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Her Majesty’s Prison Service needs nurses to take care of inmates who, for obvious reasons, cannot simply pop in to their local general practice or hospital when they are sick or injured. These specialist nurses work in adult prisons and juvenile detention centres.
The role of a nurse working in a correctional facility is fairly similar to that of a nurse working in a traditional clinical setting. As with all medical professionals, their primary responsibility is to identify, diagnose and treat problems experienced by patients through a variety of examinations, tests, medical procedures and prescription of medication. It is also their job to ensure that the patient is fully aware of courses of treatment and procedures available to them so that they can play a role in, and have some control over, the care they receive. Having said that, with the high level of illicit substance abuse concentrated in prisons, nurses working in correctional facilities are more likely do deal with physical and psychological disorders related to substance abuse than those working in hospitals and medical facilities.
They are actively involved in practical areas of healthcare, performing duties such as checking patients’ vital signs, cleaning and dressing wounds, connecting IV’s (the tubes which are attached to a drip), administering vaccinations and medications and advising patients on the best ways to maintain a healthy and hygienic lifestyle. They often assist more senior healthcare professionals in performing surgical or complex procedures.
Nurses keep and update patients’ medical records and make sure necessary records are passed on to other medical professionals who also deal with the patient.
Working as a nurse in a correctional facility might sound daunting, but all careers in nursing are very well respected and can be extremely rewarding.