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Hildegard Peplau - Essay Example

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She earned her nursing degree from Pottstown, Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing in 1931. Afterward, she worked as an operating room supervisor at Pottstown Hospital. Later, she received a…
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Hildegard Peplau
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Hildegard Peplau In APA Style Hildegard Peplau was born in Reading, Pennsylvania on the 1st of September, 1909. She earned her nursing degree from Pottstown, Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing in 1931. Afterward, she worked as an operating room supervisor at Pottstown Hospital. Later, she received a Bachelor of Arts in Interpersonal Psychology from Bennington College, Vermont in 1943; a Master of Arts in Psychiatric Nursing from Teachers College, Columbia, New York in 1947; and a Doctor of Education in Curriculum Development from Columbia in 1953.
During World War II, she became a member of the Army Nurse Corps and worked in a neuropsychiatric hospital in London, England. She also did work at Bellevue and Chestnut Lodge Psychiatric Facilities and was in contact with renowned psychiatrists Freida Fromm-Richman and Harry Stack Sullivan.
From the beginning of her career in the late 1930s, Peplau worked tirelessly to advance nursing education and practice. Her efforts and excellent leadership saved the American Nurses Association from bankruptcy and moved the nursing profession towards scientific recognition and respectability.
She was recognized for her numerous contributions in the nursing profession. Peplau has been considered as one of the renowned nursing leaders of her time. Her writings and research were repeatedly featured in the American Journal of Nursing from 1951 to 1960. She became a professor emeritus from Rutgers shortly after obtaining her doctorate degree. She established the first nursing post-baccalaureate program and eventually held the title of executive director and president of the American Nurses Association. She promoted professional standards and regulation through credentialing, as well as introduced the concept of advanced nursing practice. She advocated on behalf of nurses by advancing their status as professionals. She worked progressively in the mental health field and ultimately created a conceptual framework for the interpersonal relationship between nurses and their patients. She was honored as a “Living Legend” by the American Academy of Nurses.
Starting in the early 1950s, she published many texts, beginning with a manuscript of a compilation of her theoretical framework for psychodynamic nursing entitled Interpersonal Relations in Nursing (published in 1952). She taught psychodynamic nursing and stressed the nurse’s ability to understand his or her own behavior to help others identify perceived difficulties. She identified the following phases of the nurse-patient relationship: orientation, identification, exploitation, and resolution. She also explored the changing aspects of the nurse-patient relationship and identified six roles that could emerge from it: stranger, resource person, teacher, leader, surrogate, and counselor. Secondary roles played by the nurse include the technical expert, mediator, safety agent, researcher, tutor, and manager of environment. In addition, she discussed four psychobiological experiences that induce destructive and constructive responses: needs, frustrations, conflicts, and anxieties.
Peplau’s theory is mostly utilized in psychiatric/mental health nursing as its success is closely related with the relationship between the nurse and the patient. Caring for persons with mental illness necessitates knowledge and understanding of the patients’ perceptions, concerns and thought process. Her theory is mostly applied in caring for depressed patients and victims of domestic violence. Clinicians make use of the nurse-patient relationship to treat the patient holistically and to establish and communicate common goals for treatment.
The true value of nursing practice can only be accomplished by starting and strengthening the nurse-patient relationship. For the nurse to function as an educative and therapeutic force, understanding the meaning of patient experience by developing a network of communication through Peplau’s theory is therefore essential.
Alligood, M.R. & Tomey, A.M. (2006). Nursing Theorists and Their Work (6th ed.).St. Louis, Missouri: Mosby Elsevier.
Balita, C. & Octaviano, E. (2008). Theoretical Foundations of Nursing: The Philippine Perspective. Metro Manila, Philippines: Ultimate Learning Series.
Landry, A. (2009). Hildegard Peplau: Interpersonal Relations Nursing Theorist. Historical Biographies. Retrieved from
Shattell, M., McAllister, S., Hogan, B. & Thomas, S. (2006). “She took the time to make sure she understood”: Mental health patients’ experiences of being understood. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 20 (5). Retrieved from Read More
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