Of the many diverse specialisms within the nursing profession, there is something unique about custody nursing that means this particular career path can offer challenges, experiences and rewards unlike any other.
This field is quite different to any other you will encounter during your nursing career and is perhaps not for the faint of heart; however, for those with the right disposition, aptitude and temperament, it can be a truly life-affirming line of work that can make you feel that you are genuinely making a significant contribution to society on multiple levels.
What does the job entail?
Being a custody nurse will place you in charge of looking after the physical and mental health, safety and general welfare of people who are being detained in police custody. Your responsibilities will be varied and diverse, and could include providing forensic services, conducting clinical assessments, collecting samples and maintaining accurate records.
As such, you’ll be helping to support two of the UK’s three emergency services at the same time. On one hand, you’ll be providing care for some of the most vulnerable members of society - including people with drug, alcohol and mental health problems - as you tend to injuries, administer medication and conduct crucial examinations and assessments. On the other hand, you will also be doing your bit to ensure the UK’s legal and judicial system runs smoothly by performing body searches, obtaining forensic samples and offering opinions on potentially suspicious circumstances.
During an average working week, custody nurses carry out a wide variety of different tasks, each requiring an alternative set of skills. The role typically includes dealing with anxious, angry or troubled detainees, helping people to cope with substance withdrawal and collecting physiological evidence., It also covers more mundane (but equally important) tasks such as completing paperwork, writing up court statements, liaising with colleagues and coordinating services with local hospitals and dedicated healthcare providers.
In a very real sense, custody nurses represent the bridge linking the police force and the NHS and stakeholders a position of considerable importance and responsibility that can deliver an unparalleled sense of job satisfaction.
What kind of person becomes a custody nurse?
Because of the unique demands placed on custody nurses and the wide range of expectations the job creates, it takes a particular kind of person to really thrive in this particular line of work. On a practical level, applicants will need to show they have a certain degree of proven experience, preferably in leadership roles, as this will be necessary to ensure you are able to handle everything the job throws at you.
However, candidates will also need to think about more than just qualifications and accreditation, as numerous personal qualities are required to really succeed in a role like this. Top custody nurses need to be confident, capable individuals with an affinity for dynamic, evolving challenges. They’ll need to be sure of themselves and not easily ruffled; they’ll need to be able to make rational and considered decisions under pressure and they’ll need to be accountable, responsible and autonomous in high-stakes situations.
Perhaps more than anything, custody nurses have to be sincerely and profoundly passionate about the cause of clinical excellence, and to be driven by a strong desire to make a real difference in people’s lives. This will include being able to communicate and deal with people at their lowest ebb, and to be able to make medical assessments without moral judgements.
Those who are able to do so will have a genuine opportunity to reform lives and make a significant contribution to the wellbeing of your local community.
How can I become a custody nurse?
For anyone who believes that custody nursing is the right career path for them, contacting Medacs Healthcare could be an ideal way to take those crucial first steps. As a leading provider of healthcare staffing placements across the UK and internationally, the company has a strong, proven reputation and can help you to find a job opportunity that suits your needs.
By signing up with Medacs Healthcare, future custody nurses can be sure they are partnering with an organisation capable of opening doors and broadening horizons within this competitive and exciting sector.
Summary: Becoming a custody nurse can be a uniquely challenging career path - but also one that provides its own set of rewards.