Enhancing Nurses' Ability to Care Within the Culture of Incarceration

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Incarcerated women are a highly vulnerable population, most of whom have had extremely adverse life experiences. Nurses who work in corrections have significant challenges as they attempt to care in a setting that is focused on punishment. This article focuses on the unique culture of incarceration as it applies to women, along with the common challenges nurses face when caring for these women. Leininger's Theory of Culture Care and the Sunrise Enabler are discussed as useful tools to assist nurses in providing culture care within the confines of the prison, as well as a means of understanding these women as cultural beings apart from the prison setting. Despite the many security restrictions that exist within the correctional environment, “care” can be provided regardless of the setting. A model case has been developed to show the enormous impact that culture care can have on the lives of many women who face incarceration.

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