Academic journal article Perspectives in Psychiatric Care

The Peplau Decades

Academic journal article Perspectives in Psychiatric Care

The Peplau Decades

Article excerpt

As Dr. Peplau's student in the early 50s, I was at the threshold of what I will term phase two of the development of psychiatric nursing; this phase developing largely from her conceptions.

Peplau's significant contributions in the early '50s had a formative influence on the past three decades in psychiatric nursing and this period can be termed the Peplau decades.

Phase one in the development of psychiatric nursing as a specialty of nursing occurred prior to 1952. In this phase, psychiatric nursing could be characterized as a blend of kindness, compassion, and firmness practiced mostly in a hospital setting. By the late '40s and early '50s, a variety of theories from descriptive psychiatry and psychoanalysis had been introduced and a number of people were making contributions to identifying psychiatric nursing as a distinct specialty.

Peplau's significant contribution in the early '50s was to articulate a clear theoretical framework for nursing and psychiatric nursing. Phase two--the Peplau decades--was ushered in as nurses were made aware that such a theoretical framework existed and could be articulated and utilized in practice.

This was the coming of age for a discipline without reference to setting. The Peplau decades saw the emergence of an identifiable group of practitioners, who, utilizing theory acceptable to nursing and others, accomplished the following:

* Coined the terminology "psychiatric/mental health nursing," which combined two groups in nursing with distinctly different backgrounds--psychiatry and public health. …

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