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AUG 01/2013

Becoming a prison nurse

Nursing jobs offer a highly-rewarding and challenging career, where no two days are the same. The roles are varied, but if you consider yourself as compassionate and with a commitment to people then it could be the position you have been looking for.
Nurses can be required to work with people of all ages and backgrounds and interact with almost every member of healthcare and hospital staff, from accident and emergency to patients' homes. They form the largest group of staff in the NHS and are crucial to providing healthcare in a variety of institutional and domestic settings.
To become a nurse you will need a degree in nursing or to work your way up from a healthcare assistant role to a nursing degree course. There are other career routes, however, so it is important to research your options and seek professional guidance when making this important decision.
Each of the different pathways will depend on your personal circumstances, including factors such as your education history, work experience, any locum work you have undertaken and also your financial situation.
These may also later affect your career options once you have graduated and are fully qualified to take on a nursing position.

Prison nursing

There are many different career paths you can decide to follow after graduating. These could be decided straight away or you may request to move at a later date. However, depending on the nature of the position you may have to undergo agency work, placements or further education/training in order to do this.
Specialist nursing jobs are one option many people choose, however you could instead move into management or aim to reach consultant level.
Prison nursing is another area in which you can move into once you have received your nursing training.
A prison nurse can be employed either by the NHS, an organisation providing prison healthcare services, or directly by the prison service and the role is often compared to working as a practice nurse in a GP surgery.
However, as can be expected, the position is arguably more challenging - this largely due to there being a higher concentration of patients who have mental health or substance misuse problems.
Before joining an institution as a prison nurse you first need to be a qualified, registered nurse.
In order to improve your chances of being hired to work in a prison, it is preferable that you would have some experience of working with adults, mental health, or those with learning disabilities.
This can be achieved through placements or taking on agency nursing jobs, which allow you to widen your skill set.
In addition to continuing professional development activities before working in a prison, you will get training on how your work will need to be adapted to this new setting.
There are comprehensive induction programmes available at a local level and prison-specific training including healthcare manager leadership training and vocational qualifications in transcultural healthcare practice and custodial healthcare training.

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