Free Custom «Peplau's Nursing Theory on Interpersonal Relation» Essay Paper

Free Custom «Peplau's Nursing Theory on Interpersonal Relation» Essay Paper

Nursing theories provide a reference point with the help of which nurses can draw insights that will help them make necessary realignments in an attempt to improve the practice of care giving. On the other hand, a mid-range theory is the one that provides insights into a particular phenomenon. It provides a detailed explanation of specific phenomenon in the specific context contrary to the grand theory that offers an explanation of a phenomenon on a societal level (Smith & Liehr, 2014). The aim of the current paper is to provide an in-depth analysis of Peplau’s nursing theory on interpersonal relations giving insights regarding its theories, concepts and its applicability in the field of nursing.

Theory/Author Name and Background

Peplau’s theory is best known for its agitation in the field of nursing to incorporate the human relationship touch in any nursing engagement. With the theory bringing forth a reference point leading to improved interaction in nursing, this makes it a phenomenon-specific theory, which is a trait highly visible in all mid-range theories (Smith & Liehr, 2014). The founder of this theory is Hildegard Elizabeth Peplau, who played a huge role in the World War II, a phenomenon that highly influenced her during the formulation of the Peplau’s theory (Powers & Knapp, 2011). While taking care of the wounded soldiers, she realized the importance of the relationships between a nurse and his/her patients. This is the rationale behind the theory’s agitation for incorporation of human relationships in nursing undertakings. The requirement is that nurses should cultivate warm and healthy relationships with their patients since this will ensure that there is a healthy interaction between the phenomena that will enable both nurses and patients to bring forth vital information leading to the realization of the most appropriate treatment plan that is centered on a detailed decision.

The assertion of Peplau is that nursing entails helping the patients understand their health issues better, an eventuality that can only be realized through a healthy interaction between the nurse and the patient. Moreover, it was her understanding that with an improved level of education, nurses were better placed in serving their patients (McEwen & Wills, 2011). It is this assumption that stimulated to formulate the theory in an attempt to shed light on how the human touch through patient-nurse relationship is helpful in making nursing more patient-centered, a phenomenon that according to Peplau should be at the epicenter of nursing practice. Her role as a nurse in the army showed her another aspect, consisting in the fact that nursing field ought to be more active and that was the therapeutic role where patients require more than the universal care of injection and drug prescription. She realized that the soldiers required friendship more than they required nursing help, a phenomenon that made Peplau appreciate the role of human relationships in caring for the patients.


The reference point of the Peplau’ theory as the case for many interpersonal relationship theories was the Harry Stack Sullivan's theory of interpersonal relations. This original theory argued that humans were social beings and their welfare depended heavily on the existence of a supportive environment. Moreover, it was the assertion that all processes of human nature occurred out of the interpersonal relationship, and none of them occurred in isolation (McEwen & Wills, 2011). Based on this assertion, Peplau argued that the same interpersonal relationship was vital in promoting recovery in patients thereby demonstrating the importance of this relationship in nursing.

Phenomenon of Concern

The primary phenomenon of interest was to rubber stamp the importance of upholding a healthy interpersonal relationship between the nurses and patients. The major idea is that nurses have to cultivate a helpful relationship with their patients as this, according to Peplau’s theory, provided a platform where nursing can play its role of caring for the patients in a more diligent manner centered on patients’ needs (Powers & Knapp, 2011). Another fundamental phenomenon of concern was the ‘environment’ metaparadigm of nursing where there is a firm agitation for nurses to ensure that they provide a therapeutic environment for all of their patients. It was the assertion of the theory that by providing a therapeutic environment for the patients, nurses will be providing a platform under which the patient-nurse relationship will be a healing relationship characterized by reduced levels of anxiety.

Theory Description


The primary reasoning in the Peplau’s theory is the inductive reasoning, and this is clearly evident in the application of human relationship in nursing. Inductive reasoning plays a tribue role in the general laws formulated by evidence as a means of making a well-grounded conclusion. In the same manner, in Peplau’s theory, there is the utilization of evidence brought forward by Harry Stack Sullivan's theory in addition to her observation of the army while performing her role as a nurse (Powers & Knapp, 2011). Moreover, inductive reasoning is present in the theory where there is an elaboration of how interpersonal relationship is formed, nurtured and ended in the nursing undertakings. The theory argues that the interpersonal relationship starts with the orientation where the nurse and patients start to have a healthy exchange based on which the problem at hand is being addressed (Powers & Knapp, 2011).

The next phase of nurturing the interpersonal relations in nursing is the identification process where recognizing and acknowledging the patient’s problem is followed by the best possible restoration process aimed at helping the patient (Powers & Knapp, 2011). There is also the exploitation where nurse’s expertise is utilized in helping the patient through accumulated evidence (Powers & Knapp, 2011). The last step is making a resolution where the intention is to ensure that the primary purpose formed under orientation is met, and the relationship comes to the end. This elaboration of the steps followed in nurturing the interrelationship between the patient and the nurse present the Peplau’s theory as an inductive reasoning based theory.

Major Concepts of the Theory and Their Nature of Definition

The primary concept of the theory is the fact that nursing is a field where nurses help people have clarity on the issues faced by them. Moreover, it is the assertion of the theory that improved self-awareness leads to improved ability to help others and thus calls for improving ‘self’ among the nurses as a way of improving the field of nursing (Powers & Knapp, 2011). Another concept of the theory entails the relevance of incorporating the human relationship in all nursing engagements. One more concept of Peplau’s theory is the fact that nursing is an interpersonal sector where all its major roles revolve around the interaction between the nurses and the patients (Smith & Liehr, 2014). Thus, its success depends on the quality of the exchange between a nurse and a patient. Also, it is the assertion that nursing should be a field that provides a therapeutic environment to the patients characterized by healing seeking patterns brought forth by a healthy interrelationship between the nurses and the patients.

All the concepts are operationally defined since they heavily reference the actions of nurses in different undertakings. In other words, all the concepts of the theory revolve around the actions that nurses take in handling various situations in line with their duties. A good example is a call for nurses to uphold healthy relationships with their patients. Moreover, the theory demands the nurses to ensure that they build a therapeutic environment for patients that would contribute to their healing process. Similarly, there is the concept that asserts that nursing is a field centered on interrelationships between the patients and the nurse.  

Peplau is very consistent in all aspects of the theory as all concepts are heavily intertwined with the primary goal of making nursing more interaction based. Moreover, the concepts are all centered on ensuring that nursing undertakings are guided by the exchange of information between the nurses and the patients bringing forth consistency in the manner through which the author reveals her assertion in the theory.

Interpretation of How Concepts Are Defined

The concepts are explicitly expressed since they are all making a direct demand for nurses based on making nursing a field that is centered on a healthy exchange between the nurses and the patients. The concept with an assertion that nurses should provide a therapeutic environment for the patients and improve their ‘self’ to help others better are good examples of how the concepts are explicitly defined.

Concept Relationship

The concepts are directly connected by a common bond of the improved interpersonal relationship. The concept that nursing is a field centered on the interrelationship between the nurses and the patients is directly related to the concept that nursing should provide a therapeutic environment to the patients. This is because healthy interaction between a nurse and a patient that the relevant environment can enhance the patient’s recovery, which can be identified and formulated in the theory. Moreover, the concept that nursing helps people clarify their problems is highly correlated with the concept of healthy exchange between the patients and the nurses. It is out of the exchange that a nurse can be able to identify the problem faced by the patients and clarify the issue to the patient. The above examplles outline how the concepts of Peplau’s theory are profoundly intertwined.



The theory makes the assumption that nurses profoundly influence the patients’ scope and ability to understand the parameters of the problem he/she is facing (Powers & Knapp, 2011). This means that the character of a nurse is very important when it comes to the outcomes of the treatment period and this is the reason for the agitation for improvement of ‘self’ for the sake of an improvement of service to others. Another assumption is that nursing practice is a learning platform where through the interaction between a nurse and a patient, both come out of the situation more informed (Powers & Knapp, 2011). However, the theory is built on the assumption that nursing is based on the interpersonal relationship where all of its undertakings are correspondingly based on the feedback acquired through the interaction of the patients and the nurses.

Theory’s Four Concepts of the Nursing Metaparadigm

There is a clear coverage of all the four metaparadigms of nursing. In the context of the environment, the theory perceives the environment as all external forces that influence the recovery process and agitate nurses to provide a therapeutic environment for all the patients (Reed & Shearer, 2012). Regarding personality, the theory perceives a person as social being that needs to interact with other human beings to ensure his or her welfare. Nursing is viewed as a field/process centered on interrelationships in the form of the interaction between the nurses and the patients. Health is perceived as the state of being free from anxiety brought about by a healthy exchange between a nurse and patient leading to improved personality (Powers & Knapp, 2011).

Clarity of the Theory

The theory is clear enough and easily understood due to the smooth coherence in its concepts that aim at influencing nursing as a field centered on the interrelationship between the nurses and the patients. Moreover, there is also a singular demand minimizing the element of divided attention that may lead to biasness. Also, the primary motivating factor of the theory in terms of making nursing more interactional is well captured through a detailed step to step procedure in which the interrelationship should be initiated, nurtured and terminated. The theory also captures well the rationale for its agitation for the improved level of interaction in nursing where the intention is to improve the flow of information between the nurses and the patients.


General Application

The theory provides insights to nurses on how to build the relationship with the patients in a sequenced manner besides having goals that need to be accomplished at every step of the relationship building. Moreover, with the theory call for nurses to cultivate the culture of interaction, more information can be availed by the patients making it possible for the nurses to provide improved care by means of an improved level of information. Also, the theory cultivates the culture of perceiving the exchange between the nurses and the patients as a learning platform, a phenomenon that can improve the level of inquiry among the nurses. Over and above, integration of the primary demand of the theory in terms of developing the interrelationship between the patients and the nurses can improve the care giving to the patients through an improved treatment process that is based on detailed information given by the patients 

Specialized Application

As a Case Nurse Manager, the success of any undertakings depends on the level of information availed by the patients. Therefore, Peplau’s’ theory is more than a practice in this field. The interaction agitated for by the theory forms the basis through which a Case Nurse Manger educates the patients on illness management and medication. At the core of any undertakings by Case Nurse Manager lies trust built between the patient and the nurse, which is a phenomenon that can only be attained through continued interaction with the patient. Peplau’s theory is therefore highly applicable in the specialty of Case Nurse Manager.


It is evident that Peplau’s theory provides recommendations that if well applied can make nursing more patient-centered through improved adherence to patients needs in the course of their interaction with the nurses. Moreover, it is clear that that all demands mentioned in the theory are aimed at improving the way nurses and patients interact as means of improving the field of nursing. There is, therefore, a clear relevance in applying the theory in the area of nursing if patients are ready to be actively involved in the treatment process.


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