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Peplau's theory of interpersonal relations and its applications in aesthetic nursing

02 April 2023
Volume 12 · Issue 3


In this article, Leslie Fletcher introduces American nurse Peplau's well-known theory of interpersonal relations, explaining how it can be applied to an aesthetic nursing context

Hildegard Peplau was a nursing theorist who published the theory of interpersonal relations in 1952. During her early years of nursing, she had a passion for integrating psychology into (what seemed at the time) a very task-oriented state of nursing. She furthered her education through her master's degree and became a faculty member at Rutgers University for 20 years. There she created the first graduate program for ‘clinical nurse specialists’ in psychiatric nursing, and in 1968 her interpersonal techniques became the core of psychiatric nursing (Spray, 1999).

Peplau's interpersonal theory is applicable to all types of nursing practice; however, it is particularly relevant in psychiatric nursing due to the fact that most psychiatric patients have difficulty communicating and trusting their providers (Peplau, 1992). Interpersonal techniques encompass skilled verbal interventions aimed at accomplishing a deepened nurse-patient relationship, problem resolution, and confidence building in patients through joint efforts of understanding and treating their perceptions of problems (Delaney et al, 2017; Peplau, 1992).

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