Working as a prison nurse? It’s not for me… Or is it?
What does working in a prison conjure up in your mind? Possibly thoughts of a scary, dangerous job that’s somehow inferior to working in a hospital or clinic? The truth couldn’t be more different. We take a look at some of the many benefits that prison nursing jobs can offer and challenge you to take the bait.
Pulse is a leading supplier of nurses to Her Majesty’s Prison Service that currently comprises around 130 open prisons, high secure units, women’s prisons and young offender’s institutions across England and Wales.
Most prisons have a general practice setting where its nursing team – as well as a range of other health professionals including GPs, pharmacists and psychological therapists – is based. Team members are either employed directly by the prison service, by the NHS or by organisations delivering services on behalf of the NHS. Female health professionals can work a prison nursing job in male prisons and vice-versa so teams are multi-disciplinary and there is no gender preference.
Healthcare services in prisons are designed to provide prisoners with the same care that those outside of prison would receive, which means a prison nursing job is very similar to that of a nurse working in general practice. The prison environment is incredibly safe – arguably safer than in some hospitals and definitely safer than the streets – with prison officers present throughout all interactions between inmates and nurses.
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The higher concentration of mental health and substance misuse problems in prisons means that prison nurses can expect to support more patients who are at greater risk to themselves or others than generally seen in GP surgeries. Good conflict management, listening and communication skills are essential as are good judgement and the abilities to problem solve and offer sound advice.
Compared to the daily routine of working on a hospital ward, prison nursing jobs can be richly diverse. There are no crash teams in prison so nurses are often first on the scene to deal with any major health-related incidents. Before entering prison, many inmates have overlooked their health and so bring with them a range of health issues. Prison nursing jobs create development in areas such as triaging, rapid response, health promotion, sexual health and vaccinations. They also allow the opportunity to offer support to doctors performing minor surgery.
All in all, prison nursing jobs can be hugely rewarding, offering endless opportunities to learn and develop. There are very few environments as diverse and many of our agency nurses who work regularly in prison healthcare tell us they get to build unique relationships with their patients. It’s not necessary to have previous experience within a prison setting – nurses enter prison work from a wide range of nursing backgrounds. Different prisons require different clearances which the team at Pulse will help you obtain – as soon as this is done you’ll have access to a wide range of shifts across the country.
So have we piqued your interest? Pulse is looking to speak to any registered general nurses and mental health nurses who are interested in working in this unique setting. If you have any questions about working in a prison environment, or would like to hear about the shifts available, please contact us.
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