Ten years ago in 2013, Correctional Nurse Advocate and dear friend Lorry Schoenly wrote a Correctional Nurse Manifesto. In the next few weeks, I will be sharing the essence of her writings combined with some of my own thoughts. I believe this is as appropriate to our practice today as it was 10 years ago. I hope this will encourage you to take a few minutes and think about your correctional nurse practice.
Correctional nursing practice is full of landmines. We often walk a serious path through a jungle of sometimes tangled and conflicting values and norms. A map is always a help in foreign territory. Over the last few years I have had opportunity to consult with correctional nurses in a variety of settings as they struggle to provide much-needed care to an often challenging patient population. As correctional nurses we must, at times, advocate for patient health needs in an environment of conflicting priorities and shrinking resources. It is easy to get discouraged and disconnected from the professional nursing values that originally provided meaning to our nursing practice.
A manifesto is a declaration of intention, motives and values of a group. It provides a true-north reading for group members to revisit during times of uncertainty. It makes visible the meaning of professional being and action. Affirmation statements can re-center us to those values of importance. With that in mind, we would like to suggest Seven Affirmations for a Correctional Nurse Manifesto. I will discuss each of the seven affirmations and its importance to correctional nursing practice in upcoming posts.
A Correctional Nurse Manifesto
As a correctional nurse, I will strive to:
- Treat incarcerated individuals with the dignity and respect deserving of any patient;
- Work within my scope of practice at all times;
- Not become cynical to the health requests of my patient population;
- Hold myself and my peers to the professional boundaries of practice;
- Continually guard my own and other’s physical and mental safety;
- Speak up when I see degrading treatment of my patient population; and
- Be a force for good in the community in which I work;
So, what do you think of these affirmations? Are these important intentions, motives, and values for those of us providing nursing care in the criminal justice system? Are they relevant today? Did we miss anything? What would you add to a manifesto for correctional nurses? I look forward to hearing from you in the comments section of this post.