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Nurse Researchers in Corrections: A Qualitative Study

Ferszt, Ginette G. PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC; Hickey, Joyce MS, RN, PMHCNS-BC

doi: 10.1097/JFN.0b013e3182970778
Original Articles

The United States has more people, per capita, in prisons and jails than any other country in the world. Because the prison population is largely composed of people who have been economically and socially disadvantaged, a very high percentage enter correctional facilities in poor health. Because of the large concentrated numbers of women, men, and youth in prisons and jails, an exceptional opportunity exists for nurses and other researchers to conduct creative and innovative research to improve the health care of this hard-to-reach population. The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of nurse researchers who have been successful in conducting studies in different correctional settings. A qualitative descriptive design was used, and telephone interviews with 16 participants were completed. The participants described how they established credibility, the challenges they faced, and the unexpected personal and professional rewards they received. Recommendations for potential researchers will hopefully lead to an increase in research with this invisible population.

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Author Affiliations: University of Rhode Island.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Correspondence: Ginette G. Ferszt, PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC, University of Rhode Island, 35 Campus Ave., Kingstown, RI 02881. E-mail:

Received January 12, 2013; accepted for publication April 14, 2013.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s Web site (

© 2013 by the International Association of Forensic Nurses. All rights reserved.
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