245150 Public health nursing student experience with the prison population

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Diane C. Martins, PhD, RN , College of Nursing, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI
Ginette G. Ferszt, PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC , College of Nursing, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI
Background: Nurses frequently provide care for inmates following their release in acute care and community environments. Negative attitudes toward prisoner populations has been discussed in the literature. However there is no literature that addresses nurses' attitudes and experiences with this population. Information gained from this study will help nursing educators better prepare nurses to deliver more comprehensive and sensitive care for more diverse patient populations.

Method: A qualitative exploratory descriptive design was used for this research study. Public health nursing students at the University of Rhode Island self selected for a prison health experience in the senior year. On the first day of class, the research study was described and participation was optional. The Attitudes Toward Prisoners Scale was administered prior to and at the end of their 13 week practicum at the states correctional facility. Weekly reflective journals were also used to explore their experiences.

Results: The public health nursing student's journals reflected a wide range of responses from expression of fear to social injustice. The attitude scale showed a decrease in negative attitudes about prisoners across several categories.

Conclusion: The students reported that this was “one of the best experiences” they had had in nursing school. The students reported that the experience will help them to be less negative when a patient enters the emergency department or acute care hospital units in prison clothing and chains.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss the prison health experience for public health nursing students. 2. Evaluate impact of the prison health experience on public health nursing students.

Keywords: Prisoners Health Care, Public Health Nursing

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Public health nurse and educator for 30 years. Worked in prison health with nursing students. Participated in home visiting program for pregnant women and women with children after release from prison.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.