Nursing Leadership in Prison

Nursing Leadership in Prison

Nursing leadership entails actions, advocacy as well as critical thinking which are all common to all roles and domains of practice within nursing. According to Weiss & Tappen, (2014), nursing leadership has an impact on the immediate lives of the individual nurses as well as the whole healthcare system and patients who are on the receiving end in the whole process. The provision of nursing services within a correctional center is relatively different based on the structure of the unit. However, the nursing roles remain intact to impact the lives of the inmates.

Nursing leadership is critical in a complex surrounding such as a prison. The entire nursing team working in the correctional area acts as leaders to spearhead the negotiations concerning the clients and create positive changes in the care that they receive. For the leaders within the prison setting to gain trust and respect which are vital in service delivery to the inmates, they have to display competency, care, and capability.

The nurse leader is tasked with various responsibilities within the prison which he or she ought to attend to. These entail acting as a leader and assisting the inmates in working towards impacting change in their surrounding while also adapting to their conditions (Wong, 2015). Being in a correctional center, the nurse leader can use transformational leadership by noting the skills and competencies of the various inmates and members of the staff to meet the nursing objectives. In so doing, the nurse utilizes the expertise of the inmates thus keeping them engaged.

Other roles entail placing more focus on health promotion activities as well as prevention of illnesses. The nurse working in prison intervenes early enough in the instances where illnesses occur to prevent the transmission. At the same time, the nurse provides support to the inmates having chronic health problems. The nursing leadership is also responsible for communication both with the security personnel and the professionals within the setting as well as the inmates themselves. It is through strong communication skills that the nurses can provide care that is client-centered.

Nursing leadership in prison is crucial based on the fact that prison is a unique setting of care provision since, besides the care, other legal system and issues surrounding the presence of the inmates also exist. For instance, various issues exist within prison such as security maintenance while also providing health. The nurse leader is then crucial in acting as a mediator and creating opportunities for the differences that may erupt to create conflict. Nursing leadership in prison also turned to be an area of choice because unlike any other setting of care provision, the prison has increased equity, health needs among inmates as well as security. Irrespective of the situation, the nurse leader have to exhibit a range of skills that entail emotional intelligence, negotiation, conflict management and strong abilities geared towards teamwork and inter-professional collaboration.

List the priority or issue and explain why you chose it.

One of the priority issues that are of concern in nursing leadership within the prison setting is inter-professional collaboration. This aspect revolves around working together amongst various specialists within the prison setting to deliver care. In the nurse-led hospital wings for the prisoners, there usually exists tension between care and control of the prisoners based on the perspectives of the healthcare professionals and security apparatus working and visiting the area (Hean, Willumsen, & Ødegård, 2017). The choice of collaboration practice is anchored on the basis that for proper healthcare delivery to the prisoners, they ought to get served by various spatiality that at all times must be in continuous coordination. This will allow continuity of care as well as better their stay within the prison as they undergo the corrective processes. The collaboration ought to include nurses, prison healthcare officers as well as others who in one way or the other interacts with the inmates, e.g., Inreach team or counseling Advice, probation, medical, Referral, Security and Assessment and Through Care team officers.

Structure of the organization contributing to inter-professional collaboration

Organizational structure describes how an organization operates towards the achievement of its goals. It defines role allocation, Coordination, and supervision. The various levels of management in prison in various units which include: healthcare, kitchen, and dining, library and education, recreational and fitness, security, control unit, counselling, and rehabilitation are supposed to work in coordination ensuring the staff members under them are acting appropriately, giving the best care, addressing all duties and complying with the prison’s legal requirements while maintaining order. . For all of this to be achieved mainly in prison where there are numerous units that need to work hand in hand to achieve its legal role, there is a need for inter-professional collaboration.

The organizational structure also defines to whom the various staff and managers in the different units are supposed to report to the routine reports and in case of an incidence beyond what they can handle. Organizational structure gives a hierarchy of operations within the organization in this case prison. In case something goes wrong with a prisoner or a care provider on the ground that needs to be addressed, there is a chain of order that is followed in handling the problem. It calls for inter-professional collaboration, more especially when the matter is concerning more than one unit, for them to come up with the most appropriate solution.

As a nurse leader in prison, it may be difficult for one to achieve inter-professional collaboration by their efforts. The objective of bringing the various professionals in various fields in prison together, making them work in cooperation, is more achievable when all the levels of management are involved; low, middle and top level. Through understanding the organizational structure and various individuals appointed or elected in different levels, a nurse leader can identify the individuals to involve in establishing inter-professional collaboration. The top managerial will make inter-professional collaboration a policy, the middle managerial level will reinforce the same to be implemented by the staff at the low level.  By this the concept of collaboration will be readily accepted and adopted by all staff serving the prison fraternity with the prisoners receiving the best-integrated services and best outcomes will be expected.

Power dynamics that contribute to inter-professional collaboration

Power dynamics plays a significant part when it comes to nurturing the culture of inter-professional collaboration in the workplace in this case prison. Power dynamics poses a challenge in achieving collaboration between professionals about whether to collaborate, with whom and to what level (Li, Matouschek & Powell, 2017). Such decisions have an impact on the care receivers, especially on the experiences they encounter. Two themes usually emerge between professionals concerning power dynamics. The foremost is the use of their power to protect their autonomy. This may come as a result of a misunderstanding of the state of being autonomous while working in collaboration as a team. Secondly, others reduce interdependency between them and other professionals to maintain their power.  As a result, individuals isolate themselves or even conflict with others in the name of being independent not knowing the decision they make an impact on the other profession. Difficulties brought about by shifting the balance of power in inter-professional relationships can be curbed through building trust and respect using various interventions aimed at building a personal relationship and establishing agreed policies that will boost collaborative care.

Role of multiculturalism and diversity

Culture involves ideas, customs, and social behavior of a particular people, society or even profession. Different people have different ideas and customs depending on the environment they have interacted with. Sue, Rasheed & Rasheed (2015), claims that this influences their thinking, beliefs, and attitudes towards various subjects. Some cultures agree on various subjects, and others differ. Professionally, employees working in the same organization exhibit more similarities than differences, but despite the many common attributes employees share, there still exists cultural differences that bring diversity as well as a wealth of experience to the workplace. All the same, individuals and organizations cannot continue to deny the sometimes uncomfortable realities of cultural diversity.  Employees working in the same setting ought to have cultural tolerance to allow peaceful coexistence. At the same time, diversity and multiculturalism pave the way for checks towards equity and reasonable consideration that ought to accommodate the assumptions from various individuals.

In inter-professional collaboration, diversity and multiculturalism act to bring various individuals together with the aim of learning more about each other and getting to know new thing s about various culture. In so doing, the diversity instead acts to bring members together making them have a feeling of oneness. The diversity also brings the aspect of individual consideration which makes the plan for inter-professional collaboration to be staff-centered. In the long haul, the needs and competencies of the members will be achieved.

Considerations to put in place while planning

In organizing for inter-professional collaboration, it would be critical to consider engaging the various specialists within the prison in inter-professional educational activity. It is through such educative activities that the members of various disciplines will be able to explore their contributions in the provision of popular services to the inmates. At the same time, the activity is likely to enhance creativity that will see exploration on the abilities of the staff members thus come up with new ways to approach the teamwork activity. Also, consideration is placed on the number of the various specialties which will determine the time allocated for the presentations during the educational activities geared towards exploring the various professional areas.

Structure of organization influencing decision

With the correctional department involving various security officials and with different ranks, many specialists that work to rehabilitate the inmates and other stakeholders that support the correctional services, it would be essential to involve all of them to make the plan successful. The involvement will entail seeking support from the top leadership as well as mobilize the grassroots members of the staff. This move will see the issue gain support that will see it to not only go through but become a prison culture that will change the service delivery in the unit.

Leadership skills vital in addressing inter-professional collaboration

Communication skills will be essential in passing the collaboration agenda. This skill will be crucial in the explanations of various goals and specific tasks to the various members in a clear and succinct manner. By use of emails, social media, phone calls, joint staff meetings and one to one communication to members of the various departments will communicate the unity issues within the prison. As a nurse leader, however, the communication will entail more of listening to get views from various specialists on enhancing teamwork.

Besides communication, motivation will be essential in the getting the staff members towards working together (Kearns et al., 2017). The i9nspiration may take the form of teambuilding in a usual manner that will not only make them enjoy the vent but also get energized towards working with prison staffs from other disciplines. Moreover, utilizing the delegating skill will be essential to spread the aspect of collaboration. The representatives from various discipline members from the prison will enforce the collaboration within their departments before having the overall collaborative activities from all the staff members.

Multiculturalism and diversity within organization impacting the plan

Diversity is critical in keeping the biases all the staff members in prison in check. In so doing, the majority will opt for supporting the plan to get in line with the assumptions that may be existing within the environment (Falender, Shafranske & Falicov, 2014). The diversity is also crucial in observing the inclusiveness that would be geared towards every individual taking part in various activates. While planning for collaborative activities, the diversity among the staff members will also assist in collecting various views that when incorporated will make the plan easy to implement.

Theories and practices of power essential in determining and implementing solutions

In relation to elitist theory of power that considers existence of a class of rulers in social organizations that performs vital functions and a large class that is on the receiving end of the leadership, it would be critical to take the leadership position with more seriousness due to the responsibility pegged to it (Garner, Ferdinand & Lawson, 2016). In enhancing the collaboration among the members, then this theory would be critical in leading the staff members in working as a team. For instance, in the conduction inter-professional educative activities, the nurse leader applies the elitist theory of power to meet the objectives of the program.

Performance evaluation plan for determining implementation of inter-professional collaboration

The performance will be subjected to evaluation via gathering views of the staff members via both surveys and unstructured interviews. The views would be directed on the attitude towards the inter-professional collaboration plans and activities. The information will also be gathered from the inmates since as the service users, the inter-professional collaboration can translate to better services which can be recognized by the prisoners.

The development plan for acquiring the skills needed to implement the issue.

For effective leadership, the improvement will be directed towards interpersonal skills that would see all the prison staffs feeling comfortable to approach the case of problems or concerns. These can be done through spending some substantial time in listening to views from other prison officers as well as listening to multiple views from individuals which directly communicates respect for them and their ideas (Kouzes, 2014). By complimenting colleagues for work well done or even remembering the names of the staffs recently met gives an upper hand to execute the inter-professional collaboration since the nurse leader is viewed as a unifying factor.

Evaluating personal skills is also an aspect of the development plan in developing the needed skills. The nurse leader conducts a periodic assessment of their skills that would see them confirm the presence of various competencies that are essential for their operations within the unit. Since nursing leadership requires knowledge that is usually subjected to change, conducting this assessment after every three months is sufficient to keep the acquired skills in check.

The development plan can also be on the aspect of increasing knowledge on the care provided in a prison setting which besides the nursing care has the issues of security and correctional matters that is expected from the inmates. The nurse leader works towards improving the personal skills sets. He or she makes a list of the areas that needs can be the attainment of a new skill or improving on existing abilities that would see the leader be well all round to spearhead the collaboration agenda. Being competent in various fields translates to meeting the expectations of interest of various staffs hence attracting them to a single meeting point to enhance teamwork. Increasing personal knowledge may require sacrifices such as prison related conferences, taking online course pertaining inter-professional collaboration and subscribing to professional blogs that will expand the knowledge on handling various staff members and providing them with morale to work together.

Inspiring other prison staffs can draw the nurse leader to them hence having a conducive avenue to push for inter-professional collaboration (Kouzes, 2014). The nurse becomes even a better leader by encouraging the team members to achieve their personal goals. Involving the staff members in planning for the team goals such as healthy practices to be observed by the inmates makes them feel important and get on the move for new projects such the inter-professional collaboration. The inspiration can be in the form of setting high standards for the members to challenge them or even rewarding them for the hard work and promoting teamwork.

A summary of what you have learned in the process of doing this project

It was vital to note that nursing leadership is critical in the delivery of care to a particular group and setting such as the prison. It is therefore essential to employ various leadership skills to meet the diverse needs of the patients as well as other specialists within the setting which in one or the other attend to the inmates. Due to diversity and multiculturalism that bring the prison staff together, employing various strategies ought to meet the expectations of various individuals within the setting and the results are provision of quality services to the inmates as well as peaceful coexistence among the staffs from various cultures. In line with diversity and multiculturalism still, it was work realization that as a nursing leader cultural and linguistic competency is needed to handle various individuals that include both inmates, colleges, and visitors to the unit. Such competencies allow for teamwork as it acts as a unifying factor that recognizes the uniqueness of every individual.

The project was useful in digging deep into the vitality of personal development which is required for a nursing leader to allow a continuous update that would ensure better service delivery. Such knowledge does away with the comfort zone to keep the leader challenged thus equipping him or her with the new know-how in handling unit mattes such as inter-professional collaboration.


Nursing leadership in prison is a unique area that requires special attention by the person in charge. Leading the care team in a setting marred by security and working towards achieving behavior change among the inmates may be challenging. It is through various skills such as interpersonal skills, inspiring others as well as the engaging of the various specialists within the unit that the nurse can be able to plan for priority issues. Based on the diver nature of services offered within the unit, one critical issue that needs special attention is inter-professional collaboration which brings all the staff members together. The coordination of care among the nurses, psychiatrists and security officers among other service providers allows smooth delivery to the inmates. It is through improvement of personal skills to the nurse leader as well as the assessment of such skills that the nurse can ensure the goals are met.




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