In NSW an Aboriginal Health Worker is an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person who is employed in an Aboriginal identified position. The Aboriginal Health Worker assists in meeting the physical, social and emotional and cultural needs of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander patients whilst in custody. Aboriginal Health Workers are also responsible for liaising with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and staff to help optimise best care practice whilst working collaboratively within a multidisciplinary healthcare team.
"As an Aboriginal person working in a centre that is built on my country, I have a commitment and passion to serve and support my mob and the mob from other areas. We also educate the clinical team we work with about our people and the best way to engage and provide those services."
The position provides clinical consultancy services to nursing staff within Juvenile Justice Centres and liaison with Community Integration Team (CIT). The primary focus of this Clinical Nurse Consultant role is Youth Health, bringing together the specialties of Primary Health, Population/Sexual Health & Women’s Health The major functions of the Clinical Nurse Consultant, Youth Health is to provide, clinical service and consultancy, clinical leadership, research, and education programs (clinical teaching and practice development).The position provides clinical consultancy to all nursing staff in Juvenile Justice Centres, the Kariong Juvenile Correctional Centre and nursing staff in Justice Health/Adolescent community programs.
"The CNC role is part of a large team that seeks to improve the health outcomes of young people that have had contact with the justice system. I am involved in research and the development of policies and procedures to ensure that we deliver best practice care to our young people. I am involved in developing educational programs for the adolescent health nursing teams. The exciting part of this role is that as I have a state wide position where I support nursing staff in our seven Juvenile Justice Centres and one Juvenile Correctional Centre in NSW as well as the community teams. This means I get the opportunity to travel across the state to visit all of our health centres; and meet with our patients to discuss their needs in regards to their health. Working with the young people in this system is exciting, challenging and very rewarding."
The physiotherapy department primarily provides a state- wide outpatient musculoskeletal physiotherapy service to those that come into contact with the NSW custodial environment.
“The physiotherapy department provides expert input and treatment into the care of patients including those with neurological, respiratory, orthopedic, burns, ambulatory, and spinal cord injuries. Our physiotherapists also facilitate an orthopedic clinic. Our environment and patients ensure that there is never a dull moment and every day presents a new challenge and experience.”
Allied Health (Pharmacy) - Custodial
The Pharmacy Department provides a state wide pharmaceutical service to patients that come into contact with the NSW custodial environment.
“The pharmacy department provides pharmaceutical services and provides medication management oversight to all adult and adolescent centres and is responsible for ensuring the safe, effective and efficient dispensing of medications, along with the provision of a quality pharmacy service and advice to the patients and staff of JH&FMHN.”
Allied Health (Radiology) - Custodial
The Radiology Department provides a high quality and efficient digital radiology service to the adult prison population within Custodial Health. The state-wide service model provides general and dental OPG X-rays at 8 correctional facilities (Parklea ,Long Bay ,MRRC, Silverwater women’s, Goulburn, South Coast, Wellington and Mid North Coast ) and Ultrasound Services at Long Bay.
“The medical imaging department at JH&FMHN provides an efficient and fast Ultrasound and general radiography service to the adult prison population to enable improved clinical decision making by clinicians .We work with State of the Art digital equipment and our environment is challenging and dynamic.”
As a community forensic mental health clinician staff have opportunity to work with, and provide support to, a range of mental health clinicians, across 15 Local Health Districts, who are primarily responsible for the care of forensic patients and civil patients at risk of serious offending. In particular, community forensic mental health clinicians are encouraged to develop specialist expertise in assessing and managing patients’ risk of harm to others, so that patients’ recovery can be supported in the most safe and effective care context. The role of a community forensic mental health clinician can be occupied by psychologists, senior nurses, social workers and occupational therapists with appropriate experience and post graduate training.
“The role is suited to those who enjoy a challenge; value training and evidence based practice and share a common interest in understanding and managing problematic behaviour among mentally ill individuals.”
This position is responsible for the assessment and management of drug and/or alcohol intoxication, withdrawal and potential or actual overdose. The D&A CNS is also responsible for the assessment of patients requesting Opioid Substitution Treatment (OST) and the follow-up and review of these patients. The D&A CNS must have an excellent understanding and knowledge about all treatment modalities for drug and alcohol related issues currently available within the custodial setting and in the broader community.
“It’s a very dynamic role where you get to work with a variety of team members in correctional centres as well as community based service providers. There is a large scope to help a variety of patients. No one day is the same. There is always something to challenge you.”
The role of the Medico Legal Coordinator includes facilitating the timely release of clinical information to legal agencies, health providers and eligible applicants whilst ensuring compliance with the Governments Information (Public Access) Act 2009, Health Records Information and Privacy Act 2002, all Ministry of Health Circulars and Policies and procedures and related policies. The role is also responsible for coordinating subpoenas, legal requests, search warrants along with requests from the Coroners Court and NSW Ombudsman.
I really enjoy my position. Being able to liaise with a wide range of external stakeholders and organisations on a day to day basis is very rewarding."
The nursing role within custodial health includes reception screening for all new patients, comprehensive health screening for long stay patients, assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating nursing management. Nurses are also responsible for the day to day health care requirements of patients within NSW correctional centres and police cells which involves counselling, health promotion, and client advocacy, facilitation of change, clinical teaching, supervising, mentoring and research.
"As a nurse I work with a team of staff to achieve the best clinical outcomes for our disadvantaged patients. Our Health Centre is within the correctional centre and is modern, clean and secure. When I first started I was a bit confronted by the walls and the locked gates you have to negotiate, the razor wire and correctional officers in the towers but it is amazing how quickly that disappears into the background. While I am always aware this this is a very secure environment, I also find that my work is so challenging that I don’t really think about those things anymore."
Forensic mental health nursing practice involves undertaking assessments, formulations, planning, implementing, and evaluating nursing care within a therapeutic environment relationship in the treatment of people experiencing mental illness; and who have a history of criminal offending or who present a serious risk of such behaviour. Nursing staff work closely with the multidisciplinary team to address risk and support patients on their recovery journey.
"Every day is different which means I am developing new skills. The work is always is challenging and unique."
Visiting Medical Officers deliver general and specialised medical services in the correctional centre environment. They work collaboratively with the Nursing Unit Manager as part of a multi-disciplinary team. This includes general practitioners, drug and alcohol, psychiatry and oral health staff.
"I have been working with JH&FMHN for five years and I enjoy it immensely. Working with a vulnerable yet unique patient population, most of who have come from highly disadvantaged backgrounds, offers huge personal satisfaction. Knowing that most of the patients have never seen a regular doctor for medical treatment prior to coming into custody and then being able to assist them in achieving the best possible healthcare outcomes is a huge win."
The Long Bay Hospital is an 85 bed inpatient facility which caters for both male and female inpatients and is accessible to all persons throughout the NSW correctional system. Staff in the Long Bay Hospitals Aged Care and Rehabilitation, Medical Subacute and Mental Health units respond effectively to the complex health needs of the patient population and provide international best practice health care for those in custody. Health care services for patients are provided by multidisciplinary teams which consists of 24/7 nursing staff, medical officers and a range of allied health clinicians.
"I completed my Transition to Professional Practice Program with JH&FMHN, going straight from university to working in a maximum security correctional centre. Indeed JH&FMHN is a world of its own that may initially overwhelm even the most experienced of nurses. This unique environment is not without its mental and emotional challenges. However, if you are passionate about working with disadvantaged patients and if you are a team player, you will thrive here. The incredibly friendly and approachable staff of both JH&FMHN and Corrective Services NSW makes this hospital a place where you can flourish, find satisfaction, and feel safe in every sense. There are opportunities to further your education and the managerial staff do everything they can to help you reach your potential. I had never encountered a patient that was more appreciative of my efforts until I worked for JH&FMHN."
"Following a six week clinical placement in the Mental Health Unit at Long Bay Hospital, I have to say I had the best placement ever. The nurses I worked with were amazing, hardworking and professional. I always felt supported and safe on the ward. The placement was an enriching experience which helped me develop my skills in mental health nursing. I hope I can work in a facility like this in the future."