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Series established September 19, 1989
This specification describes two professional nurse classes used by the Department of Developmental Services, Department of Mental Health, and correctional facilities contracting with the Department of Mental Health for diagnostic and treatment services.
Professional nurses, licensed by the State of California, have successfully completed a prescribed course of study and training at an accredited school or hospital and have passed State licensing examinations. Incumbents are responsible for providing direct nursing care, treatment, and rehabilitation to forensic clients, patients, or inmates; providing direction to other personnel who assist them in providing such care; assisting physicians as directed; taking independent action within professional preparation and legal limits; performing related nursing duties as assigned; maintaining order and supervising the conduct of forensic clients, patients, or inmates; protecting and maintaining the safety of persons and property; and providing general psychiatric nursing care to forensic clients, patients, or inmates who are developmentally or mentally disordered offenders. Incumbents may also assist in training other nursing personnel.
These classes are distinguished from the Registered Nurse series and Registered Nurse (Mental Disabilities) by the custody requirements imposed by the criminal nature of the forensic client, patient, or inmate population and by the security features of developmental centers, State hospitals, and correctional facilities.
Independence of action and decision, degree of supervision received, and degree of supervision exercised serve as differentiating factors between the classes. Entry into this series may be at any level.
This is the entry and journey level. Under general supervision, incumbents administer nursing care to forensic clients, patients, or inmates at developmental centers, State hospitals, and correctional facilities contracting with the Department of Mental Health; assist in planning and evaluating nursing care of assigned forensic clients, patients, or inmates; assist in directing and training other nursing service personnel; and perform other related nursing tasks. At the journey level, incumbents provide direction to unit or clinic personnel in general or specialized nursing work and provide for continuity of forensic client, patient, or inmate care with nursing personnel of other shifts. Incumbents at the journey level may also be responsible for directing the work of other employees during an eight-hour shift of an organized nursing unit and relieving the supervisor as required.
Custody tasks include counting, distributing, and collecting eating utensils; monitoring forensic clients, patients, or inmates during work activities or leisure time; inspecting facilities to identify security breaches that could lead to the escape of a forensic client, patient, or inmate; inspecting forensic clients', patients', or inmates' mail for hazardous contraband; observing and intervening in forensic client, patient, or inmate behavior which indicates imminent potential to injure others or property; and responding to calls for assistance in situations where forensic clients, patients, or inmates are in the process of injuring themselves or others.
Under direction, is responsible for the overall management and supervision of an organized nursing unit on a 24-hour basis in a developmental center or State hospital providing care to forensic clients, patients, or inmates who are developmentally or mentally disordered offenders; is responsible for the nursing care and practices of an organized nursing unit or for a nursing service; plans, implements, evaluates, and provides for continuity of forensic client, patient, or inmate care; works with other disciplines to integrate nursing services to provide a total treatment program; and teaches, plans, directs, supervises, and evaluates nursing personnel.
In the performance of custody responsibilities, observes and intervenes in instances of disruptive or assaultive behavior; supervises and, as needed, assists subordinate staff in: the counting, distributing, and accounting of all utensils to prevent their use as weapons; inspecting forensic clients', patients', or inmates' mail and living areas for hazardous contraband; inspecting facility to identify security breaches that could lead to forensic client, patient, or inmate escape; observing and intervening in forensic client, patient, or inmate behavior that may signal an impending escape attempt; and escorting forensic clients, patients, or inmates to other areas of the facility.
Possession of the legal requirements to practice as a professional Registered Nurse in California. (Applicants who are in the process of securing approval of their qualifications by the California Board of Registered Nurses will be admitted to the examination, but must possess all legal requirements as determined by that Board before they will be considered eligible for appointment.)
No additional requirements.
Experience: One year of experience in the California state service performing the duties of a nursing classification comparable in level of responsibility to a Registered Nurse, Range B.
Experience: Two years of professional nursing experience in a facility licensed for inpatient care. (Possession of a Master's Degree in Nursing may be substituted for one year of the required experience.)
(Candidates who are within six months of completing the experience requirements will be admitted to the examination, but they must complete all requirements before they will be considered eligible for appointment.)
Knowledge of: Professional nursing principles and techniques; hospital routine and equipment; medicines and narcotics; custody procedures; public and property protection policies.
Ability to: Apply nursing techniques; observe and record symptoms and behavior; keep records and prepare reports; gain the interest, respect, and cooperation of forensic clients, patients, or inmates; learn and apply sound judgment in situations requiring the protection of persons and property.
Knowledge of: All of the above, and techniques of effective supervision and unit management; the interrelationship of treatment activities in a hospital setting; a supervisor's role in the Affirmative Action Program.
Ability to: All of the above, and plan, organize, and direct the work of others.
An interest and willingness to work at developmental centers, State hospitals, or correctional facilities contracting with the Department of Mental Health for diagnostic and treatment services; emotional stability; sensitivity to the needs of forensic clients, patients, or inmates; tact; patience; alertness; and keenness of observation.
Possession and maintenance of sufficient strength, agility, and endurance to perform during physically, mentally, and emotionally stressful and emergency situations encountered on the job without endangering the health and well-being of the incumbent, fellow employees, forensic clients, patients, inmates, or the public.
Applicants for positions in this class are required to pass a drug-screening test. (The drug-screening test will be waived for employees who are currently in a designated "sensitive" class for which drug testing is required under State Personnel Board Rule 213.)