Behind the Scenes of Health Services and Behavioral Health

Behind the Scenes of Health Services and Behavioral Health

Licensed Practical Nurse debunks stereotypes, finds right career

Doors open and close. Patients check in and out. The clinic is open and women are being treated and cared for at the Nebraska Correctional Center for Women (NCCW) in York, NE. Licensed Practical Nurse Michelle McAlevy loves to keep moving and being busy. She has worked at the facility since 2006.

McAlevy came to NCCW located in York, Nebraska for two reasons. She wanted a shorter commute to work from her home in the surrounding area and was ready for a change from the work she did at nursing homes. She found both. ”When I first started here, I was a little nervous because all I knew was what I’d seen on TV,” she said. “But I really enjoy it. I treat the women as I would want to be treated and I’m proud of the fact that we get to take care of their medical needs when some of our patients may never have had that opportunity before.”

She knows coming to NDCS was the right fit. “We’re like a clinic,” she said. “We see a lot of people here every day and enjoy being efficient. We follow protocol, do x-rays, vision checks, assist with mental illness, dental appointments and also have a skilled nursing facility with call lights on beds similar to hospitals.”

McAlevy also helps coach interns who come to the facility to gain experience in nursing. “We never have the same day twice,” McAlevy said. “The medical experience we get at any of the facilities is interesting and unique. We get to see things here that other doctor offices never get to experience. I’m always growing and learning.”

At the end of the day, watching the people grow here is very satisfying to McAlevy. She believes the entire facility is teaching people to be more successful. “We’re a team in our own little community,” she said. “This is a different side of nursing. A good one.”

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Dentist sees less hassle and headaches in corrections

Moving to Lincoln, NE to be closer to his children was Dr. Eric Smith’s main goal in 2014. He has been a dentist since 1988. During that time, he ran his own private practice and saw thousands of patients over the years. When he saw the job opportunity at the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services to work as a dentist, he jumped at the chance.

“I did the whole “own my own practice” thing,” Smith said. “For me at my age, working at NDCS was a great opportunity.”

Dr. Smith talked about how his experience has been so far. “My patients at the correctional facilities are much more appreciative of the work we do than what I experienced with the general public,” he observed. “I was shocked, really.”

Dr. Smith is based at the Nebraska State Penitentiary. When needed, he also works at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution (TSCI) and Nebraska Correctional Center for Women (NCCW) in York, NE.

“For a lot of the patients, it’s their first time coming to the dentist,” Smith noted. “They recognize we’re not disciplinarians and are here to help them. They want to come here. They say thank you all of the time.”

Dr. Smith said his work at the facilities is less stressful than when he ran his own business. He said it is nice not having to deal with the insurance side of dentistry. “We primarily focus on getting them out of pain and work to maintain what they have. This job is a good fit for me,” he said.

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Dental Assistant honored to work with caring leaders

For Dental Assistant Sandy Wolfe, helping people has always been a focus in her life. She calls herself a “people person” and finds dentistry interesting and engaging work. She dedicated nearly four decades of her career to a local practice in central Nebraska. But when her former boss retired and sold the practice, it was time for a change.

“For my next place of employment I really wanted a shorter commute and another team atmosphere,” said Wolfe. “I have both now.”

Wolfe applied to work at the Nebraska Correctional Center for Women (NCCW) in York, Nebraska and has been there since the early 2000s. She says she found just what she was looking for and even surprised herself with how much she likes it. “I really enjoy dentistry here. The incarcerated women are respectful when they come in.”

Coming to work every day inside a facility is rewarding work to Wolfe. “We have great leadership here,” she said. “I feel we can really talk to our leaders and they listen.”

Wolfe takes pride in her role of assisting with the management of the dental clinic, and enjoys her teammates and nurses in the medical department just down the hall. “We really work as a team,” she said.

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If you're interested in applying to Health Services, NDCS has several positions open. Below is a list of a variety of Health, Behavioral Health and Social Work positions offered at NDCS.

- Physician / Physician Assistant

- Nurse Practitioner

- Physician

- Dentist

- Pharmacist

- Pharmacy Manager

- Nurse Supervisor

- Registered Nurse

- Licensed Practical Nurse

- Radiology

- Medical Records

- Psychiatric Director

- Psychiatrist

- Psychology Director

- Psychologist

- Mental Health Practitioner

- Mental Health Registered Nurse

- Administrative Assistant

- Staff Care Technician (Certified Med Aide)

- Dental Assistant

- Laboratory Scientist

- Medical Radiographer

- Medical Records Clerk

- Optometric Aide

- Pharmacy Technicians 

- Social Work Director

- Certified Master Social Work Supervisor

- Certified Master Social Worker

- Clinical Program Manager

- Chemical Dependency Supervisor

- Chemical Dependency Counselor

- Chemical Dependency Treatment Specialist

**Unpaid Internships Available** 

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