We move into modern times now as we feature today's New Jersey nurse: Hildegard Peplau. (Every nurse who reads this just groaned.)
She is known as the mother of psychiatric nursing although her ideas have influenced all fields of nursing. She introduced the concept of the nurse-patient relationship (more groaning!) 60 years ago at a time when patients did not actively participate in their care. Her ground-breaking theroretical and clincal work led to the development of the distinct field of psychiatric nursing. She published her book Interpersonal Relations in Nursing in 1952, although it was completed in 1948 - publication was delayed four years because at the time it was too radical for a nurse to publish without a physician as co-author.
Perhaps because of this insulting event, she was the major force in moving nursing from an occupation to a profession and a proponent of advanced education for nurses. She was a member of the faculty of the College of Nursing at Rutgers University and there is our Jersey connection. Rutgers has a unique identity as a colonial college chartered in 1766, a land-grant college, and Ivy League School and a state university. Also, there is no apostrophe in Rutgers.
As an influential leader in the American Nurses Association, Peplau urged continuing education and advanced practice for nurses. At Rutgers, she created the first graduate level program for clinical specialists in psychiatric nursing. She was both the president and the executive director of the ANA, an advisor to the World Health Organization, a member of the International Council of Nurses and a fellow of the Academy of Sigma Theta Tau, the honor society of nursing. She also held seven doctoral degrees. Take that, 1948!
"Somewhere, somehow, at some time in the past, courageous nurses determined these skills, learned them, fought for the right to use them, refined them, and taught them to other nurses." Dr. Hildegard Peplau
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