College of Nursing

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Dr. Brenda Mishak Examines NP Role in Correctional Setting

March 22, 2017

The role of a Nurse Practitioner (NP) has evolved and their scope of practice has advanced over the last couple of years. In 2015, an NP was successfully integrated into the primary health care team at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary and more recently, the NP role in the correctional setting has been expanded.

As this is a relatively new role in corrections, there is minimal literature highlighting the outcomes of having an NP provide primary care in a correctional setting in Canada. Dr. Brenda Mishak from the College of Nursing Prince Albert campus and her team consisting of Dr. Arlene Kent-Wilkinson (College of Nursing, Saskatoon) and Celeste Pollock (College of Nursing Master of Nursing student, Prince Albert) are hoping to fill the literature gap. Their research project, A Literature Review to Develop Nurse Practitioner Associated Outcome Metrics Within Correctional Settings in Canada, has earned them a Faculty Research Development Grant from The Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science and Justice Studies at the University of Saskatchewan.

“We often hear about the quality of health care, or lack thereof, that is provided within the criminal justice system and it’s proven that Nurse Practitioners positively impact patient satisfaction, quality of care and access to service, so there is a definite fit with having an NP practice in a correctional setting, but it’s important that we can measure the effectiveness to know for sure,” said Mishak. “Now that the NP role has been established in a correctional setting in Saskatchewan, our team hopes to develop the metrics to measure the cost effectiveness for the criminal justice system and to address how an NP impacts the quality of care and access to it – the most common complaints by offenders.”

Mishak’s team plans to start data collection this summer, publish articles in early 2018 and present their findings at appropriate conferences in 2019. “Ultimately, our plan is to take the metrics that we are going to develop and in the future, create a pilot project to test the metrics and evaluate the impact of a Nurse Practitioner in the correctional setting related to cost effectiveness, quality of care and offender access to care within the criminal justice system.”