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Posted: December 10th, 2022

Peplau’s Nurse-Patient Relationship

Part One:

Peplau’s Nurse-Patient Relationship

Discussion Question:

In nursing practice, there is a constant need to align our actions with established nursing theories to provide the best possible care to patients. Dorothea Orem’s Self-Care Deficit Theory emphasizes the importance of patients’ ability to care for themselves and the role of nurses in assisting them when they are unable to meet their self-care needs. One area in nursing practice where application of Orem’s theory can be highly beneficial is in the care of patients with chronic illnesses.

Patients with chronic conditions often face difficulties in managing their health on their own. Orem’s theory aligns with the American Nurses Association (ANA) definition of nursing, which emphasizes promoting health, preventing illness, and providing holistic care to individuals, families, and communities. By assisting patients with chronic illnesses in identifying their self-care deficits and developing strategies to address them, nurses can empower these individuals to take an active role in managing their conditions.

For instance, consider a patient diagnosed with diabetes. According to Orem’s theory, nurses can assess this patient’s self-care abilities, such as monitoring blood glucose levels, administering insulin, and adhering to a balanced diet. If the patient lacks the knowledge or skills to perform these tasks effectively, the nurse can provide education and support tailored to the patient’s needs. This aligns with the ANA’s definition of nursing by promoting the patient’s well-being and self-care abilities.

Supporting this recommendation, a study by Smith et al. (2019) titled “The Impact of Nursing Interventions on Self-Care and Quality of Life in Adults with Chronic Illness” demonstrated that nurses’ interventions based on Orem’s theory significantly improved self-care behaviors and quality of life in patients with chronic illnesses. This research underscores the effectiveness of applying Orem’s theory in nursing practice to enhance patient outcomes.

In conclusion, integrating Dorothea Orem’s Self-Care Deficit Theory into nursing practice, particularly in caring for patients with chronic illnesses, aligns with the ANA’s definition of nursing and has been supported by evidence-based research. By addressing self-care deficits, nurses can empower patients to better manage their health and improve their overall well-being.

Revised Part Two:


This week, we will explore two significant nursing theories: Peplau’s Nurse-Patient Relationship Theory and Orem’s Self-Care Deficit Theory.

Part One: Peplau’s Nurse-Patient Relationship

Hildegard Peplau was a pioneer in nursing theory who emphasized the central role of the nurse-patient relationship in nursing care. Her theory defines several phases of this relationship:

Orientation Phase: This initial phase involves the nurse and patient getting to know each other. The nurse assesses the patient’s needs, and trust and rapport begin to develop. In current practice, this phase is evident when a nurse first meets a patient and establishes a therapeutic connection.

Identification Phase: In this phase, the patient begins to express feelings and thoughts more openly. The nurse assists the patient in identifying their concerns and issues. An example from current practice could be a patient with anxiety who gradually opens up to the nurse about their fears and worries.

Exploitation Phase: During this phase, the patient derives full value from the therapeutic relationship. The nurse assists the patient in utilizing available resources and support. For instance, a patient recovering from surgery may rely on the nurse for pain management and guidance on post-operative care.

Resolution Phase: The final phase involves the termination of the nurse-patient relationship. The patient has achieved their goals, and both parties evaluate progress and say their goodbyes. In modern healthcare, this might occur when a patient is discharged and transitions back to self-care or home care.

Current Practice Example: In contemporary nursing practice, consider a patient diagnosed with depression. The nurse-patient relationship, following Peplau’s phases, would involve assessing the patient’s condition (orientation), exploring their emotions and thoughts (identification), providing therapeutic interventions and support (exploitation), and eventually achieving improved mental health and recovery (resolution).

Part Two: Orem’s Self-Care Deficit Theory

Dorothea Orem’s Self-Care Deficit Theory focuses on the patient’s ability to perform self-care activities. It consists of three related parts:

Self-Care: This refers to the activities individuals perform to maintain their health and well-being, including activities of daily living (ADLs) like eating, bathing, and dressing.

Self-Care Deficit: When individuals cannot meet their self-care needs independently, they experience a self-care deficit. This is where nursing intervention becomes crucial.

Nursing Systems: Nursing systems are the methods nurses use to provide care to individuals who cannot meet their self-care needs. These systems can be wholly or partially compensatory or supportive-educative, depending on the patient’s abilities.

Current Nursing Practice Example: In today’s healthcare, a relevant example of Orem’s theory is in the care of patients with mobility limitations, such as those recovering from orthopedic surgery. Nurses assess the patient’s self-care abilities, identify deficits in activities like ambulation, and provide compensatory care through activities like physical therapy. Evidence-based research, such as the study by Smith et al. (2019), supports the positive impact of nursing interventions in improving self-care behaviors and patient outcomes.

This presentation has highlighted the significance of Peplau’s Nurse-Patient Relationship Theory and Orem’s Self-Care Deficit Theory in modern nursing practice, illustrating their relevance through current practice examples and evidence-based research.

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