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									Prison Nursing



Prison Nursing



© 2002 by Blackwell Science Ltd,                            First published 2002 by Blackwell Science Ltd
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To Teresa and Peter, my parents, who have always supported me in my chosen
profession and who have helped me to balance the joys of being a parent with
achieving a career that gives me so much pleasure.
   My father would have been proud to have seen this book published had he
still been alive.
   And to all prison nursing staff: be creative, be positive, be proud!
                                                             Annie Norman

     Acknowledgements                                                  vi
     Contributors                                                     vii
     Abbreviations                                                    xi
     Preface                                                         xiii

 1   The Context of Prison Nursing                                     1

 2   The Role of the Nurse in Prison Healthcare                      14

 3   Prison Health: Policy Development                               27

 4   Understanding and Changing the Dynamics of the Prison Culture   45

 5   Enhancing Practice through Education                             58

 6   Educational Developments of the Nursing Team                     75

 7   Legal Issues for Professional Practice                           96

 8   Quality Healthcare: Inspectorate Issues                         118

 9   Opportunistic Healthcare: A Governor’s Perspective              135

10   A Reflective View                                               178

     Index                                                           191

We would like to thank the editorial staff at Blackwell Science, especially
Antonia Seymour, firstly for agreeing to publish the book and secondly for
being so supportive and helpful through its early stages.
  We owe particular thanks to Joan Hodsdon, Project Manager at Bookcraft,
and her colleagues, especially Elma Burton who was kindness personified in
helping us through the final stages prior to publication.
  We both recognise that the book could not have been completed without the
help, guidance and goodwill of Sally Thomson, and we are more than grateful to
  Finally, we say a big thank you to the contributors to the individual chapters,
without whom there could not have been a book.

In April 2002 the UKCC was replaced by a new regulatory body, the Nursing
and Midwifery Council. Based at the same building as the UKCC its address is:
23 Portland Place, London, W1B 1PZ (Tel: 020 7333 6697; Fax: 020 7333
6698; Website:
  The NMC’s first action was to produce a Code of Professional Conduct,
which became effective from 1 June 2002.
Contributors                                                               CONTRIBUTORS
                                                                          PRISON NURSING

Lindsay Bates
RGN, DN, MBA, Director of Nursing, Prison Health Policy Unit/Task Force
(England and Wales)
Lindsay trained as a general nurse in the mid 1970s. She worked as a district
nurse in the early to mid 1980s before moving into nursing and general manage-
ment in the NHS. Lindsay worked as a hospital manager in the independent
sector from 1991 to 1994 before returning to the NHS as a director of nursing
for a community and mental health NHS trust in north London and subse-
quently an acute NHS trust. Lindsay was seconded to HM Prison Service from
1999 to 2000 as Nurse Advisor and was appointed as Director of Nursing,
Prison Health Policy Unit/Task Force from July 2000. She is responsible for
nursing issues, dentistry, workforce development issues (including professions
allied to medicine (PAMs), and new technologies.

Maddie Blackburn
RGN, RM, Dip HV CERT, HED, MSc, Grad Dip Law
Prior to joining the Commission for Health Improvement (CHI) as a clinical gov-
ernance review manager in December 2000, Maddie was the Children’s Policy
Officer at the Law Society. She has advised solicitors on issues relating to children
and young people, drafted amendments for parliamentary bills and responded to
government consultation on behalf of the Law Society. Between 1997 and 2000,
Maddie was a trainee then practising solicitor specialising in claimant and defen-
dant law; this included personal injury, NHS litigation, childcare, mental health
and regulation law. Maddie regularly speaks at conferences in Britain and at
international events on childcare issues, consent, confidentiality, mental capacity,
human rights and the Data Protection Act. Maddie is a qualified nurse, midwife
and health visitor and obtained her MSc for her work on sexuality, disability and
the law. In 1998 Maddie was a specialist health visitor to HMP Holloway. She

has had a number of texts published related to her work and is currently the joint
editor of the RCN’s child protection newsletter. She is a member of several
learned societies and serves on the British Paediatric Surgeons Ethics Committee,
International Research Society for Spina Bifida and /or Hydrocephalus and the
RCN’s Child Protection Forum Executive.

Rannoch Daly
BA in Business and Administration
Rannoch joined the prison service as an assistant governor in 1972. He worked
with young offenders and adults, in high security and open prisons and at Prison
Service Headquarters in the Human Resources Directorate. He was appointed
Governor of HMP Hull in 1990 and HMP Leeds in 1997. He joined the Prison
Health Task Force in June 2000 and has been responsible for reception screen-
ing and information management.

Stephen Gannon
Stephen trained as an RMN in Napsbury Hospital, St Albans, in the mid 1970s and
later as an RGN at Central Middlesex Hospital in 1985. When asked what was the
best job he’s had, he said that it was as a charge nurse on the wards for nearly eight
years. More an ancient mariner than a ‘modern matron’! Two ENB courses, a
diploma in management studies, an incomplete Master’s dissertation and a Royal
Yachting Association day skipper qualification later, he found a berth in the prison
service in 1994. Stephen was the first chair of the Royal College of Nursing’s Prison
Nursing Forum and consistently rattled the chains until the fettles broke in 1998.
He helped his family to found a successful private residential home and can be
found occasionally wandering through a reception area near you. Stephen main-
tains an active interest in the Royal College of Nursing’s Prison Nursing Forum as
its newsletter editor. His ambition is to cruise the Caribbean in his own boat (not
his current Enterprise dingy!). He was created an MBE by Her Majesty in the Mil-
lennium Honours in recognition of his work for prison nurses and received a career
special recognition award from the Nursing Standard in 2000.

Maggi Lyne
RGN, Nursing Inspector, HM Inspectorate of Prisons 1993–2000
Maggi had an impressive career in the NHS which culminated in her becoming
the Chief Nursing Officer for Ealing Health Authority. She was renowned for
                                                          CONTRIBUTORS        ix

her creative, innovative and no-nonsense style of management. She moved from
the NHS to join Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons for Health Care.

Rhoda McCausland
BEd (Hons), Cert Ed (FE), RGN, RM, HV, FWT, HV Tutor and Professional
Rhoda lectured in health visiting/community nursing at the University of Ulster
before taking up the post of Professional Advisor for Community Nursing/
Higher Education at the Northern Ireland National Board for Nursing, Mid-
wifery and Health Visiting. She was deeply involved in the development of spe-
cialist practice in Northern Ireland during her time at the Board. Since early
retirement she has maintained a keen interest in the continued development of
the profession. Rhoda worked closely with Alan Parrish in his time as RCN Pro-
fessional Officer for Prison Nursing and was particularly helpful in identifying
the skill base of the nurse working in the prison environment.

Ann E. Norman
SEN, RGN, Specialist Practitioner – Practice Nursing; Assistant Director of
Nursing, Prison Health Task Force (England and Wales)
Ann trained in Southampton in the 1970s. She developed her career in commu-
nity nursing in the mid to late 1980s. Ann joined the prison service in 1995 at
HMP Winchester, where she developed services for female prisoners. This ser-
vice development gained her Nursing Standard’s ‘Community Nurse of the
Year’ award in 1998 for her pioneering work. In 1998 Ann became Lead Nurse
at Winchester and was recognised by the prison service in 1999 with a ‘Cele-
brating Success’ award for her achievements in prisoner healthcare. Ann was
chair of the Royal College of Nursing’s Prison Nursing Forum between 1998
and 2000. She moved to the Prison Health Task Force as Assistant Director of
Nursing in 2001.

Alan A. Parrish
OBE, RGN, RLND, Independent Nurse Consultant and Writer
Alan was Deputy Head of Nursing Services at Harperbury Hospital in 1969. In
1972 he became Principal Nursing Officer in Leicestershire, with a countywide
remit. Appointed Director of Nursing at St Lawrence’s Hospital, Caterham,
Surrey, Alan has also edited a book on mental handicap. He is currently writing
another book in this area of practice which is due to be published in 2002. Alan

became the first Nurse Advisor for Learning Disabilities at the Royal College of
Nursing in 1983 and later the first Advisor for Prison Nursing at the College. He
was awarded the OBE in 1999. Alan is a prolific writer of articles that highlight
disadvantaged and disenfranchised groups of patients. He is well respected in
the nursing profession.

Les Storey
RGN, FRCN, MSc, PG Dip HE, DMS, Dip Training Management
Les qualified in 1970 and spent over 14 years in operating theatres before
moving into education and training. Les has been involved in research and
development and was involved in the UKCC Nursing in Secure Environments
Project. In October 2000 Les was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal College of
Nursing in recognition of his work in relation to competence-based education
and training in nursing. He was appointed to the Prison Health Policy Unit as
Nursing in Prisons Occupational Standards Advisor. He was seconded from the
University of Central Lancashire where he is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of
Health. Les has provided advice about the development of an infrastructure to
support the introduction of NVQ in custodial healthcare.

Sally Thomson
MA (Ed), BEd (Hons), RGN, RMN, RCNY, Dip N Ed, Dip N, Director of
Nursing Policy and Practice, Royal College of Nursing, London
Sally’s career spans both acute general and mental health nursing, with a bal-
anced experience in both pre- and post-registration. Most of Sally’s experience
was at Guy’s Hospital where she went on to become a nurse teacher working
with pre-registration students and then post-basic and continuing education
students. Sally then moved to the Royal College of Nursing where she taught
psychology and education to nurse teaching students, before moving into the
education policy arena. Since then Sally has been acting as Director to the pro-
fessional nursing department but has retained significant links with nurse edu-
cation. Sally is passionate about the development of individuals and the effect
that learning geared to individual, personal and professional needs can have on
a nurse’s development.

CBT     cognitive behavioural therapy
CHI     Commission for Health Improvement
CMG     change management group
CMHT    Community Mental Health Team
CPA     care programme approach
CPD     continuing professional development
CPT     European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Other
        Inhuman and Degrading Treatment of Prisoners
ECHR    European Convention on Human Rights
ENB     English National Board
GNC     General Nursing Council
GRC     General Research Council
HAC     Health Advisory Committee
HCC     Health Care Centre
HCO     Health Care Officer
HCPO    Health Care Principal Officer
HCSO    Health Care Senior Officer
HLP     higher level of practice
HMIP    Her Majesty’s Inspector of Prisons
HMP     Her Majesty’s Prison
HMCIP   Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons
HNA     health needs assessment
IMR     inmate medical record
IRA     Irish Republican Army
MO      Medical Officer
NICE    National Institute for Clinical Excellence
NMC     Nursing and Midwifery Council
NSF     National Service Framework
NTO     National Training Organisation

NVQ        National Vocational Qualification
OCU        observation and classification unit
PCG        primary care group
PCT        primary care trust
PER        prisoner escort record
PHPU/TF    Prison Health Policy Unit/Task Force
POA        Prison Officers’ Association
PREP       post-registration, education and practice
PSI        psychosocial intervention
RCN        Royal College of Nursing
RGN        Registered General Nurse
RMN        Registered Mental Nurse
SMO        Senior Medical Officer
S/NVQ      Scottish/National Vocational Qualificaton
UKCC       United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and
           Health Visiting
YOI        young offenders institution
Preface                                                              PRISON NURSING

The idea for this book was very much a joint one between us, and came from
our experience when we were writing articles for nursing journals in the
winter of 1998. The decision to write for nursing journals about prison
nurses and nursing was made by members of the Royal College of Nursing’s
Prison Nursing Forum, who were very unhappy about the lack of identity
and appreciation of the value of nurses working in this area of care. It was
during the preparation and writing of these articles that it became apparent
that there was a dearth of both books and articles specifically on the role of
the nurse in prison healthcare. The prison service has come under scrutiny in
recent years, and has received much publicity, both adverse and positive. The
service is entrenched in tradition, with an environment and culture that can
be hard for an outsider to understand. The regular reports of HM Chief
Inspector of Prisons, critical programmes on the television and reports in
newspapers have led to changes, culminating in the publication of the joint
NHS/Prison Service report The Future Organisation of Prison Health Care
(DOH, 1999) and the more recent Nursing in Prisons report (DOH, 2000).
Significantly for prison healthcare services this has resulted in a partnership
arrangement with the NHS in an attempt to provide healthcare to prisoners
equivalent to that offered to people in the wider community. This has always
been an aim of the prison service but sadly one that had not been achieved

Making changes
Change in any service is likely to bring about anxiety for staff, and
healthcare staff in prisons are no exception. Reviewing, adjusting and chang-
ing one’s attitudes is not easy on a personal basis but, with the revision of
patient care services and managerial practice, it is to be hoped that services
will, in the future, improve and match those of the best NHS practice.

   Staff, who for years had provided a service, rightly felt threatened at the
thought of working alongside colleagues from other local services who had been
given the opportunity to be professionally aware and up to date on current prac-
tices. Justifiably, they also had concerns about the introduction of a change in
the balance in the workforce, with a positive move to attract more nurses into
prison healthcare. With this background in mind, a nursing service had to be
developed and the individual nurse’s role established in a primary healthcare
setting that is organised and delivered within a multi-disciplinary model.
Existing staff need to be convinced that there is a valued role for nurses and that
they can contribute to the multi-disciplinary team.
   Nurses in this area of practice have had to adapt to the environmental,
cultural and bureaucratic challenges of prison life. There is an urgent need to
establish credibility by producing up-to-date research that underpins and
supports the value of the nurse’s work. Practice needs to be scrutinised and kept
under constant review, and prison nurses are professionally accountable for
their practice to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Nurses need to
ensure that they have appropriate and ongoing professional updating within the
guidelines set by the UKCC.
   The prison nurse is not only a ‘hands on’ practitioner but also highlights the
needs of his/her patients to a wider audience. This audience may not always be
sympathetic to those needs and many will not understand the complexity of the
prison population. Prisoners are from all social groups and from a range of
ethnic backgrounds and ages. It seems obvious but nevertheless necessary to
state that the population is transient and contains reluctant residents, who are
not typical of the community whence they came in terms of the use of healthcare
services. Many have not registered with a general practitioner, many have
abused drugs or alcohol and many suffer from chronic diseases.
   We feel that this book will help not only nurses, but many of their colleagues,
who, given a team approach and partnership arrangements with the NHS, can
bring about positive change in the provision of healthcare in prisons.
                                                 Ann E. Norman and Alan A. Parrish
                                                           Southampton, May 2002

DOH (1999) The Future Organisation of Prison Health Care. Report by the Joint Prison Service
 and National Health Service Executive Working Group. Department of Health, London.
DOH (2000) Nursing in Prisons. Report by the Joint Prison Service and National Health Service
 Executive Working Group. Department of Health, London.
1 The Context of Prison Nursing
      RHODA M C CAUSLAND AND ALAN A. PARRISH                                         PRISON
                                                                      THE CONTEXT OF PRISON NURSING

      This chapter examines the social context of prison nursing, explores the
      principles underpinning prison nursing practice, and makes recommen-
      dations for the integration of the key skills required for specialist nursing

The practice of nursing within the setting of a prison healthcare service is at a
specialist level, reflecting the uniqueness and diversity of the community it
serves. Research of the literature on prison nursing in the United Kingdom soon
revealed a dearth of writing about basic principles underpinning this specialist
area of practice. There are publications written by other professionals about
prison healthcare, but they tend to lack detail in the implementation of nursing
practice. For the effective and efficient delivery of health and nursing care
within the community that the prison serves, we would suggest that the princi-
ples that underpin the practice of community nursing (DHSS, 1996) be adopted
as the basis of the practice of prison nursing.
   In 1991 the UKCC, in its proposal for the reform of community nurse educa-
tion and practice, adopted the Principles of Health Visiting for all community
healthcare nurses (CETHV, 1997). The National Health Service Management
Executive endorsed the principles in 1992 (NHSME, 1992).
   The principles are as follows:

•   the search for recognised and unrecognised health and social needs
•   the prevention of ill health

•   the facilitation of health-enhancing activities
•   the use of therapeutic approaches to health and social care
•   influencing policies affecting health and social care.

The registered nurse, equipped with the skills and knowledge acquired during
general nurse training for the professional practice of nursing, will require fur-
ther education and training to transfer previous knowledge and skills and
develop them to a higher level of practice for this new and unique environment
(Twin et al., 1996).
  The UKCC document The Future of Professional Practice – The Council’s
Standards for Education and Practice following Registration (UKCC, 1994),
now superseded by Standards for Specialist Education and Practice (UKCC,
2001), clearly lays down the foundation for specialist practice, and it is within
these parameters that the practice of prison nursing should be developed.

The social context of prison nursing
The ability of registered nurses to apply sociological concepts learned during
training will be of paramount importance for the delivery of care within the new
and more diverse environment of the prison service. The diversity of backgrounds
of prisoners means that health and social needs must be assessed on an individual
  While the prison system treats all prisoners as equals within the category
under which they have been classified, nurses must consider prisoners who
come within their care with unconditional positive regard if their health needs
are to be met. This will require the nurse to examine the prisoner’s background
in terms of class, gender, ethnicity and cultural norms and, in partnership with
each prisoner, to draw up a realistic plan of care to meet identified needs.

Category A
High security prisons are recognised as being the environment for people who
have committed serious criminal offences and whose escape would be highly
dangerous to the public and the police, or to the security of the state.
  In order to assess and meet the health needs of such prisoners the nurse has to
be aware of the social class and strata from which they have come. Their needs
will be highly diverse, as prisoners come from all social strata. The nurse practis-
ing in this setting will be exposed to a much higher level of risk and stress
because of the rigidity of the top security regime required to hold these prisoners
in custody. Good team management will depend on the interaction between the
                                       THE CONTEXT OF PRISON NURSING                3

nursing team and the prison service, as well as the leadership skills available
within that team. A thorough understanding of the role of the prison governor
and prison officers is essential for the effective and efficient service necessary for
good client care.
  For nurses to practise within the law it is important that they understand the
policies that underpin the functioning of a prison. The necessity of the nurse to
practise and function within the limits set out in the The Scope of Professional
Practice (UKCC, 1992) must be acknowledged. It is essential that professional
supervision is available for the nurse and partnership arrangements with local
NHS providers will enhance and enrich this as well as making its facilitation
easier. The delivery of healthcare of a defined and acceptable quality will and
does depend on the co-operation, respect and goodwill of all personnel working
within this high security environment.

Category B
This category applies to those prisoners for whom the very highest conditions of
security are not necessary but for whom escape must be made very difficult.
Unsentenced prisoners are automatically categorised B unless they are provision-
ally placed in Category A. The application of sociological concepts, however, is
still required to ensure the delivery of efficient and effective healthcare. The nurse
is less exposed to the very rigid practices of a high security environment although
security and custody must always be the top priority in any prison. The delivery
of healthcare can be considered at a different level and programmes of health edu-
cation and healthy lifestyles introduced more easily. Prison policies still apply:
security and custody remain the priority. The registered nurse must always be
aware of the need to comply with the UKCC/NMC rules (UKCC, 1992).

Category C
Prisoners who cannot be placed in open conditions but who do not have the abil-
ity, resources or the will to make an escape attempt come into Category C. Many
Category C prisons will be there primarily for training of the prisoners.

Category D
Category D prisoners can be reasonably trusted to serve their sentences in open
conditions. Many of these prisoners will be nearing a release date from prison
and often work on a daily basis in the local community.

Women’s prisons
The physical environment of a women’s prison differs very little from that of a
men’s prison in both the high and low security establishments. The challenge of
providing good quality healthcare equivalent to that of the local NHS is an
ongoing struggle for the multi-disciplinary team. The complexity of the rela-
tionships between the professionals and the clients is amplified within this envi-
ronment. This is doubly so when women are in a system that is designed for
men, and although there have been marked improvements in the environment
over the years, it is still lacking in some of the finer requirements for a woman in
custody. The Chief Inspector of Prisons points out (Home Office, 1997) that

    The multiple and severe health problems experienced by many women who
    become prisoners are made more profound by personal and family history,
    sexual and physical abuse, their role as carers, the stress of imprisonment,
    isolation and drug dependence.

The health needs of women are significantly different from those of men and
many women who enter prison come from socially disadvantaged back-
grounds. This often means that they have poor health and a far greater expo-
sure to risk behaviour than other women and this puts their overall health
status at risk. They are also ignorant of, or reluctant to discuss or disclose,
their personal health problems. Some of these women live on the margins of
the healthcare system, with greater than average health problems (often very
numerous and complex) because of the situations in which they find them-
selves. These problems can be because of malnutrition, sexual abuse by a
number of partners, poor housing or the manifestations of living life at a very
high level of stress.
  It is because of the complex and often painful background from which some
of these women have come that sensitivity is needed when trying to provide a
service equivalent to that of the NHS outside the prison environment. Because
of their past experiences, it is a priority to ensure that these women have a
choice of being seen by a female doctor and treated wherever possible by a
female nurse, if that is their wish.
  It is also crucial to take the opportunity, while a woman is in prison, to give
her a proper health assessment and expose her to health education and health
promotion facilities. While serving a sentence in prison women should benefit
from all the actions that are taken to improve the health of the whole nation.
Women prisoners often miss out on some of the positive advances that take
place in the community in respect of women’s health, either because of their
                                      THE CONTEXT OF PRISON NURSING              5

circumstances or because, for whatever reason, they do not feel able to take
advantage of the chances on offer. Examples of services that are often missed are
cervical screening and mammography.
  The importance of implementing present healthcare policies regarding
women’s health should be and is being encouraged through the partnership
arrangements with the NHS. The establishment of a Women’s Policy Unit has
shown that the prison service recognises the special needs of women and has a
commitment to meeting those needs.

Men in prison
Men make up the majority of people who are held in prison, across an age range
of 15 years to over 80 years. Within this group there is a wide range of ethnic,
cultural and gender specific issues, and attitudes towards health. Among some
of the most important issues are substance abuse, attitudes towards sex, and
sexual practices, along with some macho-style behaviours that are often a front
or a cover for an insecure person. Men are less likely to access health services
than women and, therefore, greater emphasis needs to be placed on the role of
the nurse in prison to provide opportunities for men to be exposed to both
health education and health promotion activities. This needs to be done cre-
atively, subtly and in a personalised manner.
   It is becoming increasingly the norm in healthcare centres for men’s health
clinics (Well Man Clinics) to be organised on a regular basis. It is here that the
real issues around an individual’s health are identified and suitable treatments
arranged. Within the prison setting the nurse will need to set up health promo-
tion activities to meet identified needs, for example, screening for heart disease,
and testicular and prostate cancer. Setting up such clinics may also have the
effect of triggering health awareness issues for male staff. It is to be hoped that
the partnership arrangements with the local national health services will eventu-
ally bring about the introduction of good quality occupational health services
for all staff working in a prison environment.

Young offenders institutions
A young offender is defined as someone who is between 15 and 21 years of age.
  The environment provided for young offenders is varied because of the
diverse nature and age of the population that it serves. Such units vary in terms
of the facilities for the young offender and the regimes that are organised. For
example, Lancaster Farms, in Lancashire, is self-contained, with an emphasis on
outdoor pursuits within the confines of the institution. The nurse practising in

this setting will need to have the ability to apply both sociological and psycho-
logical concepts to this group who have particular and special needs at this
crucial time in their lives. A specialist knowledge of adolescence and family
dynamics will be required for the nurse to understand and provide the level of
care that is needed for this vulnerable group of offenders.
  The influence of policies affecting the health of this group will be of para-
mount importance: for example, health screening, smoking, masochistic behav-
iour, sexual practices, anger management therapy, etc. These young people are
often emotionally vulnerable and a staff member is commonly seen as a role
model; staff need to respect the significance and importance of this.
  If there is to be any real success, effective teamwork is essential, involving all
the professionals working within the prison to deliver the level of care required
both for primary care and to prepare for rehabilitation back into the

Detention centres
These centres are run by the prison service for the holding of detainees and they
are the only area within the service where the crime committed by the individual
is not known by the staff.

Specialist practice for prison nursing
The Future of Professional Practice – The Council’s Standards for Education and
Practice following Registration (UKCC, 1994) revised in Standards for Specialist
Education and Practice (UKCC, 2001) reaffirms four broad areas of practice for
the specialist nurse. Specialist practice requires higher levels of judgement, discre-
tion and decision-making to be exercised in these areas, namely:

(1)    clinical nursing practice
(2)    care and programme management
(3)    clinical practice management
(4)    clinical practice leadership.

The higher level of practice can be exercised in any area of healthcare delivery.
The standards to ensure this are set out in the document. As stated previously,
the registered nurse working within the prison service setting practises at spe-
cialist level. The four broad areas identified by the Standards for Specialist Edu-
cation and Practice (UKCC, 2001) therefore apply to the registered nurse
                                      THE CONTEXT OF PRISON NURSING              7

working in the specialist area of prison nursing. In order for the prison nurse to
function at this higher level of practice, appropriate programmes of education
and training need to be set up that cover these four areas.

Clinical nursing practice
Clinical nursing practice aims to enhance the knowledge and skills required to
meet the specialist clinical needs of the clients/patients within the care of the
nurse. In this case, prisoners are being nursed in an environment not always con-
ducive to the meeting of their particular and individual needs, and nurses are
working within a restrictive and regimented environment.

Care and programme management
Care and programme management relates to individuals, their families and the
environment in which they are receiving care. Co-ordination of care is the core
focus. Health promotion, disease prevention, risk-taking analysis and diagnosis
feature as key areas for competence development.

Clinical practice leadership
The specialist prison nurse will be expected to lead and deliver the health service
in response to an individual prisoner’s needs. This should equate with the stan-
dard and range of care that can be received in local national health services. The
specialist prison nurse will also support and supervise nurses and other care
staff within his or her particular remit of practice. Other skills will include
teaching, assessment and resource management. These leadership skills will
have to be practised in an environment that is governed by restrictive regimes
and the need for security at all times.

Clinical practice management
This area requires specialist nurses to set, monitor and evaluate care standards
and the effectiveness of their nursing actions. Prison nurses will need an in-
depth knowledge of clinical practice development in their area of specialism.
The need to be innovative and to use initiative should always be part of the spe-
cialist agenda in the delivery of care. Practising in prison healthcare offers
nurses this opportunity albeit they have to take into account the restrictions that
a prison naturally imposes on the way they practise.

Application of the principles to the practice of prison nursing
The search for health needs
This will require prison nurses to search and identify the physical, psychologi-
cal, social and spiritual needs of prisoners who come within the scope of their
care. It will involve an in-depth search in partnership with individuals, if their
needs are to be met within the restricted regime of custodial care. The prison
nurse may wish to use a theoretical framework as a guide to practice for the
application of the search for health needs principle. Bradshaw’s taxonomy of
need (1972) is suggested, as it considers need across four dimensions – Norma-
tive, Felt, Expressed and Comparative.

Normative needs
Normative need is defined in accordance with an agreed standard laid down by
an expert or professional and compared with a standard that already exists. The
normative needs of prisoners will embrace the physical needs of all human
beings: food, water, warmth, shelter and protection.
  Whatever the nature of the crimes they may have committed, prisoners need
to be considered with unconditional positive regard if their psychological and
spiritual needs are to be met. These needs will differ according to the value
judgements of other experts – for example, probation officers, social workers
and medical staff – particularly in the areas of nutrition, exercise, rehabilitation
and the maintenance of health.
  There will be a norm or standard set within the different areas of custodial
care. Prison nurses need to be able to question the standards set and act accord-
ingly for the benefit of the prisoner in relation to the maintenance of health.

Felt needs
Felt needs are those identified by the individual as particular wants that need to
be addressed. As felt need is limited by the perspective of the individual, prison-
ers may expect an unreasonable response to the meeting of such need. Because
of their particular mindset they may well feel all requests to meet their needs
should be granted. The prisoner may not identify unrecognised needs with
regard to health, for example, the need for behaviour change in relation to drug
taking, smoking and the maintenance of health in general. It is here that the
health needs assessment is so important and the prisoner’s involvement in that
process is the key to an accurate result.
                                       THE CONTEXT OF PRISON NURSING               9

Expressed needs
Expressed needs are the demands for felt needs to be turned into actions. The
meeting of these needs may be difficult for the prison nurse, as there may be con-
flict because of the policies and strict regime of the prison and the differing opin-
ions of other member of the prison team.

Comparative needs
The search for comparative needs will involve the prison nurse in data collection
and analysis of empirical evidence of different prison communities in order to
compare and contrast how prisoners are facilitated and treated within the dif-
ferent settings. Comparative analyses will assist prison nurses in the influencing
of policy that may affect the health of the clientele who come within their care.

Prevention of ill health
The prevention of ill health within the prison setting is of paramount impor-
tance for the maintenance of a disease-free environment and for the health of the
people within that environment.
  The prevention of ill health and the promotion of health may be based on
Caplan’s (1961) concept of three levels of prevention.

Primary prevention
Primary prevention aims at the maintenance of good health. To maintain health
and prevent disease, it is essential to have a healthy environment in which to
exist. There is a need to have the basic necessities to maintain health: for exam-
ple, clean air, food, water, warmth, adequate living space and good sanitation.
  The history of prisons in this respect is not good and many will have read of
the Victorian times when the prison was not the healthiest place in which to
spend time, with gross overcrowding and basic human functions done in a
bucket and slopped out each morning. The prison governor has a key role to
play in primary prevention by insisting that there are smoking-free zones and
that healthy meals are provided, along with the opportunity for prisoners to
have a reasonable amount of exercise. The prison nurse, in applying this con-
cept to practice, has a duty to assess the environment within the different cate-
gories of custodial care. This is to ensure that the needs of prisoners are met in
terms of a healthy environment, in order to prevent disease occurring and to
maintain the health of the prisoner being exposed to this environment. With the

growth of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV and AIDS, programmes
of prevention should be provided within the regimes of the prison.

Secondary prevention
Secondary prevention concerns the early detection and treatment of disease.
The prison nurse’s contribution to this lies in the development of disease preven-
tion schemes and the encouragement of prisoners to take up such schemes.
Programmes of this nature may include screening for heart disease, AIDS, breast
and cervical cancer, mental health issues and drug abuse. A prisoner, although
segregated from the community, is entitled to equity when it comes to
healthcare and the new partnership arrangements with the local national health
services should go some way to ensure this is achieved.

Tertiary prevention
This is an aspect of aftercare, concerned with containing and limiting the effects
of a particular condition. The nurse in prison healthcare has a duty to give and
maintain the appropriate care to all prisoners, but in particular to those with
chronic conditions or in long-term care or custody.

Protection of vulnerable groups
The protection of vulnerable groups within a prison setting is as important as
the protection of such groups outside the prison. Vulnerable prisoners may be
those who are detained for the crime they have committed but who are not
hardened criminals – for example the upper-class fraudster, the person commit-
ted for assault for protecting their own property, the mentally ill, the person
with a learning disability, the driver who has killed someone in a road accident.
The members of a team looking after such groups of prisoners need to work
closely together to protect and meet the health and social needs of these individ-
uals in order for them to survive and be effectively and efficiently rehabilitated
back into the community with their families and friends.
  The level of psychiatric morbidity among prisoners is known to be much
higher than that in the general population. About 75% of inpatients in prison
healthcare centres have mental health problems (Reed & Lyne, 2000). There
are strong recommendations in The Future Organisation of Prison Health
Care (DOH, 1999) regarding the quality and standards of care that should be
provided in the new partnership arrangements that are developing with the
                                    THE CONTEXT OF PRISON NURSING             11

•   The care of mentally ill prisoners should develop in line with NHS mental
    health and policy and NHS frameworks including new arrangements for
    referral and admission to high and medium secure psychiatric services.
•   Special attention should be paid to better identification of mental health
    needs at the reception screening.
•   Mechanisms should be put in place to ensure the satisfactory functioning of
    a care programme approach within prisons and the development of mental
    health outreach work on prison wings.
•   Prisoners should receive the same level of community care within prison as
    they would receive in the wider community, and policies should be put in
    place to ensure adequate and effective communication between NHS mental
    health services and prisons. Health authorities should ensure that service
    agreements with NHS trusts include appropriate mental health services for
    prisoners with appropriately qualified staff.

This standard of service should be the aim within every prison. If achieved it
would certainly go a long way to ensuring that these particularly vulnerable
prisoners were better protected and prepared for their move back into the com-
munity, where the seamless service envisaged would ensure continuity of care.

Facilitation of health-enhancing activities
In order to promote healthy lifestyles, the prison nurse will endeavour to stimu-
late an awareness of health needs with the clientele within the prison commu-
nity. Empowering prisoners to adopt healthy lifestyles within a rigid and
restrictive environment may be extremely difficult for the nurse. Tones (1991)
explores the concept of empowerment and refers to it as a process whereby the
individual or a community of individuals acquires power or the capacity to con-
trol other people and resources, while self-empowerment focuses on the individ-
ual’s capacity to control his or her own life. Gibson (1991) sees empowerment
as a process of promoting people’s ability to meet their own needs, solve their
own problems and mobilise the necessary resources to feel in control.
  The nurse may experience difficulty empowering prisoners to adopt a
healthy lifestyle, when they have little or no control over the prison regime or
their lives. There is a need, therefore, to work in close partnership with the
other members of the prison service, to develop action plans that will enhance
the health of the prison community and to provide health-enhancing activities
in response to identified needs. The rigidity of the regimes and the attitudes
and perceptions of the prisoners may act as a barrier to the development of
such activities.

Therapeutic approaches to health and social care
In applying this principle to the practice of prison nursing, one of the most fun-
damental questions the prison nurse must ask is ‘Why did I choose this area of
practice?’ The answer to this question is the first step to self-awareness and self-
monitoring (Long, 2001). Embraced within this notion is the belief that the
nurse’s therapeutic presence has a complex role to play in the promotion of
health, healing and recovery (Slevin & Long, 2000). Nurses can act as positive
role models. Prisoners experience healing when they come to accept what nurses
think, say, feel and believe; this acceptance can lead prisoners to experience pos-
itive interactions that give them a sense of worth and dignity (Long, 1997). To
deny prisoners such therapeutic experiences is to deny them all that is best in
humanity, beginning with the premise that nurses and prisoners are equal as
human beings. It is important, therefore, that all prison nurses are provided
with structured opportunities to explore what the ‘self’ is, and what it means to
be human, before reflecting on the use of ‘self’ as a therapeutic catalyst. This is
the basis upon which the development and maintenance of the therapeutic rela-
tionship is built, regardless of which therapeutic approach to care is chosen,
implemented and evaluated (Long, 2001). Furthermore, it is important that
prison nurses are educated and trained to work as autonomous practitioners as
well as team members who will provide a range of therapeutic approaches
appropriate to meeting the needs of individual clients and clinical supervision
(Cutcliff & Butterworth, 2001). A regular structured approach to the delivery
of care is recommended, for example, the 40-minute period of contact per week
from the first week of the prisoner’s sentence. Used wisely, the results of success-
ful scientific research can be integrated into therapeutic care to enhance and
advance professional prison nursing practice. The ultimate aim is to provide
best practice and high quality care and promote the health and well-being of the
total prison population.

Influencing policies affecting health and social care
Prison nurses are the assessors of health needs within the prison setting. They
work within the parameters of the policies set down by the Joint Prison Service
and National Health Service Executive Working Group (DOH, 1999) and The
Scope of Professional Practice (UKCC, 1992). It is their duty to implement the
policies that affect the health of the clients within their care. They also act as
agents of change. To do this they use the knowledge gained from the assessment
and analysis of the needs within their particular prison community to influence
policy change for the maintenance of good physical and mental health.

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