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Nursing Theory Analysis Paper

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Peplau`s Nursing Theory on Interpersonal Relation

The nursing theory provides an avenue for the nursing to reference, thus improving the art of caregiving through the improved informed decision-making. The theory also promotes self-reliance through enhanced creativity since the nurses have a better understanding of various conditions. In the same appreciation, this paper focuses on the insights provided by Peplau’s Nursing theory of interpersonal relationship. The paper starts with an analysis of background information on nursing theory and its role in improving nursing undertakings. Then a study on the theorist is performed, where the major phenomenon in the theory and forces that have motivated the formulation of the theory are elaborated. The next phase of the paper is the theory description, where there is an analysis of the reasoning employed in the theory followed by the concept analysis, shedding light on the definition and relation. The evaluation of the theory is the next phase, where a keen analysis of the assumptions is made in the theory. There is also coverage of four concepts of the nursing metaparadigm followed by the verification on the clarity of the theory. The last phase of the paper covers the application where the theory general applicability in nursing is discussed, which is followed by its application in the field of nursing in Cath Lab. The paper ends with a conclusion, where the major insights of the paper are outlined.

In the field of nursing, nursing theories play a crucial role in providing a reference point, where the nursing front can refer in the line of ensuring that the care they give to the various patients reflects the best practices in the field of medicine. Moreover, it is the nursing theories that allow the nurses to improve their art of caregiving as the result of the improved decision-making (Cranmer & Nhemachena, 2013). Furthermore, the information brought about by the nursing theories enables the nurses to improve the “self-reliance” when dealing with different conditions faced by the patients. This helps the nurses improve their creativity, thus enabling them to avail improved services to the patients (Alligood, 2013). In the current order in the field of medicine, the call is for nurses to integrate more evidence-based practice, a phenomenon highly agitated for the integration of the available information on a particular matter while availing the needed help (Morrison & Furlong, 2014). Nursing theories provide a credible and thorough source of helpful information that can help nurses prove their care in a manner that is in line with the current trends and expectations. However, to ensure a full integration of the information provided by the various theories, a good understanding of the theories is required. Thus, this realization of the importance of understanding the insights provided by the various theories is what this paper intends to provide an in-depth analysis of Peplau`s Nursing Theory on Interpersonal Relation.

Theory/Author Name and Background

Peplau’s Nursing Theory of Interpersonal Relation can be classified as a mid-range theory since it provides insights on a specific matter, which is the interpersonal relation. Published by Peplau in 1952, the theory provides a reference point that is aimed at improving the relationship among the nurses as a means of enhancing their caregiving capacities. The author of the theory Hildegard Elizabeth Peplau was nurse in World War II in the Army Nurse Corps, which greatly influenced her into the formulation of the interpersonal relation theory (Alligood, 2014). After the war, she was heavily involved in the formulation of the Mental Health System in the United States, where the exchange between a nurse and a patient was crucial to the success of the treatment process. Moreover, when she was a nurse in the army, the exchange between her and the wounded soldiers was also crucial to the provision of the needed help. It was this experience that had motivated her into the formulation of Peplau’s Theory on Interpersonal Relation.


In the formulation her theory, Peplau was influenced by the work of Henry Stack Sullivan who work argued that understanding an individual was better placed through the understanding the interpersonal relationship. She referenced this work as well as that of Abraham Harold Maslow who provided insights on ways of upholding the psychological health. Moreover, the work of Percival Symonds on the methods of improving interpersonal relations also played a crucial factor in the formulation of Peplau’s theory (Alligood, 2014). Jointly, it is evident that Peplau’s theory highly references different work that provided information on how to meet different health parameters through the utilization of the tool of interpersonal relations.

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Phenomenon of Concern

The primary phenomenon of concern to the theory is the interpersonal relationship between a nurse and a patient. The call is for the nurses to enhance their interpersonal relations with their parents as a way of ensuring that they provide the needed help and not the “normal” expected help (Alligood, 2014). Another concern handled by the theory is the aspect of the provision of an environment, where the patient and the nurse can interact, thus coming up with the right platform to be followed in the line of providing the right help at the right time. According to Peplau, nursing is discipline centered upon the interaction of two complex individuals, the nurse, and the patient (Alligood, 2014). These two parameters form the core basis of Peplau’s Nursing Theory of Interpersonal Relations, where the argument is that for nursing to provide tailor-made help to each patient; there is the need for the nurses to cultivate a health exchange with their patients (Alligood, 2013). This agitation is relevant since it is through the exchange between the nurses and the patients that vital information is availed by the patents. Consequently, this helps in coming up with the right treatment strategy, thus aiding in the adherence to the evidence-based practice of nursing.

Theory Description


Peplau’s theory utilizes the inductive reasoning centered upon the interpersonal relations between the nurse and the patients. Inductive reasoning is centered upon logic, and the premises of any assertion made is based on verifiable facts that are true at any time. In the context of Peplau’s theory, the inductive reasoning is visible through the utilization of other works that had concluded on the importance of managing interpersonal relations such as the Henry Stack Sullivan theory of interpersonal relations. Moreover, it is of importance to point out that in inductive reasoning, the intention is for the arguer to prove the relevance of the conclusion taken. In the same line of thought, in Peplau’s theory, there is a keen illustration of how the nurse-patient interrelation is helpful in the provision of the relevant help (Cranmer & Nhemachena, 2013). Another presence of inductive reasoning in Peplau’s theory is evident in the elaborating stage, where the theory outlines the different roles taken by the nurse in the line of meeting the patients’ needs.

According to Peplau, the interpersonal relation between a nurse and patients starts with the nurse taking the role of a stranger, where the nurse and the patient meet for the first time and where the demands are for the nurse to establish a platform, under which he or she can win the trust of the patient (Alligood, 2014). From here, the nurse takes the role of resource person, where the patients are provided with all the answers to the areas of interest that are relevant to the case at hand. Here, the demand is for the nurse to have a mastery of information in the area of interest (Cranmer & Nhemachena, 2013). Moreover, the argument is that the nurse needs to be conversant with the methods of communication to ensure the delivery of information in the appropriate manner.

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Once the nurse has availed the needed information to the patient, the next role a nurse takes is that of a teacher. Here, the expectation is that the nurse is in a position to teach the patients on a particular health matter.

Then the nurse takes the leadership role, where the nurse leads the patients during the treatment process to attain the desired results (Smith & Lehr, 2013). Afterwards, the nurse plays the role of a surrogate, where she or he act as a substitute for another person well known to the patient. However, it is expected for the nurse to clarify the issue to the patient. Lastly, the nurse takes the role of a counselor, where the goal is to encourage the patient to have some self-exploration on the issue he or she faces (Smith & Lehr, 2013). The demand on the nurse is to provide a therapeutic environment that enables the patient to discover more details pertaining the issue in question. The above illustration and analysis clearly demonstrate Peplau’s theory as a theory based on inductive reasoning.

Major Concepts in the Theory and Their Nature of Definition

Peplau’s Nursing Theory on Interpersonal Relations argues that nursing is a therapeutic field because it is under nursing that patients get the needed help. Consequently, it is expected that nurses provide a therapeutic environment to the patients as a way of helping them attain the improved health status (Smith & Lehr, 2013). It is also the assertion in the theory that nursing is an interpersonal process since it entails having two or more people engaged in a communication aimed at achieving the predetermined goal. Peplau argues that this exchange is vital in the process of providing healing to the patients. This concept forms the basis of Peplau’s theory, where the core intention is illustrating the important role managing the interpersonal relation in nursing in the line of providing the most appropriate care. The assertion is that nurses need to build healthy exchanges between them and their patients, as this will allow the patients to provide all relevant information (Alligood, 2013). The result is an eventuality, where all the relevant information on a particular condition is availed, thus helping the nurse provide the necessary guidance and care.

Throughout the theory, the concepts are operationally defined, with huge reference point being the nurses’ engagement in various situations. In other words, all the concepts revolve around the operations undertaken by nurses. For example, there is the concept of nursing as a therapeutic field, where the demands are for the nurses to ensure that in their line of duty, they provide a therapeutic environment for the patients. Moreover, there exists the concept of nursing as an interpersonal process since it is based upon an exchange between a nurse and a patient. Thus, it is evident that all the concepts are closely related to different undertakings by the nurses in their line of duty, which indicates that they are operationally defined.

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In the theory, Peplau is very consistent throughout all the assertions that are centered upon the realization of a nursing undertaking that is guided by the insights provided by the nurse-patient exchange. Moreover, throughout the theory, the assertions are intertwined by the common call for the nursing to be more of an interaction between the nurses and the patients, and this is an indication of a clear consistency throughout the theory.

Concept Definition

The concepts are explicitly defined since there are clear and direct demands on what is expected by the nurse in the line of their duty by the theory. A good illustration of the explicitness of the concepts is on the demand that nursing is an interpersonal process that should involve an exchange between a nurse and a patient (Alligood, 2013). This is a direct demand for the nurses to ensure that their undertakings reflect the interpersonal exchange.

How Major Concepts Relate in the Theory

One of the major concepts of the theory is that nursing is therapeutic, as patients are helped to understand their predicaments better, and this is possible through patient-nurse interaction. Another major concept is that nursing is an interpersonal process where there is an exchange between two or more individuals. These two concepts are heavily and directly related since they have a common denominator that of making nursing an exchange based undertaking.



Assumptions in this theory are explicitly outlined. One of the assumptions is that in nursing, a nurse and a patient work together and ultimately become more mature regarding the improved knowledge on the issue at hand throughout the treatment process (Alligood, 2013). Another assumption is that nurses have to take different roles, those of a teacher and a leader to name but a few in the treatment process, if the needs of the patients are to be met. However, the main assumption is that nursing is a felid that should be centered upon a health exchange between the nurses and their patients.

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Four Concepts of the Nursing Metaparadigm

There is an in-depth coverage of the four metaparadigm of the nursing. According to Peplau’s theory, a person is an organism that strives to minimize the anxiety brought about by needs (Smith & Lehr, 2013). On the other hand, the environment is perceived as all possible external forces outside a person and it forms a large pie of what is makes a culture. Health in the context of Peplau’s theory is a symbol word, indicating forward movement in term of personality and leading to creative and productive personal and ultimately community living (Smith & Lehr, 2013). Nursing is perceived as interpersonal relationship model of four sequential phases namely, orientation, identification, exploitation, and lastly, resolution.

Clarity of the Theory

With the theory centrally discussing one variable of interpersonal relations, the theory is clear and simple to understand. Moreover, the concepts in the theory are heavily intertwined, and this makes the assertions a cohesive phenomenon, making the demands of the theory more elaborate. Additionally, it is also evident that the demands of the theory on nurses are explicitly defined. Thus, the theory becomes more understandable due to precise demands that eliminate the problem of irrelevance. Over and above, the theory is centered upon one demand for the nurses to ensure improved interpersonal relations with their patients, making it a mid-range theory that is thorough, straight forward, and thus, clear.


General Nursing Application

The theory provides insights on different ways the nurses can establish a lasting interpersonal relation with the patient to ensure that the interaction brings forth crucial information needed in the provision of evidence-based care. Moreover, with the theory elaborating on the different roles that the nurse should take in the caregiving, it empowers the nurses to understand their role in the treatment process better. At the same time, the theory provides a helpful reference point when it comes to the understanding of the art of nursing, where the demand is to center all the action on a nurse-patient interaction. Over and above, Peplau’s theory brings to the light the various demands on the nurses that enhance the capacity of the nursing to provide care to the patient, where the patients are actively involved in the treatment process, which leads to the improved services.

Application in the Area of Specialty

For a nurse working in the Cath Lab, the information availed by the patient is very helpful since it forms the basis, under which lifesaving decision are centered. Therefore, the patient-nurse interrelation is quite crucial when it comes to making crucial decisions, which makes the insights of Peplau’s theory rater appropriate to the nurses in Cath Lab.

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Moreover, it is important to point out that in my center of practice, I deal with the people from different cultural background, and the understanding on the best way of managing interpersonal relations is very helpful in a forming healthy exchange that enables one to make more informed decisions. Overall, in Cath Lab, we deal with the patients facing life-threatening conditions. Therefore, there, is a great need in ensuring that the patient is highly integrated into the treatment process. This phenomenon is highly captured through a well-coordinated exchange between the patients and the nurses. Thus, it is evident that insights provided by Peplau’s theory are quite helpful in ensuring that nurses in Cath Lab form a healthy and therapeutic exchanges needed by these patients.


It is evident that Peplau’s Theory on Interpersonal Relation provides crucial insights that, if well adhered to, can enhance the art of caregiving among the nurses. Furthermore, it is clear that the theory provides a reference point, through which nurses can improve not only their art of caregiving but also their interaction with their patients. It is also evident that with the utilization of insights given by Peplau’s theory, nurses will be better placed in building strong bonds with their patients, thus enabling a team-based action during the treatment process. Through the analysis of the roles taken by the nurses in the treatment process, it is clear that nursing ought and should be an interpersonal process to ensure that all relevant information is availed before any decision is made. Thus, through the insights provided by Peplau’s theory, it is evident that nursing theories play a crucial role in providing a reference point, where nurses can draw helpful tips of handling different situations in their line of duty, leading to the improved service delivery and ultimately improved patients’ welfare.


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