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Care Incarcerated - Detained Patients in Acute Care (Webinar)

1.0 CE - The Intersection of Nurses and Law Enforcement in the Acute Care Setting.

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Care Incarcerated - Detained Patients in Acute Care (Webinar)
Care Incarcerated - Detained Patients in Acute Care (Webinar)

Time & Location

Mar 17, 2022, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM


About the Event

(1.0 CE)  Caring for people accused and convicted of crimes is a required duty for many nurses working in acute care settings. 

The purpose of this study was to give voice to the lived experiences of nurses and law enforcement officers who interact with one another in the hospital setting, while gaining understanding of their individual perspectives and unique experiences, and how they interpret these experiences. 

The aim of the study was to understand the lived experience of nurses and law enforcement officers when interacting with one another in the hospital; particularly the ways they perceive their role and responsibilities in this dynamic, their experiences with self-efficacy and moral injury, their perceptions of power, and ways in which nursing standards of care are affected. Data were collected via semi-structured interviews. Interviews were completed by 10 registered nurses and 9 law enforcement officers. The results of the study demonstrate complex perceptions and operationalizations of power and control, as well as reflective meaning-making behind the underpinnings of an increasingly contentious dynamic.

The implications of these findings and opportunities for further study are immense, both for the nursing profession and the patients in their care.  The results of this study provide alarming examples of deformed caring practices and assert the necessity for continued unearthing and discussion of how nurses can, and should, navigate law enforcement interaction. 

As voiced by the study participants, leadership and organizational support is critical, and we must not wait until catastrophic events occur before institutions recognize and address this ethico-legal challenge that both nurses and officers face. While many of the nurses spoke about the struggle and necessity of the small moments of resistance, it was made clear by the participants that the “argument” is rarely solved by one officer and one nurse; in fact, they are fighting the battles of their institutions, operationalizing totalizing practices in a zone of indistinction (Agamben, 1995). In this zone we see a re-emergence of new sovereignty with questionable and variable levels of accountability, ambiguous and arbitrary rules written in real time, and unilateral decisions made regarding the life and death of a shackled, silenced body in the bed.

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