October's Nurse of the Month - Shane Stearn, LPN

By Kahla Evans posted 10-18-2022 14:06


For Shane Stearn, nursing was a natural fit from a very early age. Both his mom and grandmother were nurses and he helped care for his younger brother who was born prematurely.

Shane himself has been a nurse for more than two decades now, after first serving in the Canadian Armed Forces as a Medical Assistant.

As an LPN, he has worked at different hospitals and in various fields, including medicine, surgery, emergency, long-term and acute care. Shane now works as a General Duty Nurse at Milner Ridge Correctional Centre.


When he first joined correctional nursing, back in 2015, he admits there were some preconceived notions. “I thought inmates would be treated like a number, but guards know them, there’s a level of respect between the inmates and medical staff,” says Shane. “Many people may think it's dangerous and you're under threat, but corrections is the safest field I feel I’ve worked in.”

Although correctional nursing is facing a lot of the same challenges as other health care facilities, such as staffing shortages, Shane says there are a lot of benefits to working in corrections that you might not find elsewhere.

“There’s a better work life balance in provincial corrections, there's no mandated nights, you get your scheduled time off, you deal with just the inmates and their lawyers not their family. Sometimes you do work short but there's more job satisfaction overall.”

He adds that the environment is much like a community within a community, where you establish respect and trust while advocating for your patients.

Shane would also recommend this field to any nurse looking for a challenge, explaining that there’s a lot of diversity in your day from the way you book appointments, to finding different care options.

But what he really finds rewarding about correctional nursing, is the change you get to see.

“Most of the time, they leave corrections in far better shape than when they come in. It's rewarding to work with a patient population who are essentially the Underdogs,” says Shane. “They break the definition, they break the mold when they never come back. You do see your share of repeat offenders, but some come in and learn to read and write, and never come back into custody. It’s impressive how they keep going, they're not giving up, no matter what they've been through.”