Curtis, Tina L. Advocacy: The Experience of Psychiatric Nurse Case Managers (2017)
The concept of advocacy has been deemed integral to nursing practice and is a component of a recovery-oriented mental health care system, yet few nursing advocacy studies have taken place within mental health care settings. Advocacy has been regarded by previous scholars as central to case management practice. A study focused within the role of case management practice provided one context in which, to begin an exploration of advocacy for nursing within mental health settings. The purpose of this research was to explore the advocacy experiences of psychiatric nurse case managers in an ambulatory care setting, who work with adults living with a severe mental illness. Six psychiatric nurse case managers were interviewed using van Manen’s hermeneutic phenomenological method. Data analysis began during the data collection phase, where initial interviews were transcribed, coded, and themes were identified. A metaphorical journey was used to organize the themes generated from the information collected, which included: embarking on a journey, resources for the journey, travelling solo and with others, the journeys and time, types of journeys, and collective journeys. The nurse participants defined advocacy as a dynamic process that involved speaking on behalf of others, supporting autonomy, and upholding social justice. The nurses travelled on the roads towards recovery, as defined by the person or family, by mainly focusing their advocacy activities on a micro individual or family level. Implications for practice, education, and policy are discussed, along with suggestions for future research.