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theory guided practice in nursing

Theory Guided Practice

Subject: Nursing
Number of words/pages: 1057 words/4 pages
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It is very challenging to choose a theory of practice due to the fact that there are so many theories from which to choose. It is therefore very important to have a good understanding of the theory in relation to the clinical setting in order to assess their compatibility. This helps the registered nurse to be in a position to address the patient needs according to the setting requirements. This means that the applicability of the nursing theories is not universal and therefore it varies according to the clinical setting. Different clinical settings will be suitable for different theories and therefore it is the role of a registered nurse to be able to match these two varying situations (McKenna, 2014). According to me, I would prefer to choose a theory that best fits my personal nursing practice. For instance, I would choose a theory that helps me to achieve quality patient care through establishing good relationships with the patient for his or her benefit. The purpose of this paper is to discuss Hildegard Peplau’s Interpersonal theory for a registered nurse in acute care hospitals.

As a registered nurse, working in acute care hospitals, my responsibilities will be to provide medical patient care for individuals facing an unexpected serious medical problem that calls for immediate assessment and treatment. In such a setting, it is my role to ensure that the patient receives a provisional diagnosis and treatment plan. In addition, the patients will also need extra time or even attention in order to be able to recover from an illness or injury before returning home. This setting in most cases is found in large hospitals because the quality of care in such hospitals is much far better compared to what the patient can receive in primary and secondary care levels. The reason for selecting acute care hospital setting is due to the fact most of the patients in such settings always need maximum and extra attention in order to be able to satisfy their care needs. In relation to this, as a registered nurse, in order to be able to work effectively in this setting, then it is very important to have a good understanding as well as application of the interpersonal theory.

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Hildegard Peplau’s interpersonal relations theory mainly focuses on the nurse/ patient relationship. According to her, there should be a good coexistence between the nurse and the patient in order for the nurse to work effectively and the patient to benefit in the maximum way possible. This good relationship is built through a process that involves orientation, identification, exploitation and resolution (George, 2011). Therefore, being a registered nurse, it is fundamental to have a good understanding on how to establish this strong relationship with the patient through following the four phases. According to Peplau, nursing is a maturing force that is in most cases realized as the personality develops especially through educational, therapeutic, and interpersonal processes. Nurses should always establish personal relationships with individuals or patients when the need arise. This theory is still popular to clinicians working with patients who have psychological problems.

Interpersonal relations theory when classified on the basis of paradigm roots, it is more of interactional and behavioral. Critically looking at the choice of the clinical setting that is acute care hospitals, there is no doubt that interactions and behavior of the concerned parties will greatly affect the quality of the services rendered. The interactional paradigm emphasizes on relationships between people and their respective roles in the society. In relation to this, nursing practices are seen as interactional processes between the practitioners and the patients (McKenna, 2014). Therefore, in order to work effectively in an acute hospital setting, interaction should always be professional and ethical. This means that as a registered nurse, I should not engage in unethical activities or compromise the nursing regulations regardless of the prevailing situation. This is in line with behavioral paradigm. Through having such understanding, as a registered nurse, it will be very easy for me to work better even in similar or different settings.

Acute care hospitals in most cases provide a 24 hour care for their patients. In addition, they also provide diagnosis and treatment plan for the patients in order to restore their good health. Registered nurses will always have opportunities to meet and interect with patients who require maximum attention and care in this setting and therefore it is very important for a registered nurse to fully understand patient needs in this setting. Apart from understanding the needs of the patient, a registered nurse should be in a position to holistically communicate with the patient. Interpersonal theory provides the best framework for registered nurses and other medical practitioners to understand a holistic communication skills during their encounter with patients in acute hospitals and thus understanding of this theory stands out to be very important in the medical field (George, 2011). Registered nurse should effectively use the four phases of Peplau’s interpersonal relations theory to acquire the right understanding of holistic communication with patients who need intensive care.

Acute care hospitals are suitable for registered nurses and other medical practitioners who are social, open minded and patience. As an individual with all these qualities and many more, I would be in a position to effectively offer my services in such setting. Through the help of the six criteria, I was able to gain knowledge about my patient needs, the relevant paradigms and above all, the applicability of interpersonal relations theory in acute care hospital setting. This theory emphasizes more on nurse/ patient relationship that ensures the two do the right thing all the time.  This makes the theory to best fit acute care hospital setting as interpersonal relationships between the nurse and the patient are key. To all registered nurses and medical practitioners with intentions of working in such setting, Peplau’s theory would effectively equip them with all the necessary techniques to improve their personal relations. It is important to note that there is no right way to practice nursing. Therefore, in most cases, multiple nursing theories will be used in a workplace.


1. George, J. B. (2011). Nursing Theories: The Base for Professional Nursing Practice, 6/e. Pearson Education India.

2. McKenna, H., Pajnkihar, M., & Murphy, F. (2014). Fundamentals of Nursing Models, Theories and Practice, with Wiley E-Text. John Wiley & Sons.

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