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Iowa Medical Classification Center looking to hire registered nurses

The Iowa Medical Classification Center in Coralville needs both registered nurses and licensed practical nurses.
Published: Feb. 7, 2022 at 8:28 AM CST
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CORALVILLE, Iowa (KCRG) - The Iowa Medical Classification Center or IMCC in Coralville is the intake facility for the male prison population in Iowa. Individuals are received from the county jail and seen by nurses and physicians. Then some are classified for other institutions, while some stay at the IMCC facility, which offers an entire continuum of care.

“We have mental health needs. We have acute inpatient mental health. we have the forensic psychiatric hospital,” said nursing administrator Linda Bellinghausen. “And then we also have medical needs. So we have skilled nursing, and we have long-term nursing needs.”

Bellinghausen said there are 11 openings for registered nurses and nine positions for licensed practical nurses.

“I think there’s been a nursing shortage for several years, and I think COVID has put more of a spotlight on that,” she said.

She says nursing in a corrections setting takes a balance, but every day is a learning opportunity.

“It’s probably going to be about a year before you feel like ‘I’ve got this’,” she said. “Then you’re going to go home and you’re going to come back the next day. And you’re going to say, ‘you know what, there’s a lot more for me to learn.’

A nurse’s role is pretty standard at the IMCC. They count needles and narcotics and assist with medical care. They can also respond to emergencies if needed.

Amy Brennan has been a registered nurse at the IMCC for about 13 years. She says it combines her passion for mental health and criminal justice. She says people need to have a bit of a backbone to work there.

“You will learn fast, she said. “It’s just a little bit different of a demographic.”

She said it’s a safe environment.

“People don’t tend to realize that 98% of our population doesn’t live here for a lifetime. They’re going back out to the streets,” she said. “It’s the person you’re meeting in the aisle of the grocery store. So to come in here and to work...at least I’ve got the officers who’ve got my back, I’ve got cameras, I’ve got radios.”

Helen Matumba is just getting started on her career at the IMCC. She’s been on the job for about two weeks. She said she’s enjoying it so far.

“I just have to remind myself to be patient with myself,” she said. “It’s not hard or difficult. Just give yourself time to learn, and be trained because there’s a lot to learn.”

Bellinghausen says there are opportunities to advance in your career.

“You do have an opportunity when positions open up to be promoted to nursing supervisor and then from there would be administrator of nursing,” she said. “Other institutions do have nursing services directors, so there is a promotional opportunity within the Department of Corrections for nursing.”

Click or tap here for more information on jobs with the Iowa Department of Corrections.

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