Advances in Nursing Science; Danisha Jenkins PhD, RN, Candace Burton, PhD, RN, Dave Holmes, PhD, RN, FAAN, FCAN; Published June 2022; DOI: doi: 10.1097/ANS.0000000000000413

Abstract

To give voice to the lived experiences of nurses and law enforcement officers who interact with one another in an acute care hospital setting, while gaining an understanding of individual perspectives and unique experiences, as well as how they interpret these experiences. This qualitative study used interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) to strive to meet the study objectives. There is a paucity of literature on the topic of nurse and law enforcement interaction in the hospital setting. Overwhelmingly, participants described a contentious dynamic between nurses and law enforcement officers in the hospital, wrought with argument, stress, and a feeling of coming from “different worlds.” The influence of gender was apparent to the female-identified participants, and gender constructs and therefore gender role conflict were critical points of contention. In exploring how nurses and law enforcement officers think about and describe their experiences, nurses and hospital systems may develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of barriers to care for incarcerated patients and of the challenging experiences nurses face in caring for these patients. The nurses’ expressed feelings of intimidation, stress, and impaired self-efficacy in this dynamic underscore the need for institutional support and prioritization of caring practices, and identification of the ways in which carceral practices impair care, as well as nurses’ safety.