Nurse spends her days behind bars
Melissa Cason, Franklin County Times
Today is National Nurses Day, a day when the medical community recognizes excellence in nursing along with the hard work and dedication it takes to care for those who are ill.
When most people picture a nurse they imagine a woman walking the halls of a hospital or someone calling a patient back for an exam.
Nurses are rarely pictured working at a jail, but they play a vital role in keeping the inmates healthy during their incarceration.
Misty Hutchens is a Registered Nurse who serves as Medical Team Administrator at the Franklin County Jail. While her duties are largely administrative, she is responsible for the health for each inmate.
"Working in the jail is a lot different than I thought it would be but I love working here," Hutchens said.
Hutchens began working in the jail in October, and has found her work rewarding because the inmates are genuinely happy to be getting quality medical care.
"They [the inmates] really appreciate that we care about them even though they are incarcerated," Hutchens said.
Each inmate completes a medical information form when they are booked. If any inmates have an emergency medical need, he or she is treated right away.
If the inmate doesn't need medical attention, they are moved to their cell. However, all inmates are given a complete medical workup after 10 days of incarceration, Hutchens said.
"We also continually monitor the inmates with chronic problems so that everyone gets proper medical care," Hutchens said.
Besides Hutchens, the Franklin County Jail has two part-time nurses and one full time nurse to make sure the inmates receive proper medical treatment of illness or injury.
"There is always a nurse here, and I am on call 24 hours a day," Hutchens said.
Before coming to the jail, Hutchens worked as an Emergency Room Nurse at Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital in Florence and at Russellville Hospital.
"I am still in the nursing pool at both hospitals," Hutchens said.
Hutchens said that she chose nursing as her career so that she could help people and make a difference in the world, even if it is in the most unlikely of places.
"The hardest part of this job is seeing people who you have high hopes for when they leave and they come back a few weeks or months later," Hutchens said.