Thisis an interview of a Public Health Nurse that seeks to find out herroles and responsibilities as a forensic correctional nurse. BrendaBlake is the interviewee for this interview she works as a forensiccorrectional nurse at the Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility.She has worked in this facility for the last seven years on nightshift from 6pm to 6am. The facility works in partnership withcorrections Corporation of America (CCA) which is located in TutwilerMississippi.

Therole of Nurses in this setting

Accordingto Ms. Brenda Blake, she explained that having worked in the facilityfor seven years she has learned that forensic nurses’ functions invarious roles based on their setting. Being a forensic correctionalnurse, their primary responsibility is to offer guidance to thevictims of assaults, perpetuators and their family (Schoenly, 2012).Blake explained that the forensic nurses are trained mainly to gatherand preserve data that are utilized for an efficient crimeprosecution (Schoenly, 2012).

Tobe effective in discharging their duties, she said that the forensicnurses work in partnership to other collaboration team members forinstance the correctional officers and physicians when offering careto inmates. She further elaborated that forensic nurses are open andflexible to partner with other public health nurses to address injuryprevention (Schoenly, 2012). She suggested this profession is aunique one because it involves the intersection of the law and thehealth care. As such forensic nurses must be proficient in both thenursing skills and legal system.

Sixfunctions of the forensic nurses

Ms.Brenda provided six main functions of the forensic nurses they carryout duties in such roles as sick call nurse, med pass, wound care,intake nurse, pharmacy nurse and charge nurse. She highlighted thatthese are the major daily responsibilities of forensic nurses at thefacility and other correctional facilities. Tallahatchie CountyCorrectional Facility (TCCF) has a specialized daily routine whichBlake gave the outline of the tasks carried out. At most cases theresponsibilities in the facility are divided among the nurses therebyenabling each nurse perform a single function on a daily basis.According to her, this routine differs significantly from the usualdaily duties of other facilities (Schoenly, 2012).

Forinstance on a usual day, Ms. Blake may be assigned duty as a sickcall nurse. This is a responsibility which involves a nurseaddressing any sick calls during that given day. Blake explained thatsick calls are forms that are made available in each unit whichallows the inmates to give specific request such as medicaltreatment, report sexual abuse, medication refill or even to report apending riot (Schoenly, 2012). When she is not working as a sickcall nurse, Ms. Blake on other days is engage in other activitieswhich comprise of pill pass, tuberculin skin test and read,organization of medications, wound care, medical code and intake. Sheexplained that a pill pass is a terminology that describes the mannerin which medications are administered to inmates such as thescheduled medication (Schoenly, 2012). In this process nurses aresent and assigned each unit where respective inmates often report tothem through the pill window. The inmates are required to provideappropriate identification in order to be given their medication.

Blakenoted the fact that Tuberculosis is a common and wide spread diseasewithin the facility, thereby she usually spends most of the timeadministering Tuberculin skin test or reading them (Schoenly,2012).Because of the severity of the disease, some inmates are permitted tokeep non-hazardous medication within their cells. Therefore, Ms.Blake is normally responsible to organize these medications and thendistribute them to the respective inmates (Schoenly, 2012). She saidthat sometimes she is required to attend to medical emergenciesthroughout her day such as addressing injuries, fights and even deathcases.


Ms.Blake said that this facility handles jail inmates who are usuallyserving different jail terms ranging from those serving less than twoyears to those awaiting sentencing (Lancaster &amp Stanhope, 2014).The facility houses the inmates from California who are convictedwith drugs and murder charges. It also serves assaulted or sexualabuse inmates and those convicted with gang violence charges. Thesecomprise the population housed at the facilities that are dailyserved by Ms. Blake. According to her, she said that in the event aninmate is diagnosed with a terminal illness, they are usually takenback to California facilities where they will serve the remainingtime (Lancaster &amp Stanhope, 2014).

Thescope of practice

Ms.Blake explained that there are several principles which spell thescope of their practice. According to her, forensic nurses areprevalent and compromise a growing and diverse group in the UnitedStates. They provide treatment and care for individuals, families,communities and populations in systems where intentional andunintentional injuries occur. Their practice is independent andcollaborative as required in various settings whenever and whereverlegal and health issues intersect. She said that their practice androles varies across different settings, the type of violenceexperienced and the population served. In their profession, she saysthey develop and evaluate programs of care concerned with the injury,victimization, abuse, crime, violence and exploitation at the state,community, individual, district, provincial, national andinternational levels (Bachmeier at al., 2015). Blake highlightedthat their profession is guided by nursing science, forensic scienceand public health principles to offer care for families, patients,populations and communities.

Standardof practice

Ms.Blake clarified that their standard of practice is comprehensive toprovide appropriate and effective services to the patients (Bachmeierat al., 2015).This involves standard assessment, diagnosis, outcomesidentification, planning, implementation and evaluation. She said allthese offers an enabling framework that guides their professionalpractice (Bachmeier at al., 2015).

Diseasesand reported injuries

Ms.Blake said that the most common disease within the facility includestaph, hepatitis, hypertension and tuberculosis. These diseases areprevalent in most correctional facilities because they are mostlyovercrowded coupled with poor sanitation conditions. She said staphinfection is treated using Bactrim DS usually administered orally.Tuberculosis choice treatment involves isolation of inmates alongsidemedication such as Rifampin or Isoniazid. For Hepatitis C infectionsshe said is commonly treated using Ribavirin. Finally she saidHypertension cases are treated using normal blood pressuremedications just like other people with HTN.

Fourneeds of Community met by this facility

Accordingto the Blake, the facility has played an invaluable role for thecommunity. It has facilitated employment of the local population thusaddressing unemployment challenge. She said the facility is committedto rehabilitate the inmates which in the process rid the community ofany unnecessary malpractices. It contributes to the revenue collectedas the facility is subject to tax payment. In addition, she said thefacility participates in curbing waste and thus protection of localecology because it uses environmentally friendly materials and bestpractices that reduce water and energy consumption (Mississippi Boardof Nursing, 2012).

Politicaland organizational influences which affects the services provided bythe facility

TheAmerican with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), prohibitsdiscrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons withdisabilities (Mississippi Board of Nursing, 2012). This provisionaccording to the nurse must be accommodated in the facility byproviding the disable inmates with wheelchairs, specializedhealthcare and phones that are TDDY capable (Mississippi Board ofNursing, 2012). She said such organization influences nurseperformance because such specialized care is demanding compared tothe regular care for the normal inmates. The OSH Act, champions themaintenance of healthful and safe workplaces. In effect she saidnurses must strive to comply with OSHA regulations and thus providesafe practice when providing care (Mississippi Board of Nursing,2012).

Stateand federal regulations that affect interviewee state


Ms.Blake pointed the following state regulations to directly affecttheir nursing practice. ‘The Mississippi State Department of Healthsets standards, regulations and recommendations for health and carefacilities, and licenses facilities and practitioners ofhealth-related professions that affect public health’ (Schoenly,2012). According to her, this state regulation expects nurses touphold the state health regulations, standards and recommendations.The other regulation is ‘Mississippi Board of Nursing is a consumerprotection agency that is responsible for the quality of nursing carerendered by practitioner of nursing to the consumer of health care’(Schoenly, 2012). Blake explained that the regulation regularlyaccess the quality of nursing offered in the facility which in effectdemands them to maintain quality nursing practice within the facility(Schoenly, 2012).


Shepoints that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) isconsidered the lead federal agency which oversees protection ofhealth and safety of the People (Schoenly, 2012). Through CDCcampaign, she said they are becoming direct implementation personnelof this regulation as they maintain and improve the health of inmatesmaking part of the Citizens of the U.S. The other federal regulationis ‘The Department of Health and Human Services is the UnitedStates government’s principal agency for protecting the health ofall Americans and provides essential human services’ (Schoenly,2012). And lastly she pointed out ‘Food and Drug Administration isthe federal agency responsible for ensuring that foods are safe,wholesome and sanitary, biologic products, and medical devices aresafe and effective’ (Schoenly, 2012). She explained that all theseregulations affect their practice.

Explainfour Healthy People 2020 objectives. How can these goals beaccomplished using the three levels of prevention?

Blakegave four Healthy People 2020 objectives that include reducingphysical assault, reducing sexual violence, reducing homicides andreducing hospitalization for non-threatening injuries. She said theseobjectives are significantly shaping the operation in the facility.To make the most of these objectives, Blake highlighted that primaryprevention level involves risk factors identification and initiatingprograms which promote safety and prevention of violence. At thesecondary level care should be provided which is direct and timely toboth inmates with injury and perpetrators of crime. At the tertiarylevel, Blake suggested that appropriate therapy must be administeredonce injury has occurred.

Threeprofessional memberships

Ms.Blake said she is a member of several professional organizationswhich include American Correctional Association that joins thecorrectional and healthcare professional together to solve importantissues (American Nurses Association, 2015). The American CorrectionalHealth Services Association that serves to address the needs ofhealthcare correctional professionals (Schoenly,2012). And lastly shesaid she is a member to International Association of Forensic Nurses.

Staffingrequirements and patterns for the facility

Ona daily basis, the staff comprise of five nurses both during the dayand night shift. Physicians only operate from 8am to 5pm on a dailybasis. She said that nurses serving on night shift are required tocontact the physicians by phone (Schoenly, 2012). Normally the ordersare received electronically and the physicians are required to placeany new orders into the computer (Schoenly, 2012).

Correlationbetween her job description and her practice

Ms.Blake being a correctional nurse, her job practice and descriptionare similar to the nurses operating in other health care. She assistspeople with injuries, illnesses and those disabled. Her nursingpractice is guided by nursing process of assessment, planning,intervention, implementation and evaluation in line with theestablished philosophy (Schoenly, 2012).

Barriersthat exist

Blakesaid the facility is sponsored under the billion dollar contract ofCalifornia because majority of the inmates comes from California. Assuch she said it follows the state and federal regulations ofCalifornia though the correctional facility is based in Mississippi.She said the facility faces several barriers in its attempt to adhereto the ADA standards. Further she said the facility is not accessibleto handicapped persons which require that any inmates with handicapissue must be taken back to California (Schoenly, 2012).

Whatis the educational preparation of this nurse? Is the nurse certifiedin his/her area? What certifications are available in his/her area ofpractice?

Accordingto Blake a correctional nurse does not require real education, butshe said within the facility a five day orientation is usuallyconducted to make any new nursebecome aware of the codes andpreparedness for inmate altercation (Schoenly, 2012). To beconsidered qualified she said that a nurse must have Tuberculosisscreening and ACLS certification (Schoenly, 2012). She saidTuberculosis screening is a major certification because TB isprominent in the facility. Blake claimed it is her qualification thathas enable her work for seven years in the facility.

Identifythe ways this experience broadened your understanding offacilities/services available for the treatment/prevention of acutehealth alterations and/or health promotion

Thisexperienced gained from this interview has significantly enlighten myview on forensic nursing practice. Initially I had perceived theprofession to play fewer roles in promoting health issues but throughthe interview I have gained a better grasp of the profession. Forensic nurses enhance health on a daily basis by approvingappropriate diets and activities for inmates suffering from certaindiseases. Therefore, I have understood that forensic nurses areinvolved in the treatment and prevention of any health alterationthrough their regular education to inmates.


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