Consultation With Nurse Practitioners Over the Telephone in Prison Health

Published:January 12, 2022DOI:


      • Prison nurses perceived nurse practitioners to be knowledgeable and skilled as the first point of contact during telephone consultation for patient care. There was a perception that the advice and interventions suggested by nurse practitioners had equivalence to those of physicians in this context.
      • Prison nurses agreed that nurse practitioners were more understanding of the challenges confronting nursing staff in a prison environment. Safe and effective decision-making by nurse practitioners over the telephone was based on thorough and accurate assessment by nursing staff in the prison.
      • The model of care and study results support research and development on improved telehealth interactions to provide confident delivery of care to patients in prison.


      The nurse practitioner (NP) role presents opportunities to improve access to care for the management of those in prisons, including telephone consultations with the nursing team after hours. This qualitative study used semistructured interviews with prison nurses to gain insights into the role and capability of NPs to provide telephone advice and direction within an after-hours prison health model of care. Three main themes emerged: value and capability, nursing team, and safety of the on-call model. This study adds to our understanding of the capability of the NP in the prison setting and the value of an on-call model of care within a primary team structure.


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      Anthony Schoenwald, PhD, MSN, is a nurse practitioner, West Moreton Hospital and Health Service, Ipswich, and Queensland University of Technology, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Kelvin Grove, Australia, and can be contacted at [email protected] .


      Blake Ponting, MN, RN, is a clinical nurse consultant, Prison Health Services Support Unit, Prison Health Services, Mental Health & Specialised Services, West Moreton Hospital and Health Service, Queensland, Australia.


      Raquel How, MN, is a nurse practitioner, Prison Health Services Support Unit, Prison Health Services, Mental Health & Specialised Services, West Moreton Hospital and Health Service, Queensland, Australia.


      Yolanda Mansfield, MS, is a mental health education advisor, Service Evaluation & Research Unit, Mental Health & Specialised Services, West Moreton Hospital and Health Service, Queensland, Australia.


      Tom Meehan, PhD, MPH, RN, is director of Service Evaluation & Research, Mental Health & Specialised Services, West Moreton Hospital and Health Service, Queensland, Australia.