Prison Nursing: Formation of a Stable Professional Identity [2017]

Aim: The aim of this study was to analyze how working within prison environments can influence the self-identity and professional identity of nurses.

Background: The prison environment can be a difficult environment for nurses to deliver care within, with nurses having to carry out activities that seem to go against their professional role, while at the same time providing care to prisoners who have greater health needs than the general population. There is a lack of theoretical consideration of how prison nurses carry out their role in the face of such challenges.

Method: This study used a review of literature published over the last 11 years exploring nurses’ beliefs, thoughts, and feelings toward delivering care within prison environment.

Implications for Forensic Nursing: With time, nurses working within prison environments develop specific skills to be able to deliver appropriate care to their patients. These skills include adapting to both the prison environment and the prison culture. Ultimately, adaptations lead to a change in identity allowing nurses to work effectively within prison.

Conclusion: Providers of prison healthcare should ensure that induction (orientation) processes for new nurses are designed to address specific challenges that nurses face including the potential for cognitive dissonance. They should ensure that nurses receive training to develop and acquire the skills highlighted in this review. Ensuring that this training is in place may increase nurse retention.

Choudhry, Khurshid MSc; Armstrong, David PhD; Dregan, Alexandru PhD

Journal of Forensic Nursing, January/March 2017 – Volume 13 – Issue 1

doi: 10.1097/JFN.0000000000000140