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Inmates have several ways to access health care, such as by submitting a request slip or form.Another way is through oral communication, for example, by telling a correctional officer of a need to be seen by medical, or mentioning a health concern to the nurse during medication administration.This article will examine some of the ethical and legal issues correctional nurses must address in their practice. Fidelity (remaining faithful to one’s commitment) These principles serve as a guide to the nurse in making ethical decisions.Ethical Concerns For the nurse in a traditional medical setting, ethical decisions occur occasionally and at times the nurse may face ethical dilemmas. The correctional nurse can find support for ethical decisions by referring to the American Nurses Association’s code of ethics.If the communication is from the officer to the nurse, the nurse has a responsibility to speak to the inmate.
In some prisons, nurse participation in execution may arise as an ethical issue.In the correctional setting, the patient is at the core of professional nursing practice.The fact that the patient is incarcerated is only a circumstance of his or her situation and does not, and should not, change how the nurse practices or how the nurse views the patient.Regardless of the method, the nurse has a legal and ethical obligation to respond to the request for care.In general, the nurse should see the patient to evaluate health needs and determine the level of care required.