Bella was sitting in her car, in the staff car park, trying to mentally prepare for her shift which was about to start. She glanced at her phone, she had 5 more minutes before she had to start heading in. She ran a brush through her thick, auburn hair and tried in vain to make it look somewhat presentable. When she had given up on her hair, she checked her phone one more time before chucking it in the glove box. When she had started at the jail it had taken her a while to get used to not being allowed to bring her phone into work, now it didn’t bother her that much. She grabbed her clear, specially issued prison bag and started towards the gatehouse.
When she was inside the main reception, she put her bag on the desk, gave herself a quick pat-down and stepped through the metal detector. Bella always made sure to check her pockets herself before stepping through the scanner as she had been told some of the officers could be a little enthusiastic with the pat-down if the scanner went off. It was for this reason she also wore a sports bra, as the metal wiring in normal bras pretty much guaranteed a pat-down. The officer seemed slightly disappointed that the scanner had not gone off and proceeded to take her temperature, as per the new Covid procedures.
Luckily for Bella, there was no random bag check today and so she grabbed her bag and went to get her keys. Once she had collected her keys she headed to the back door and waited for the gate officer to unlock the big padlock preventing her from proceeding to the clinic. Having to wait for people to open doors for her was still weird for Bella to get used to considering she was a fairly independent person. Once the lock was removed she headed across the first courtyard to the locked door separating her from the second courtyard. This was one of the few doors in the jail that Bella could unlock with the limited amount of keys issued to the nursing staff. She found the biggest one and unlocked the door, making sure that it had closed properly behind her. She then buried her keys in her pocket as she had not yet secured them to her belt.
This courtyard was a lot nicer than the previous one as it had trees and gardens and even a nice pond in the middle. Bella was on the afternoon shift so it was midday when she entered the jail. At this time the inmates were at work, there were only a few around the courtyard as most of the others worked in different areas of the complex during the day. She was past one inmate who was standing in the middle of the pond with some heavy-duty gumboots on. Bella wasn’t exactly sure what he was doing in the pond but she didn’t have much time to think about it as she was going to be late if she didn’t keep moving. She continued past the square where most of the officers were sitting around a table. Bella felt a bit uneasy as she continued walking to the clinic as she could have sworn she felt someone staring at her.
Finally, she reached the clinic and heard the reassuring click of the door locking behind her. She proceeded to sign in and fill out the Covid declaration that had to be completed upon entry every shift unless you wanted to face the wrath of the NUM. She walked to the other end of the clinic and into the staff room where she stowed her bag and took her oversized work jacket off. Aria, one of her colleagues came in behind her and gave her a big hug. Aria was not much older than Bella was, Aria was 25 and Bella was 21. Aria started beaming and expressing how excited she was to be working with Bella this afternoon.
Aria exclaimed, “It’s going to be sooooo good working with you, I feel like we haven’t worked together in ages! How are you feeling about tonight?”
“What do you mean?” asked Bella looking extremely confused.
“Well for starters you’re in charge, and secondly since I’m working overtime and the managers won’t approve a shift longer than 12 hours, you will be alone for the last hour and a half of the afternoon shift. Didn’t anyone tell you?” asked Aria, looking a little concerned.
Bella had not known either of these things before starting her shift and she was starting to panic a little. “But how can I be in charge? I’m only a new grad? I thought you had to be an RN for at least a year before you could be in charge?” Bella’s head was reeling, she was struggling to process all the implications of this new information.
“You work in a jail sweetie, normal rules don’t apply here. You know the managers don’t give a fuck and will do whatever they can to save money. But don’t worry I will help you get everything organised before I leave and I’ll give you all the numbers of people you can call if anything goes wrong.” Aria tried to look reassuring, but even she knew that this whole situation was a recipe for disaster.