Therapeutic Role of a Psychiatric Nurse

Therapeutic Role of a Psychiatric Nurse-

The roles of the nurse meet client and family needs, guide, assist, and teach, the client and family and provide an environment that facilitates client and family growth and development.

  • Direct Care Provider
  • Patient Advocate
  • Provider of Preventive Care
  • Provider of Therapeutic Environment for the Patient
  • Teacher /Educator
  • Coordinator
  • Collaborator
  • Case Manager
  • Professional Role
  • Researcher

Direct Care Provider-

As a direct care provider the nurse assists the client to regain health through the healing process. The nurse provides a holistic approach to care, including assisting the client/ family in coping with the physical, emotional social and spiritual impacts of the illness. Behavioral therapist about the psychological management, with the occupational therapist about his rehabilitation, with the social worker and the community agency about plans for his home care.

Patient Advocate-

Advocacy may mean managing logistics, translating medical terms or dealing with ethical issues. As the bedside caregiver who spends much time with a patient, a nurse is specifically positioned to be an advocate. Patient advocacy is also one of the ethical expectations for nurses.

A nurse is the logical person to interpret the different services offered by other professional health staff and to explain the types of and need for, various prescriptions and treatments as ordered by the physician. As an advocate, the nurse is compelled to work on behalf of the patient. The advocacy role involves- A patient needs at least one person to whom he can relate in a meaningful way and who can act as his spokesman with other members of health team. The advocacy role involves-

  • Educating patients about their rights and responsibilities
  • Negotiating for mental health services
  • Reporting abuse of client's rights, unethical, incompetent and illegal practices
  • Protecting the patient and family members from unethical practices.

Provider of Preventive Care-

  • Providing information about mental health issues, such as communication skills, parenting, stress reduction, coping strategies and relaxation techniques and counseling
  • Making appropriate referrals as indicated to prevent occurrence of mental illness (primary prevention)
  • Working with community groups on issues related to mental health
  • Secondary prevention involves those nursing activities directed at reducing actual illness by early detection and treatment of the problem. Example: screening for anxiety and depression
  • Tertiary prevention involves those nursing activities that focus on reducing the residual impairment or disability resulting from an illness.


 As members of the health care team, nurses must work with other team members to ensure that patients receive the highest quality of care possible. In psychiatry, every patient must have an individualized treatment plan that reflects the collaborative efforts of nursing, psychiatry, social work, occupational therapy, recreational therapy and other specialties that are involved in the patient's care. Nurses can effectively work with other members of the health care team to deal with patient care problems.

Through collaboration between the family physician and the psychiatric family nurse practitioner, a spectrum of services historically fragmented are consolidated for patients and their families. Collaboration, a relationship of interdependence, requires the recognition of complementary roles

Case Manager-

In case management the nurse co-ordinates the activities of the other health care providers in collaboration with the direct care providers. The case manager focuses on moving the client through the health care environment, assisting with scheduling of tests and procedures and interacting with various care providers. Many times case managers follow a client across all settings, including ambulatory care and home care.

Professional Role Nurses have a responsibility to contribute to the growth of self and of the profession. The nurse participates in continuing professional educational activities and promotes activities designed to improve psychiatric nursing practice and care.


 A Psychiatric nurse utilizes therapeutic principles and research to understand and interpret the client's emotions, thoughts and behaviors. She also involves in research activities to incorporate new research findings into practice and monitor the protection of human subjects.