There are a lot of things you learn working as a nurse in a jail that nursing school doesn't prepare you for. Like how many crushed up pills stuck to a piece of tape can actually fit inside someone's ear to be smuggled into the jail. Or how to get an injection into someone's forearm when their arms are tightly shackled to their belly.
Recently I learned about a whole different world of fingernail clippers.
On Sundays the officers come to me for clippers to hand out to inmates. Then they go back around and collect them from the inmates and bring them back to my office where the night shift nurse gets to clean them. I know, it's a glamorous job.
For months now I've gotten the same old yellow bucket full of bagged up clippers out of the storage room. Until now, I never noticed that something was written on the bucket. On the outside there is a piece of paper taped to it that says something real clever like "Clippers For Sundays".
I noticed that there was something written under that piece of paper that's taped to the front of the bucket. I couldn't get the paper off, so I had to read it like this...
|NON SHANKABLE CLIPPERS|
in case you can't read backwards.
How exactly does a fingernail clipper get to be designated non-shankable? These clippers look and act like any other clipper with nothing special to set them apart from any others I've seen. Now I wonder, have I only ever met non-shankable clippers and there's a whole set of these other clippers that I never knew about?
Who was the person that questioned which type of clippers these were, making this sign a necessity? Seeing this brought out so many questions that I never knew I needed answers to. I may never get the answers I seek but I feel safer knowing that our jail only supplies clippers that cannot be made into shanks.