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Nursing People in Prisons - Conference

  • : Brisbane QLD 4001


Includes: Hepatitis C; HIV; Custody vs Caring; Psychotherapeutic Medicines; Sexual Assault; Improving Nutrition; COPD; Ethics...


High numbers of people are currently incarcerated in Australia’s prisons. This population is estimated to have much higher rates of many chronic diseases. Nurses play a crucial role in ensuring that, while in prison, these people receive healthcare that is equivalent to what they would receive in the community. An opportunity exists for nurses to take the lead and improve health outcomes for those who are incarcerated, so a conference that addresses the health needs of people in prison is timely. Topics include:

  • Why are chronic diseases so prevalent in prisons?
  • Medication update - antidepressants, mood stabilisers, analgesics and antipsychotics
  • Addiction and withdrawal in prisons
  • Nursing strategies to prevent exacerbation of asthma and complications of diabetes
  • Latest update on Hepatitis C, HIV and sexual assault
  • Legal, ethical and professional responsibilities when providing nursing care for a prisoner

Don’t miss out on an opportunity to learn and network with your colleagues. Book now!


 Print Schedule

Day One



Linda Starr

Behind the Bars - Nursing People in Prisons

Nurses working in prisons require highly specialised skills to meet the vast array of professional challenges that exist. This session sets the scene by looking at some of the key professional issues most pertinent to nurses working, or considering working, in prisons. Includes:

  • What are the major International Standards and local principles that exist for the provision of healthcare in prisons?
  • What is the doctrine of equivalence and why is this so important?
  • How does a nurse-led model of care work in prisons?
  • What are core nursing responsibilities when working in prisons?


Linda Starr

Custody versus Caring

Providing health care in correctional facilities is surrounded by numerous practical challenges. While health promotion may be highly valued, security breaches causing lockdown often override clinical care opportunities. This session looks at this common tension that may be seen as a barrier to nursing care.



Raquel How and Chris Wallis

Chronic Diseases - A Spotlight on Diabetes

Chronic diseases are grossly over-represented among people in prisons. Nurse-led care in prisons means that nurses are likely to be at the forefront of primary health care and addressing the burden of chronic illness. This leads to improved patient outcomes, as well as cost and resource benefits from improved physical health. This session takes a look at one of the most common chronic illnesses seen in correctional facilities - diabetes. Includes:

  • Why are chronic diseases more prevalent in people in prisons?
  • What factors predispose prisoners to a poorer state of health?
  • How does a person with diabetes typically present and why may a correctional environment induce unstable diabetes?
  • Overcoming typical barriers to optimal diabetes management


Dr Treasure McGuire

Psychotherapeutic Medicines use in Update

Medication management represents one of the major problems faced by nurse-led health clinics in prisons. Assessment, treatment and the provision of evidence-based education and advice are crucial to nurses' practising in a safe manner where medicines are concerned. This session takes a detailed look at some of the most commonly seen medicines used in prisons and includes:

  • What psychotherapeutic medicines (antidepressants, mood stabilisers, sedatives, analgesics, antipsychotics) are most commonly used in prisons?
  • Aggression - are psychotherapeutic medicines the cause or the cure?
  • What is the role of psychotherapeutic medicines in chemical restraint?
  • What nicotine replacement agents are being used and are they effective?



Chris Leary

Primary Mental Health in Prisons

The potential for people with no pre-existing mental health issues to then experience a change in their mental health may occur upon arrival at a correctional facility. Why is this the case and how can nurses effectively respond to this challenge and improve the mental health outcomes for this vulnerable group of people? This session looks at:

  • Why is there such a potential for mental health to become unstable?
  • Are there particular people that are most prone to this?
  • Strategies to accurately assess and manage outcomes


Allison De Tina

Sexual Assault - Focus on Forensics

Sexual assault can happen to anyone in the community. In correctional facilities, incidence may often be higher. Discussion includes:

  • What are some of the myths and misconceptions associated with sexual assault?
  • How is sexual assault managed both in the community and forensically?
  • What would make a nurse suspect a person may have experienced sexual assault?
  • What are the ramifications for nursing practice?



Dr Judith Dean

HIV - What You Need to Know

Incarcerated populations are at risk of exposure to HIV (human-immunodeficiency virus) particularly among vulnerable groups such as gay, transgender, Indigenous and injecting drug users. HIV prevalence in Australian prisons is low compared to global figures; however, it is high compared to the general Australian population. Why is this the case? The cost of HIV to the person and on resources calls for nurses to have a strong knowledge base on the prevention and management of HIV. This session looks at a range of important issues relating to HIV and includes:

  • Is screening for HIV always necessary?
  • What pathology tests and results would indicate a person is immunocompromised?
  • Goals of antiviral therapy treatment
  • Challenges of providing HIV care in correctional settings
  • How to protect yourself


Sarah Gray

Nutrition Solutions - Dietary Guidelines for Prisons

Quality nutrition in correctional settings represents a huge opportunity for improvements in health outcomes. This session looks at the history, challenges and solutions related to nutrition in correctional settings. Includes: History of food and nutrition in the correctional setting Chronic disease and nutrition research QCS Food and Nutrition Policy and nutritional guidelines Positive effects of providing optimal nutrition to prisoners Challenges to providing optimal nutrition to prisoners Nutrition solutions - how to encourage prisoners to make better nutrition and lifestyle choices

  • History of food and nutrition in the correctional setting
  • Chronic disease and nutrition research
  • QCS Food and Nutrition Policy and nutritional guidelines
  • Positive effects of providing optimal nutrition to prisoners
  • Challenges to providing optimal nutrition to prisoners
  • Nutrition solutions - how to encourage prisoners to make better nutrition and lifestyle choices


Day Two



John Serginson

Make a Difference for Asthma & COPD - Suspect, Detect & Protect

Asthma and COPD are chronic disorders that occur more frequently in people in prisons compared than in the general population. In addition, the high number of prisoners who smoke, or were previously able to, requires that these respiratory conditions are well understood. This session will review the nurse's role in screening, assessing, managing and providing patient education, including the correct use of inhaled medicines.

  • How do you assess the severity of asthma / COPD symptoms and responsiveness to medication?
  • What is the latest information on the evidence-based treatment of asthma and COPD with quick-relief and long-term control medications?
  • How can acute exacerbations be managed to prevent hospitalisation?
  • Correct use of inhaler devices
  • Tips for patient education and self-management strategies


Ashleigh Djachenko

Smoking Cessation – How do Prisoners Quit Smoking?

The decline in smoking rates in the general public has not been replicated in the correctional setting. Furthermore, the experience of forced abstinence from cigarettes may be much more difficult in this environment. Most existing smoking cessation (SC) studies are quantitative and focus on smoking prevalence and/or the efficacy of behavioural or pharmacological interventions. This session will present a qualitative study that examined recently-smoking prisoners engaged in a period of SC that was not necessarily of their choosing.




Karen-Ann Clarke

'Stressed Out' - Physical Responses to a Harsh Environment

The physical experience of being incarcerated permanently or even temporarily in a correctional facility is likely to lead to adverse physical and psychological effects. How does a typical prison or correctional environment, where isolation and sensory deprivation are commonplace, impact the body's stress response? This session looks at:

  • What is the physical and emotional experience of someone who is being temporarily held in a correctional environment?
  • How does this differ to a person who is permanently incarcerated?
  • What do these environments do to the mind and how may this be manifested physically?
    • glucose regulation
    • immune response
    • mental health
    • cardiovascular health
  • Nursing strategies that may alleviate the stress response


Paul Kemp

Addiction and Withdrawal in Prisons

The experience of withdrawing from a dependent substance is harrowing at the best of times. In the correctional setting, the difficulty of this experience is likely to be magnified. What evidence is helping nurses lead a model of care to successfully manage this common situation? This session provides an overview of:

  • Physiological changes that occur as someone is withdrawing from a dependent substance
  • When is opiate substitution an appropriate treatment and what are barriers to this?
  • How can this success be sustained in the long term and particularly once a person returns to the community?



Raquel How

Hepatitis C - Meeting the Challenge in Corrections

The prevalence of hepatitis C in prisons is a public health concern that is estimated to have reached epidemic proportions. While prevention and treatment of this blood borne disease is achieving goals, there are numerous challenges that exist. The opportunity for nurses working with prisoners to provide evidence-based care is as important as infection control for personal safety. This session provides a comprehensive update on hepatitis C in Australian prisons and demonstrates the potential for health promotion by sharing a successfully introduced program. Includes:

  • Why are hepatitis C rates consistently higher in Australian prisons, particularly in Indigenous people incarcerated?
  • What are the current Guidelines for treatment and care in prisons?
  • What is the evidence for prison-based needle and syringe programs and are the alternatives for reducing transmission effective?
  • What health promotion techniques are most conducive to risk reduction?
  • Addressing attitudes and values - stigma and discrimination associated with hepatitis C


Linda Starr

Advanced Care Directives in Prison

All competent adults have a right to decide in advance what medical treatment they would refuse if they lost capacity to make decisions in the future. The principle of equivalence means this right must be extended to those in prison. This session looks at the increasing trend to have future refusals of treatment recorded in legally binding documents known as Advance Care Directives (ACDs). Topics include:

  • What is an Advance Care Directive?
  • What are the rights of a prisoner who is dying?
  • Requirements for a valid Advance Care Directive
  • What is the role of the Guardianship Board?
  • What is the relevance of substitute decision-making?



Linda Starr

Confronting Ethical Dilemmas - Caring for Prisoners

There are numerous situations in prisons which may place nurses in a difficult position. This final session will look at the ethical dilemmas that nurses may face. It provides a valuable opportunity to join a lively discussion and debate some of the ethical considerations that nurses working in this specialised setting will confront. It includes guidance on how to make correct decisions based on legal and ethical principles:

  • Is it ethical to assist in the collection of forensic evidence?
  • What type of situation would constitute a breach of confidentiality?
  • What do you do when you see the wrong thing?
  • What are examples of professional misconduct?


The Goal Need for Program

People in prisons have higher rates of many chronic illnesses as identified by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2012). Nurses have a professional duty to ensure the health care provided to prisoners is equivalent to that in the community. The opportunity for nurses to improve health outcomes through proactive prevention strategies, assessment, management and education relies on sound knowledge of the latest evidence about a range of chronic illnesses. Education that is specifically tailored to nurses who work in this specialised area is crucial if the physical and financial burdens of chronic disease are to be reduced.

Purpose of Program

The purpose of this conference is to improve the physical health outcomes of people in prisons by enhancing nurses’ knowledge about latest evidence-based strategies to prevent, assess and manage chronic illnesses.

Your learning outcomes:

Provide care to prisoners that is aligned to current Standards of professional practice to reduce the burden of chronic diseases

Minimise complications and prevent chronic disease progression through improved assessment

Improve health outcomes by implementing evidence-based practice to manage a range of chronic diseases

Enhance professional accountability and maintain scope of practice by understanding legal and ethical considerations of working with prisoners


Linda Starr

Linda Starr

Linda Starr is a qualified general and psychiatric nurse, lawyer and associate professor in the School of Nursing and Midwifery ... Read More

Raquel How

Raquel How

Raquel is currently a Nurse Practitioner (Primary Health Care) with Prison Health Services, West Moreton Hospital and Health Services. Raquel ... Read More

Chris Wallis

Chris Wallis

Chris is currently a Nurse Practitioner (Primary Health Care) with Prison Health Services. Chris started his nursing career in 2005 ... Read More

Treasure McGuire

Treasure McGuire

Dr Treasure McGuire is a medicines information pharmacist, pharmacologist, educator and researcher. As Assistant Director of Pharmacy, Mater Health Services, ... Read More

Chris  Leary

Chris Leary

Chris Leary is a Nurse Practitioner (Mental Health) working in the Mental Health & Specialised Services at West Moreton Hospital ... Read More

Allison De Tina

Allison De Tina

Allison De Tina is currently working as a Forensic Nurse Examiner and Clinical Nurse Consultant, Clinical Forensic Medicine Unit. ...Read More

Judith Dean

Judith Dean

Dr Judith Dean is a Registered Nurse/Midwife with over 25 years of experience in sexual and reproductive health, midwifery and ... Read More

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is an Accredited Practising Dietitian who started her career in the prison setting and has now worked for ... Read More

John Serginson

John Serginson

John Serginson has been a Nurse Practitioner employed in respiratory care at the Caboolture Hospital since 2010. He completed his ... Read More

Karen-Ann Clarke

Karen-Ann Clarke

Karen-Ann Clarke is a Registered General and Mental Health Nurse. She has a Master's degree in Mental Health Nursing and ... Read More

Paul Kemp

Paul Kemp

Paul Kemp is currently a Clinical Nurse (Primary Health Care) with Prison Health Services at West Moreton Hospital and Health ... Read More

Ashleigh Djachenko

Ashleigh Djachenko

Ashleigh Djachenko (RN, BN, GCertCPrimaryHCare, GDipHealthRes) is the Nurse Educator for Prison Health Services in the West Moreton Hospital Health ... Read More

Nursing People in Prisons - Conference
Speciality Classification
Provider Type
12 hours
Start Date
End Date
12 hours
$671.00 (two days)
Brisbane QLD 4001
Mercure Hotel Brisbane, 85-87 North Quay
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