You might have thought about serving inmates confined within prisons or considered becoming a healthcare provider for the criminals. The people within confinement facilities are usually neglected and this makes prison nurses a necessity for these environments.
Being a prison nurse is an uncommon choice because people believe the cell is not a safe space for them. While that stands true, you must know that the prisoners are unlikely to hurt you because they know you are there for providing them with treatment and easing their pain. Moreover, the prison has a high level of security, and this reduces the chances of getting physically harmed to negligible.
Furthermore, practicing medicine amongst criminals can be a daunting, vulnerable task. But this is what makes it more rewarding. As a nurse, you would be leaving a substantial impact on those who are neglected and are suffering.
Prison nurses can be employed by the prison, the NHS, or even the best nursing agency. A prison nurse should be a specialist with sufficient exposure and knowledge because people in prisons are generally combating mental health issues and substance abuse. So, the healthcare professional needs to be qualified. You will have to get an adequate qualification and register yourself with distinctive bodies. You may have training in learning disabilities, adult nursing, or mental health. Apart from this, you must possess the skills mentioned below –
- You can get the patient to confess truthfully about their alcohol consumption, usage of drugs, or suicidal thoughts so that you can obtain honest answers to questions regarding their medical, social, or psychological history.
- You are fairly smart, can protect yourself from pranks, and persuade patients to follow the treatment as well.
- You should have an open mind. The prisoners are usually addicts or patients with mental health issues. Listening to their horrifying stories but still treating them needs you to have an open mind.
- You should be mentally and emotionally strong so that no one can deter your spirit. If your siblings or friends sought your protection in the childhood against bullies, being a correctional nurse might not take a toll on your mind.
- You must be able to balance your personal and professional life to avoid burnout. The environment in prison can be intense and dull. Hearing the disheartening stories of so many people while giving them treatment is not going to be easy. You must ensure that your personal life does not get affected due to your work life.
Reasons Why You Should Become A Correctional Nurse
#1 A Safe Option
It is believed that prison is not a safe space for healthcare professionals. But you must know that the security procedures within a prison ensure great security of the staff. You would be surrounded by officers whose duty is to protect you from violent patients or criminals. In the case of other healthcare facilities, this kind of protection is missing. You might have to deal with unsound and violent patients alone, which can be scary.
#2 Intriguing Medical Situations
You will be witnessing a variety of interesting cases while working in a prison. A lot of prisoners live in unfortunate conditions and may have underlying ailments like leprosy, tuberculosis, and more. Prisoners who used to live in the streets might have bowel and stomach related disorders. They may even suffer from digestive issues and other diseases due to their living conditions in prison. It is common to see criminals with dental issues as well. So, a dental health specialist is often required within correctional facilities
In a healthcare facility, top management is more concerned about healthcare. In the case of correctional facilities, the medical unit is just a support service provided to the patients in the prison. The senior management is concerned more about overall safety. So, as a nurse, you would have to negotiate with the administration and peers about your patients’ welfare.
#4 You Will Receive Appreciation
Most prisoners are not exposed to healthcare treatment in correctional facilities. But when they have a prison nurse on the premises, they realize the importance and appreciate the effort, care, and attention they receive from them. Additionally, only a few people have received health care before being imprisoned. So, the ones who are getting care for the first time appreciate the caregiver. You may also end up changing the lives of those prisoners.
#5 Managing Stress
Being a nurse is stressful. Working in the correctional facility is even more stressful. Patients are usually victims of neglect, abuse, and trauma. So, you would be absorbing stress around you. You may even feel crippled due to everyday pain and suffering as well as compassion fatigue. So, you must give a lot of time to self-care and focus on your overall well being.
The Bottom Line
Correctional facilities are now focusing more on the mental and physical wellbeing of the prisoners, which requires an increased number of prison nurses.