Specialties Correctional


Hi, I am a nursing student doing a paper on the professionalism and ethics of prison nursing in comparison to historic roles of nurses. Do you work by a different code of ethics? Do you think your care and compassion is altered? Do you have a hard time with bias? Thanks in advance if you can help me out!

When I bacame a nurse I was all about being a patient advocate and no matter who or what a person did or was, they deserved compassion and clinical skills as best as I could perform. When I became a correctional nurse, i felt that I did not want to know what the person did to be in prison, so it would not alter my care in a negative way.... Well that kind of thinking almost got me killed. Well, my thoughts now are that it is a matter of my personal safety. A prisoner told me I reminded him of his mother. I thanked him. He then attacked me. His crime: He had killed his mother... I looked like her. Had I read his charges and know his issues with women with red hair.... I would have taken precautions.....Correctional nursing is different. You do not pass out Stickers and Lollipops after tending to a wound. You also have to deal with medical needs VS security needs.... It is a whole diffent ballgame.

I've just been in corrections (casual) for the past year.

When first interviewed for the postion my answer to that very question, was that they are people and as such have a right to be treated no differently than others.

Having now been there for the past year, I can answer from experience that I haven't had a problem with bias'. The facility in which I work is a Detention Centre, meaning these people are being held until their trial is complete, or serving two years less a day. The inmates we have are some times being held for murder charges, rape, drug and related charges as well as immigration holds.

For the most part, each R.N. working provides the same unbiased individual attention to the inmates we treat. Perhaps the only difference would be the offender you know to be violent, in which case you tend to be a little more wary of the potential of his actions.

Good luck with your paper. Hope the info has helped!


I have been a nurse for 8 years. I am currently working at a prison camp. I think it is natural to have biases regarding the patients that you are working with. There are some people I like better than others. Also, there are always going to be incidences that include transferance and countertransferance with patients. It is important to be aware of these feelings and biases so that nursing care can be provided as objectively as possible. In response to your question, I would like to answer no. The ethical concerns are the same for inmates as they are for patients outside the prison setting. The only differences ethically include the following:

Security of the whole takes presidence over the health and care of one inmate. In other words counting inmates during count time is more important than the health care of an individual. If he is not dying at that moment, he can wait.

And there may be a situation in which a nurse can carry a weapon and may have to shoot an inmate if the need requires. This is extremely rare. In the military, there are rules associated with medical staff carrying weapons.

I hope this helps with your paper

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