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Career advice

Prison nursing: opportunities, autonomy and known risks

Prisons can be dangerous places but the risks are known and are planned for. And with prison healthcare often nurse-led, there is a lot more to the role than people may realise, writes Lynne Pearce.

Prisons can be dangerous places but the risks are known and are planned for. And with prison healthcare often nurse-led, there is a lot more to the role than people may realise, writes Lynne Pearce

If you’ve never considered prison nursing or discounted it as dangerous, it’s time to think again, says Ben Tolley, who is responsible for healthcare at eight prison sites in Northamptonshire and neighbouring counties.

‘Lots of people have preconceived ideas, but the reality is different,’ he says. ‘Once we get people through the prison doors, they understand more. Of course there are challenges, but the opportunity to deliver good quality healthcare is strong.’

A nurse for 17 years, Mr Tolley joined Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust in 2003, taking up his present role as head of speciality services three years ago. ‘We’re a one-stop

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