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Theory Components of Nursing

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Theory Components

The nursing profession is a multidimensional field. The nurse’s role has changed over many years and the role of nurses has evolved tremendously. The twentieth century brought us Virginia Henderson (first lady of nursing) who defined nursing as “the unique function of the nurse is to assist the individual, sick or well, in the performance of those activities contributing to health or its recovery (or peaceful death) that he would perform unaided if he had the necessary strength, will or knowledge. And to do this in such a way as to help him gain independence as rapidly as possible” (Burggraf, 2012). Today, we view the nursing role much differently due in large part to nursing theory. Hildegard Peplau believed that nurses should be more cognitive of the needs of the patient versus just performing the needed tasks.

Hildegard Peplau was a theorist born in Reading, Pennsylvania in 1909. She had an extensive educational background including completing her nursing diploma program, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in interpersonal psychology, receiving her master’s degree in psychiatric nursing and finally her doctorate degree in curriculum development. With this extensive education in psychology and psychiatry, it is no wonder she developed the Theory of interpersonal relations and given the name “mother of psychiatric nursing” (Toomey & Algood, 2006). Her theory was said to be influenced by Harry Stack Sullivan who developed the interpersonal theory. Peplau created the middle range nursing theory of interpersonal relations. Her theory can be referred to by psychodynamic nursing (understanding of one’s behavior) and “led the way towards humane treatment of patients with behavior and personality disorders” (O’Toole &...

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