Correctional health nursing

Correctional health is often described as an emergency department crossed with a general practice. Correctional health nurses provide healthcare to those incarcerated in the criminal justice system in a variety of settings such as jails, prisons, remand centres and juvenile detention. The nursing team are often the first health professional prisoners will see in regards to health care. 

As soon as a prisoner enters the prison, the nurse works with the health care team to conduct a physical and mental health assessment, prioritising the prisoner’s health and medication needs. 

Correctional health nurses care for a relatively stable population, allowing regular contact with prisoners over their period of incarceration to address chronic conditions or other priority health issues. Despite the fact that correctional health nurses work with individuals who have committed crimes, they must be able to treat each other with respect, compassion and understanding. 

Examples of nursing activities in correctional settings include emergency care, coordinating and delivering nurse-led clinics, health promotion activities, liaising with the interdisciplinary team, coordinating care, conducting health assessments, alcohol and drug treatment, providing immunisations and chronic disease management.

One of the most important relationships is between the nursing team and the correctional officers. The two professions must work closely with each other to ensure emergency situations are managed and the health and safety of health professionals is always assured. Due to the processes in place and the working relationship with the correctional officers, nurses often feel safe in the correctional health environment.

As a nurse working in correctional health, membership with APNA can help you connect with other nurses in correctional health, advance your knowledge in areas relevant to correctional health, safeguard your registration with quality and cost-effective professional indemnity insurance, and make informed career and professional decisions with access to the member-only Nurse Support Line.

So what are you waiting for?

Start exploring your career as a nurse in correctional health
Take a look at what APNA membership could mean to you

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