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Nurses working in prisons provide similar services to those who work in a GP practice, as well as integrated mental health and substance misuse services.
Training and qualifications required
To work as a nurse in a prison you’ll need to be a qualified, registered nurse and hold a current registration with the NMC. Training will be provided to help you adapt to this unique environment. There is no specific qualification required to enable a nurse to work in a prison. Informal visits are encouraged, so contact the relevant healthcare provider for the prison site for further details. Anyone applying to work within a prison will go through an enhanced prison vetting process.
Expected working hours and salary range
Most jobs in the NHS are covered by the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay scales. This pay system covers all staff except doctors, dentists and the most senior managers. Prison nurses in the NHS will usually start at band 5 and work standard hours of 37.5 per week. Many prison nursing jobs will be outside of the NHS, such as the National Offender Management Service, where terms and conditions can vary.
Desirable skills and values
Your personality and communication skills are crucial components of being a prison nurse. A good knowledge of the criminal justice system and how it relates to your role will also help. Conflict management skills will be important for a job in prison nursing as there is a risk of violence and verbal abuse.
With further training and experience, prison nurses can apply for more senior nursing roles, such as senior practice nurse/nurse practitioner and advanced nurse practitioner positions either within prisons or general practices.
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