Caring in prison: The intersubjective web of professional relationships

Authors

  • Greg Nolan DCouns, MEd, BA, Cert Ed (QTS), Adv Dip Guidance & Counselling, MBACP (Sen Acc), UKRC (Reg Ind Practitioner), FHEA,

    1. Teaching Fellow, Programme Manager Professional Doctorate in Health and Social Care, School of Healthcare, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
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  • Elizabeth Walsh PhD, MSc, BSc (Hons), RN

    1. Senior Lecturer Offender Health, School of Healthcare, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
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Elizabeth Walsh, PhD, MSc, BSc (Hons), RN, Senior Lecturer Offender Health, School of Healthcare, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9UT, UK. Tel: +44 (0) 113 3436293; E-mail: e.walsh@leeds.ac.uk

Abstract

In this paper, we present a synthesis of two doctoral theses where links are made between the intersubjective, relational dynamics seen in clinical supervision, and applied in practice to a framework for emotional labor in prison nurses. We explore the nature of intersubjectivity, from nursing and psychotherapeutic perspectives, and discuss the way in which it impacts on and influences relationships between nurses, prisoner patients, prison officers, and organizations within prison healthcare settings. The impact of this intersubjectivity is illustrated through the exploration of an intersubjective web that is created and informs interaction between the key actors within the prison nurse's practice, i.e., prison officers, prisoner patients, and the organization. We suggest that by being cognizant of the intersubjective web that influences these interactions, a more meaningful understanding of practice and relationships can be achieved. This deeper understanding can then be utilized to develop practitioners both professionally and personally. We conclude by promoting regular, formal clinical supervision as an ideal space within which to explore the way in which this intersubjective web influences relationships, impacts on emotional labor, and subsequently patient care and staff well being.

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