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What is the Role of Prison Nurses in UK

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What is the Role of Prison Nurses in UK

A prison nurse provides health care to people under confinement the criminal justice system in various settings. Inmates can be in women only, open and high secure prison. Others are in city or county jails that detain arrested individuals facing trial for a crime who are not convicted. Young offenders’ institutes hold both pre-trial and sentenced youth although those who commit serious offenses can be sent adult facilities. Prison nurse are direct employees of the prison service, NHS or by some organizations providing service on behalf of NHS. You can work in women only, open and high secure prison.


In prison, nurses usually work within general practice settings. They collaborate with an array of professionals including general practitioners, other doctors, psychological therapists, pharmacists and prison staff. Prison l nurses perform a similar role to nurses working in the general practice only that more focus on the mental condition of the inmates and substance abuse is necessary.

Qualification for Prison Nursing

To serve as a prison nurse, you must be NMS registered preferably with qualified in adult, learning disabilities and mental health. You may be required to state your understanding and experience of the UK custodial environment and criminal justice system about the role of a prison nurse.

You will then get additional training on aspects of nursing relating to prison work on top of the normal continuing professional development. Prison specific training is also available for other roles including vocational qualifications in custodial care, health care manager leadership, and trans-cultural healthcare practice. You can find professional, comprehensive induction programs at local level especially when you work for NHS. It is essential to have a commitment to learning and keeping skills and knowledge up to date. Role of Correctional Nurse

If you qualify for prison nursing, your role will include taking various tasks which you would perform even if you were a general practice nurse. These tasks include:

  • Obtaining blood samples
  • Wound management for minor, complicated and leg ulcers case
  • Men’s health screening
  • Women health including doing cervical smears
  • Smoking cessation

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Nurses are usually the first health care staff to attend to an inmate who has a medical condition in an incarceration facility. A nurse must carry out a thorough assessment to determine the right care requirements. The next step is to provide direct nursing care or make arrangements for a physician or a specialist practitioner to see the patient. Prison nurses should work closely with correctional officers in situations like monitoring inmates who require medical attention or emergencies in the holding units.

As a nurse, you must face the challenges to provide maximum healthcare in such confined setting with a design for two other purposes, publican safety and security. You need to be creative to work with limited resources.

Levels of Prison Care

The level of nursing care in prisons and jails will differ according to time of contact with the patients and context of the care. Jails have much inmate turnover and those who occupy them are individuals who have come from their usual living environments. It means there is need for more care as new inmates could be having communicable diseases. Others might be having alcohol and drug withdrawal symptoms. It is important to be alert about emergent and urgent conditions. Prison nursing involves longer contact with the inmate population. It is necessary for management of chronic conditions and enhancing a stable healthcare environment.

Communication skills and a likeable personality are crucial for prison nursing. You should be good in offering support to the patients and resolving conflicts as prisoners are likely to engage in verbal abuse or violence. You should also be a good listener, advisor and good in making judgment.


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