This role entails working with dangerous criminals sometimes. Explain your motivation for this role.
“I understand that I may have to handle criminals with a bad record. Since the officers will be available, I will not be afraid in giving treatment. I also understand that inmates are humans too and have a right to treatment regardless of their criminal records. I will work on ensuring each inmate receives the best treatment possible.”
17. How Would You Educate An Offender To Manage Their Lifestyles?
Some diseases such as Diabetes would require that the inmate manages their lifestyle so that the disease is under control. Give a plan of action on ensuring that the inmate understands the information you will share.
“To assist an offender manage their lifestyle, you have to engage them first. Ensure they understand how the change will impact their treatment and quality of life. This will give them the motivation to change. I will assess their readiness to change and use my authority to ensure that they follow through on their word. I will use my role to provide counseling from time to time and ensure that they keep to the plan.”
18. What Have You Done In The Past One Year To Improve Your Skills As A Correctional Nurse?
Are you committed to personal improvement? Share the activities that you have engaged in that will make you a great fit for the position.
“In the past year I have engaged in various activities, some sponsored by the state and some on my own. I attended training on managing the spread of the Corona Virus which was facilitated by the state. Here, I learned about the management of the disease, especially in populated areas such as prisons and schools. These skills, I will utilize here. I also did a refresher on emergency care and took a certificate in transcultural healthcare practice. These courses will affect how I deliver my work here. ”
19. How Have You Dealt With Conflict In The Past?
Give a strategy of what you did when faced with conflict and the outcome.
“In my line of duty, I have encountered conflict from time to time. The main strategy I use is to sit everyone down and listen to their versions of the story. This has enabled me to get detailed information on what caused the rift. A plan of action is devised from this information and I ensure all parties agree to abide by it. In case the issue is beyond me, I will refer it to higher authority so that it is dealt with amicably.”
20. In Three Words How Do People Describe You?
This question tests your self-awareness. Share how your colleagues would describe you.
“In my line of work people mostly describe me as a confident, genuine, and caring professional. Others think I am reliable, passionate, and equitable.”
This interview could be competitive. You need to demonstrate a genuine interest in working with inmates and confidence to do the work. Having answers to these questions will help you prepare for the interview.