Pelletier and Peplau’s Nursing Theories Comparison


The importance of the sphere of nursing is evidenced by multiple theories that are created to help health workers in the delivery of care to patients and improving their results. For instance, Hildegard Peplau’s theory of interpersonal relations is one of the ideas describing the peculiarities of the bond between nurses and patients and the roles these actors play in the recovery process. (“Theory of Interpersonal Relations,” 2012). This framework assumes that the central purpose of nursing is to help others to understand their difficulties and work together to overcome them by selecting the most appropriate solutions.

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Ida Orlando Pelletiers theory is another essential teaching that contributes to the improvement of the delivery of care and explains some aspects of nursing. It presupposes that the central role of a nurse is to discover patients problems and provide immediate assistance (“Orlando’s Nursing Process Theory,” 2012). At the same time, success can be achieved only if the patient takes part in the process while a nurse has enough competence to assist him/her in recovery.


The given perspectives emerged because of the appearance of a particular need for the classification of care and analysis of its peculiarities. The theory of interpersonal relations in nursing revolves around the fundamental role of communication and its importance for both a health worker and a patient. Peplau introduced the framework in 1952 under the impact of a significant reconsideration of the sphere of nursing and the shift of priorities towards interpersonal communication (“Theory of Interpersonal Relations,” 2012).

As for the second theory, it was suggested in 1972 under the impact of the processes peculiar to the healthcare sector of that period of time (“Orlando’s Nursing Process Theory,” 2012). The fact is that the nurses ability to provide immediate care to patients became the central aspect of their work; at the same time, only discipline and observation of all prescriptions by the patient can help to attain improvement and guarantee recovery. In such a way, the theory becomes a reflection of the existing peculiarities of nursing and its pivotal tasks.

Philosophical Underpinnings

Revolving around the issue, one should also consider the fact that all nursing theories have particular philosophical underpinnings that precondition their topicality and relevance regarding the existing setting. For instance, the theory of interpersonal relations rests on the idea that nursing is a moral practice that is focused on the satisfaction of peoples basic needs and the provision of needed care to patients (“Theory of Interpersonal Relations,” 2012).

At the same time, communication remains one of the central elements of this paradigm as patients should be provided with all aspects that might impact their recovery. In this regard, Peplau theorys philosophic underpinning includes the idea that to recover a person has to communicate and share his/her problems with a specialist to understand the peculiarities of the process.

Pelletiers theory also utilizes the nature of nursing and its focus on ethical concerns. The author assumes that discipline, as one of the central factors impacting behaviors of all individuals, is the key to success (Masters, 2014). This idea is close to philosophical assumptions stating that a person is responsible for his/her actions and precondition their results. In such a way, the theory uses the philosophical framework to empower its assumptions and demonstrate the necessity of discipline and commitment.

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Major Assumptions, Concepts, and Relationships

Nevertheless, the central concept of the Theory of Interpersonal Relations is that the attainment of a goal can be achieved only through the series of steps towards the final success that involve interaction between two or more individuals who share the same purpose (“Theory of Interpersonal Relations,” 2012). In this regard, communication, as one of the central ways to align cooperation among team members acquires the top priority. The nurse and the patient should engage in a beneficial collaboration to become mature and knowledgeable in the process and eliminate all problems that might arise.

Pelletiers theory suggests another framework for the provision of care. Its major assumption is that the needed help may not be what it appears to be or was expected (McEwen & Wills, 2014). Under these conditions, nurses should be ready to use their perception and persistence to explain to patients the need for appropriate behaviors and discipline to observe all recommendations and recover (Masters, 2014). These issues create the theoretical basis for the theory and its further implementation.

Clinical Applications

Both theories discussed above can be applied to the modern healthcare sector to improve results and assist patients in their recovery. For instance, the Theory of Interpersonal Relations still remains topical because of the focus on patient’s needs and their satisfaction. Regarding this idea, all individuals should be informed about the process of treatment and their current states as it might contribute to the achievement of better outcomes (Masters, 2014). Utilization of the theory can be useful under these conditions as it presupposes the collaborative work with a patient built with the help of interpersonal relations.

Pelletiers theory also preserves its topicality and can be applied to the modern health setting. There are multiple cases characterized by the absence of a clear understanding of treatments peculiarities and disregard of prescriptions (McEwen & Wills, 2014). It means that the theory should be utilized by nurses with the primary aim to achieve success and emphasize patients responsibility for their actions along with the nurses ability to deliver immediate care.

Application to Nursing Practice

Speaking about the nursing practice and benefits associated with the application of the selected theories, several factors should be mentioned. First of all, they create the theoretical framework that should be utilized by nurses to achieve success. For instance, Peplaus idea of interpersonal relations outlines the outstanding significance of communication and cooperation in nursing. It means that all health workers should follow these guidelines and create an environment characterized by enhanced relations with patients and how to make them participate in the recovery process.

Pelletiers theory is different; however, it can also be applied to nursing practice. All nurses should master their skills to be ready to provide immediate help to patients regardless of their state; at the same time, if this intervention is not clear to a patient, a specialist should be ready to explain the nature of the method and significance of recommendations observation (Masters, 2014). This way of the theorys application will help to improve results and ensure the appropriate delivery of care to patients.

Application to my Practice

The unique character of these theories can also be evidenced by the fact that they can be applied to various health facilities and settings. For instance, in my practice, the Theory of Interpersonal Communication can be implemented while working in teams delivering appropriate care to a patient. The interaction of several specialists should be coordinated to achieve the best possible result (Smith & Parker, 2015). For this reason, utilizing the theory, I will be able to engage in beneficial relations both with patients and colleagues to achieve the desired goal.

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The theory by Pelletier can also be explored by me while working with patients demanding immediate care or having problems with the recommendations of prescriptions. The fact is that explanation of all instructions to patients is one of the nurses critical tasks (McEwen & Wills, 2014). For this reason, the given theory outlines how this activity can be performed and what approaches can be used while working with different patients.


Another obvious advantage of both theories is their simplicity. Regardless of their significant contribution to the development of nursing, both interpersonal and discipline nursing frameworks remain clear and can easily be understood by would-be nurses or other specialists working in the sphere (McEwen & Wills, 2014). These approaches revolve around issues that have traditionally been associated with nursing; however, they introduce another perspective on them. In other words, they structure the existing knowledge and provide basic guidelines on how to implement them in real-life conditions.


Altogether, Pelletier and Peplaus theories can be considered fundamental aspects of nursing that outline such elements as interpersonal communication, immediate care, and discipline, and explain the necessity of these aspects in the work of a nurse. Despite numerous differences that arise from the nature of these frameworks, they can be applied to the nursing practice with the primary aim to improve outcomes and ensure that patients will benefit from the appropriate provision of care, improved communication, and detailed explanation of all actions needed to engage in the recovery process and move to forward together.


Masters, K. (2014). Nursing theories: A framework for professional practice (2nd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

McEwen, M., & Wills, E. M. (2014). Theoretical basis for nursing (4th ed.). New York, NY: LWW.

Orlando’s Nursing Process Theory. (2012). Web.

Smith, M., & Parker, M. E. (2015). Nursing theories and nursing practice (4th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Company.

Theory of Interpersonal Relations. (2012). Web.

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