In Canada, responsibility for corrections is divided between federal, provincial and territorial governments, with nurses being the largest group of healthcare professionals working in correctional institutions (penitentiaries, jails, prisons, correctional centres and secure correctional treatment centres) across the country. Correctional institutions are among the most challenging workplace settings for nurses, as they face competing tensions between the provision of quality care and strict security requirements for safety. They also experience unique workforce issues with high reports of burnout and emotional exhaustion. Nursing leadership at all levels of the correctional system is critical in creating work environments that optimize workplace well-being and minimize burnout. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the role of nursing leadership in facilitating and enabling a healthy workforce in corrections. Minimal research has examined leadership and healthy work environments in correctional institutions. Several authors have, however, discussed transformational leadership as a strategy to positively influence correctional nursing practice. In this article, we expand on this previous work to describe the full range leadership model and how it can be used to form the foundation of effective leadership and support the creation of healthy work environments in the correctional context.
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