Primary care nursing sister @ South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust

Employee Image - Gillian

Gillian is Acting Primary care nursing sister in Prison healthcare, working as part of a multi- disciplinary team delivering person-centred care within HMP Maghaberry.

Hi Gillian, Can you tell us how about your job and what you do from day to day

Prison healthcare covers all 3 Prison sites in Northern Ireland; HMP Maghaberry, HMP Magilligan and Hydebank Wood College. I am based in HMP Maghaberry were I am responsible for leading the Primary Healthcare team. Our team consists of GPs, staff nurses, committal team, night staff and healthcare support workers. Our staff nurses work in treatments rooms in the 9 residential locations throughout the prison. Their tasks include administration of supervised swallow medications, MDT care planning for those struggling to cope, venepuncture, dressings, sexual health screening, triage, complaints, GP clinics, management of long term medical conditions, and emergency response 24 hours a day.

What experience/education is required in order to preform this role?

Essential qualifications are registered nurse; we have a wide range of Adult, Mental health and learning disability nurses working is prison healthcare.

What is the biggest challenge in your role?

Prison healthcare is a very challenging environment to work in. Our patients can be vulnerable and we enter often at a possible point of crisis. Personally I find this the most difficult part of my job; we work with patients who view themselves as worthless, on a cycle of substance misuse. When working with many of these young men, I can see their potential, and I find it upsetting that they are in the position they are, and frustrating that I can’t do more for them.

What advice would you give to others looking for a job in your field?

A nurses’ role within a prison setting is very different to the traditional nurse, nursing in this environment requires staff to advocate what is best for the patient, even if it is against their own moral standards, have strong assessment and triage skills, and the ability to work with a wide range of patients with different kinds of illnesses that may not be in the nurses’ speciality. It is important that staff nurses are confident in their own practice and comfortable working within policies and procedures for both South Eastern trust and Northern Ireland prison service.

What do you like best about your role and working in HSC?

I work as part of a very experienced team, this includes our Mental Health, Clinical Addictions and onsite pharmacy, and learn from these various disciplines. Also, no two days are the same working in this environment, care needs are ever changing. Prison nursing is a very unique role, and can be very rewarding.