May 8, 2015
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
Would you work as a prison ward physician? Many people do not even consider this specialty simply because of a long list of preconceived but mistaken notions – working in an enclosed area with convicted criminals can be dangerous. Most patients in the prison deserve to be there anyway so why bother with spending time caring for them? Will these patients really appreciate all you do for them?
Is it really worth considering a job as a prison ward physician and will you get any really satisfaction from the job? These are really important aspect to consider but to many physicians who have had some experience working in this field, a career as a prison ward physician can be very rewarding.
There are several myths surrounding this specialty. These myths have arisen only because the area of work in this field is not very well understood and well, nobody really wants to talk about it either.
The truth is, irrespective of the circumstances, every human being, whether prisoner or not, is entitled to receive require medical treatment whenever necessary. Many of the patients you encounter in a prison come from poor, disadvantaged backgrounds and may not have received appropriate healthcare even before going to prison. Under these conditions, you will find that your work can make a significant difference in their lives.
By providing healthcare treatment where there wasn’t any before, you can play a vital role in helping prisoners lead more stable lives and improving their chances of rehabilitation.
To practice as a prison ward physician, you must first complete your medical school programme and obtain a degree, after which you need to complete the appropriate internship. You can also obtain a diploma or certificate in prison medicine through special continuing education courses.
Because of the focus on mental health, a base in psychology will be hugely beneficial to anyone considering this role. A non-judgmental attitude, an open mind and common sense are some of the skills and qualities you should possess if you intend to pursue this role.
Mental health disorders and substance abuse are often rampant amongst prisoners. As a prison ward physician, most of your work would be in primary care, with an emphasis on mental health and substance abuse. Expertise in addictions to drugs or alcohol will be an invaluable asset in this role as you will often find yourself dealing with substance abuse and addictions amongst inmates.
If you are looking for a challenging career that will make a difference in the lives of patients and society, you consider working as a prison ward physician.