245437 Nursing in jails and prisons: An integrative literature review

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 4:50 PM

Diane Hatton, DNSc , Primary: Public Health Nursing, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
Anastasia Fisher, RN, DNSc , School of Nursing, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA
Michael Gates, RN, PhD , School of Nursing, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
Background and issues: In 2008, the Pew Center on the States reported that prison growth had led to 1 in every 100 US adults being incarcerated. This burgeoning population experiences well documented health risks and disparities including substance abuse disorders, severe mental illness, communicable disease, and chronic physical conditions. Delivering healthcare in jails and prisons is notoriously complex. It is also difficult to staff these institutions with qualified healthcare providers for a variety of reasons including greater opportunities in the “free world” with better salaries and resources. Nurses constitute the largest segment of this jail/prison healthcare workforce, and research indicates they play a critical role in prisoner access to healthcare. Description: The purpose of this integrative review is: to conduct a rigorous examination of historical and contemporary literature related to nurses practicing in jails/prisons; and to identify the most salient research findings and issues confronting this segment of the public health nursing workforce. The review utilizes established healthcare databases and other pertinent documents such as statements from correctional healthcare accrediting organizations. Lessons learned: Findings indicate a well documented tension between caring for prisoner patients/clients and the priorities of custody; variable interactions between custody and nursing personnel; and problems encountered in the management health problems in complex jail/prison environments. Recommendations: The results of this integrative review indicate a need for attention to the issues facing the jail/prison nursing workforce and research into the relationship between the characteristics of this nursing workforce and prisoner/patient outcomes.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
Discuss 3 issues facing the jail and prison nursing workforce.

Keywords: Prisoners Health Care, Practice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a public health/community health nursing educator and researcher for over 20 years working with nurses as well as clients who have been homeless and/or incarcerated. I have published numerous manuscripts on this topic in peer reviewed journals.
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.