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Is working as a prison nurse for me?

What comes to your mind when you think of working in a prison? A frightening job that everyone is terrified of, or a rewarding career choice for many nurses?

In our blog series, Is It For Me? we will be taking a closer look at specific healthcare roles and specialties; what they entail and whether this might be the right career path for you. The spotlight this time is on prison nursing and why you should consider it as your next career choice.

What qualifications do I need?

To work as a prison nurse, you need to have qualified as a registered general nurse or registered mental health nurse and have the skills to work in a very fast-paced environment. It’s not necessary for you to have experience within a prison setting, as those entering prison work come from a wide range of nursing backgrounds.

What is it working in a prison?

Prison healthcare services are created to provide prisoners with the same care that patients receive within a hospital setting, so being a prison nurse is not much different than being a nurse in a hospital, requiring you to attend to the various needs of vulnerable patients.

However, your role in a prison will use a wider range of healthcare knowledge, with focuses across general nursing, mental health and substance misuse problems. You will be supporting prisoners who are at greater risk to themselves or others. Therefore, good conflict management and communication skills are essential for a prison nurse, as well as problem solving skills. Unlike hospitals, there are no crash teams in a prison setting, so you will often be first on the scene to deal with any major health-related incidents.

The prison setting is an extremely safe workplace due to prison officers being present for all interactions between nurses and prison patients.

Female health professionals can work in male prisons and vice-versa and there is no gender preference.

Is prison nursing for me?

Our specialist prison recruiter James says: “A role in prison nursing can provide opportunities that other environments cannot. Regardless of your experience, each day varies greatly from providing general healthcare to specialist care for mental health, substance misuse, learning disability and palliative care patients.

After speaking to many nurses working in the prison service, we have established that they’ve gained skills that many workplaces do not teach them. Our general nurses learn a wide range of mental health and substance misuse skills, while our mental health nurses pick up general skills that allow them to work within primary care settings.
The environment can be intimidating at times, but staff have constant support by the officers and other members of the team. Prison nursing isn’t for everyone, but those who choose it can find a very rewarding career.”
The personal and professional rewards that come from being a prison nurse are well worth it, and if you embark on a career in prison nursing you will have an incredible opportunity to make a real impact on the lives of vulnerable people and support them in their recovery, both mentally and physically.
Here at TFS Healthcare, we have a dedicated prison nursing team that can answer all your questions and support you in your choice. If you are interested in expanding your skills and trying prison nursing, register with us today or give us a call on 020 7407 1122.