Reducing Communication Errors in the Correctional Setting

The fragmented care situations often found in correctional practice make this specialty particularly vulnerable to communication errors resulting in patient harm. Several communication risk points are found in the care continuum in correctional settings. Communication processes across the organization and among team members have been implicated in clinical error. In addition, information exchange with outside services such as lab work, diagnostic tests or special treatments are vulnerable, as are specialty care visits. Correctional health staff have additional communication challenges in this unique setting including dealing with correctional officers and the special needs of prisoners. In this course, you will learn how to improve communication pathways to reduce the potential for clinical error in the correctional setting.

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Upon completion of this course participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the unique communication difficulties in a correctional health care setting.
  2. Outline ways to improve verbal and written communication methods.
  3. Use improved communication with correctional officers.
  4. State how to avoid ineffective communication methods with correctional patients.


Chapter 1: Introduction 

Chapter 2: Why Communication is so Important in Corrections

  • Communication Failures Cause Clinical Errors
  • Communication Difficulties in Correctional Practice
  • Hand Offs Across Organizations

Chapter 3: Health Care Team Communication

  • Verbal Communication
  • Standardized Verbal Communication
  • Written Communication
  • Standard Abbreviations
  • Using Checklists
  • A Word About Verbal Orders
  • Communication Culture

Chapter 4: Communicating with Officers

  • The Importance of Respect
  • Handling Microaggression
  • When Asked to Do Something that is Out-of-Bounds
  • HIPAA and Officer Need-to-Know
  • The T.E.A.M Approach
  • Relationship Building Recommendations

Chapter 5: Communicating with Patients

  • False Reassurance
  • Incongruence
  • Arguing
  • Passive or Aggressive Responses
  • Personal Opinion
  • Approval or Disapproval
  • Automatic Responses
  • Asking for Explanations
  • Defensive Responses
  • Invalidation
  • Summary
  • References

Price: $10.00

Contact Hour: 1

Course Author

Lorry Schoenly

Lorry Schoenly, PhD, RN, CCHP-RN is a nurse author and educator specializing in the field of correctional health care. She provides consulting services to jails and prisons across the country on projects to improve professional nursing practice and patient safety. 

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