HIV PEP and Nursing Scholarship: A Review of Critical Theory and Social Justice

HIV PEP and Nursing Scholarship


  • Patrick O'Byrne University of Ottawa



HIV, nursing, social justice, PEP, critical theory


Research studies are not often considered a form of social justice. However, I put forward an example herein about how I used a grant to provide nursing care to patients who could not otherwise afford the required medication. Specifically, this was the provision of HIV medications in the form of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). In doing this, I attempted to use my position as a nurse researcher to address a social justice issue (i.e., the inaccessibility of PEP for those with lower socioeconomic status) and to concurrently alleviate moral distress among the nurses who provide care to these patients. After presenting this project, I reflect on how this helps us reframe nursing scholarship and critical theory. In short, I argue that we need broader defintions of both, so as to better capture what nurses do and to use our positions for social betterment. 


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Author Biography

Patrick O'Byrne, University of Ottawa

Patrick O’Byrne RN-EC PhD is a Full Professor of Nursing at the University of Ottawa. His research and clinical work as a nurse practitioner focus on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of sexually transmitted infections and HIV. Dr. O’Byrne’s work includes the provision of HIV medications to prevention HIV transmission (known as pre-exposure prophylaxis and post-exposure prophylaxis), and the delivery of culturally sensitive and appropriate nursing services for members of the groups most affected by sexually transmitted infections and HIV. He holds an OHTN Research Chair in Public Health and HIV Prevention.


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How to Cite

O’Byrne, P. (2019). HIV PEP and Nursing Scholarship: A Review of Critical Theory and Social Justice: HIV PEP and Nursing Scholarship. Witness: The Canadian Journal of Critical Nursing Discourse, 1(1), 28–38.