Prison nurse

Prison nurses do a similar role to nurses working in general practice but with a greater focus on mental health problems and substance misuse.  

This page has information on being a prison nurse and links to further information.

Working life 

As your role would be similar to that of a general practice nurse, you will undertake a number of similar tasks including: 

nurse on phone

You’ll also be working with people who have a higher concentration of mental health and substance misuse problems. This may mean offering support to patients who are at greater risk to themselves or others than those seen in GP surgeries. You may also offer support to doctors performing minor surgery. 

Where will I work?

Prison nurses employed either directly by the prison service, by the NHS or by organisations delivering services on behalf of the NHS. You may work in open prisons, high secure units, women’s prisons or young offenders’ institutes. 

You are likely to work within a general practice setting within a prison. You’ll work with a range of other professionals including GPs and other doctors, pharmacists, psychological therapists and prison staff.

Entry requirements 

To work as a prison nurse, you need to be qualified, registered nurse, preferably in adult, mental health or learning disabilitiesYou may be asked for experience, knowledge or an understanding of the criminal justice system or custodial environments in relation to your role as a prison nurse. 

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