Slow Writing And Prison Nursing

I had to drop a note to apologize to readers for my slow output lately.

I work as a nurse for the Alabama Department of Corrections. Maybe you’ve seen some news about them lately. In the last few weeks, we’ve been seeing some unrelated personnel changes, leading to low staffing at times. Just as we have been seeing a spike in violence and drug traffic through the system. None of this has anything to do with the DOJ case, though. It runs in cycles. I suspect that it has more to do with change in seasons.

At the same time, I have been preparing to move from an apartment to a house. A welcome change but time consuming and stressful. Change is stressful, even when it’s good change. I am happy to be having more space and can set up my wood shop. Just a matter of getting it all completed over the next week.

So, all of that has taken time I generally use for writing. I expect to be getting back to a somewhat normal writing schedule once this is all over and things level off.

I had hoped to slow down slightly on my work schedule slightly but with the low staffing, I can’t abandon my coworkers or the inmates, who are human beings and deserve medical care. I am not a judge or jury, I am a nurse and view things from that perspective. I never ask what an inmate’s crime was. Life happens and I try to be reliable for those around me. Just the time I am taking off to move, which amounts to very little, is causing staffing problems. When prison nurses say they had a bad night, you can believe it.

One thing to understand is that many inmates take psychoactive medications. Others are on cardiac or blood pressure medications, others are diabetic. The diabetics tend to come first, at least those on insulin. That isn’t likely to be missed. However, low staffing or a lockdown can result in no medication pass. That means those on oral diabetic medications, cardiac, blood pressure and psych meds do not receive their medications. Next thing, you have people with chest pain, hyperglycemic reactions and behavioral issues resulting in even more violence. Fights, head wounds, cuts, stabbings. Send someone to the hospital, officers are sent with them, so you have a security shortage in a system already short of officers.

At least it’s rarely boring.

Compare to a bad night in retail or food service and you see what I mean. BTW, I’ve done both of those and can empathize, so not belittling anyone. I just chose a different path.

I’ll be trying to get more writing done tonight and next week. Crossing my fingers!

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