May 9, 2007
In honor of National Nurses' Week, Delegate Rob Bell (R-58th) spent Wednesday morning with one type of nurse that is often overlooked: the nurses at the jail.
"Nurses here work in a very difficult environment with patients that are often very difficult," shared Patty Workman, the nurse practitioner at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.
Just like those you see in the hospital, nurses at the jail make rounds several times a day, giving out medications and treating ailments.
However, unlike the others, these nurses deal with a population that is constantly cycling through, with medical problems more severe than usual for their age, with little information about their past.
"They arrive here without medications," said Workman. "We don't know their medical history."
Many of the inmates are diagnosed with mental illness. For this reason, the nurses are responsible not just for the inmates' physical health but their mental health as well.
"One of the roles they play is to try to stabilize the inmates here and provide the mental health services that they need," noted Bell.
This is crucial not just for the inmate's well being, but the community's.
"We know they are going to come back into our community, so this is a way to make sure they are in a better place when they come out," said Bell.