Prison Nurses’ Professional Identity


Recruitment and retention to the specialist field of Health and Justice Nursing, specifically prison nursing, is problematic in the UK. This article considers the background to the current situation in prison nursing and summarises some of the existing literature and research relating to this specialty to raise, for discussion and debate, issues which are pertinent to the concept of professional identity and professionalism. Role definition, resilience and burnout, and education within HJS nursing are identified in relation to the development of professional identity. If professional identity, role definition and education debates take place these are likely to impact problems of resilience, burnout, recruitment and retention. The article explores whether having a strong sense of professional identity could impact favourably on prison nurses’ ability to tap into their innate resilience and ameliorate the effects of emotional, personal and professional burnout. It could be that professional identity is the missing link to recruitment and retention.



prison nurses, professional identity, resilience, burnout, education


Goddard, D., de Vries, K., McIntosh, T., Theodosius, K. (2019) Prison Nurses’ Professional Identity. Journal of Forensic Nursing, 15(3), pp.163–171


Research Institute

Institute of Health, Health Policy and Social Care