The Concept of Hildegard Peplau’s Nursing Care Model


The work in a healthcare setting requires much educational and professional preparation, presupposes the possession of specific skills, and is rather demanding yet rewarding. In order to make the professional care about patients easier for nurses, several nursing care models have been identified and explained by scholars and nursing specialists. These models are different in that they present various attitudes to the process of care. However, all approaches to nursing care are united by the aim at promoting the most comfortable working environment in which the most qualified care is given to the patients, which leads to a high level of customer satisfaction (Finkelman & Kenner, 2013). In the modern healthcare environment, both traditional and new models of care are applied. The present paper offers a review and summary of the interpersonal relations model and ethno-cultural gerontological nursing model.

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Review and Summary of Articles Related to the Nursing Care Model Observed

Peplau’s Model of Interpersonal Relations: Emergency and Rural Settings

The observed care approach was Hildegard Peplau’s model of interpersonal relations. The two sources reviewed are focused on the application of this model in nursing practice. The first article, by Senn (2013), discusses the implications of using the model in emergency and rural nursing. The author provides an overview of Peplau’s theory of interpersonal relations. Senn (2013) notes that while Peplau came up with such an approach, when she was a young practicing nurse, she was not allowed to talk to her patients. The scholar characterizes Peplau’s model as a middle-range one since Peplau used to define nursing as the “therapeutic relationship between both individuals” (Senn, 2013, p. 32). Also, such interaction, according to the model, has to be purposeful.

The model consists of three stages: orientation, working phase, and termination. During the first phase, the patient is viewed as the care-seeker, and the nurse is regarded as someone able to provide help (Senn, 2013). The second stage involves most of the nurse-patient relationship. In the third phase, both participants of the process disengage from the relationship (Senn, 2013). When analyzing the application of Peplau’s model in emergency care, Senn (2013) remarks that nurse-patient relationships in this unit are brief but meaningful. Most commonly, the initial phase of the model is employed by the triage nurse at such a unit to arrange the nurse-patient relationship. During this stage, the quality of communication plays a crucial role since it can either promote or hinder the further interaction process.

The importance of Peplau’s model in rural settings is rather high since for people living there, it is frequently hard to discuss their health problems with strangers. Therefore, arranging the relationship with patients is the main task of a nurse in such settings (Senn, 2013). Although the model is one-dimensional, and rural nursing is multidimensional, Peplau’s approach helps to organize the most vital contact that will help the nurse to provide care to the patient later.

Peplau’s Model of Interpersonal Relations: The Future in the Past

The second source on the model of interpersonal relations is the model’s analysis performed by D’Antonio, Beeber, Silla, and Naegle (2014). In their article, scholars emphasize the significance of Peplau’s approach to care and note that although the model was presented over half a century ago, its implications are crucial for the present and future of nursing (D’Antonio et al., 2014). Furthermore, the authors emphasize that Peplau’s model is “the core of nursing practice” (D’Antonio et al., 2014, p. 313). Scholars note that the model is highly important, and it will be used in the future due to its relevance.

Review and Summary of Articles Related to a Different Nursing Care Model

The Ethno-Cultural Gerontological Nursing Model: Establishing and Proposing

The second nursing care model reviewed in the paper is the ethno-cultural gerontological one. This model was suggested by Phillips et al. (2015) who emphasize the need for special approaches to elderly people from ethnic minority groups in view of a growing number of such individuals. Scholars remark that by 2050, almost every second elderly person living in the USA will be from a minority community. Thus, Phillips et al. (2015) define a model in which they include the following concepts: historical period events (economic and political climate, public policy, and stereotypes) and group-based effects (perceptions and traditions).

The Ethno-Cultural Gerontological Nursing Model: Applying

The second source under consideration is focused on the application of the ethno-cultural gerontological model. Ruiz, Phillips, Kim, and Woods (2015) give an account of the implementation of the model on older Latinos. The authors note that this minority group is the largest and fastest growing in the USA. Thus, Ruiz et al. (2015) emphasize the significance of understanding the needs of the target group in the process of the model’s application. In particular, the following aspects are included: sociodemographics, health dimensions, personal experiences in elderly care, migration history in the health context, challenges in communication, and resources (Ruiz et al., 2015). Thus, it is concluded that the analysis of these factors will promote a better quality of nursing care provided to older Latinos.

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Observations of the Implementation of the Nursing Care Model and Discussion

In the case that I observed, the Hildegard Peplau’s model of interpersonal relations was employed. The patient, a 65-year-old Hispanic woman, was delivered to the emergency care unit with a heart attack. The nurse immediately arranged personal contact with the woman by initiating a conversation about her health. The woman seemed ready to share her experiences, and the nurse readily asked questions to reassure the patient. However, it was evident that the patient did not feel entirely calm, and she was constantly looking around as if expecting to see someone else there. Upon asking the woman some questions on her health patterns, the nurse did the necessary manipulations and left.

Recommendation on the Use of a Different Nursing Care Model

Taking into consideration the patient’s age and her ethnicity, I would recommend applying the ethno-cultural gerontological model. It was clear that the patient felt a little uneasy and was not entirely comfortable. Most probably, she had some personal concerns that she wanted to share, but she was not sure how to do that since the nurse did not initiate any communication about the patient’s ethnicity- or age-related needs. The use of the ethno-cultural gerontological approach would have allowed the patient to feel more relaxed. She could have shared her apprehensions and maybe even express her preferences for treatment.


The paper is a review and analysis of two nursing care models: Hildegard Peplau’s model of interpersonal relations and the ethno-cultural gerontological model. The work on this project allowed me to enrich my professional competency in caring approaches. I was able to observe the professionals’ actions and evaluate them. The experience has promoted my skills and has taught me that there can more than one suitable model of care, and it is vital to select the most appropriate one to reach the best patient outcomes.


D’Antonio, P., Beeber, L., Silla, G., & Naegle, M. (2014). The future in the past: Hildegard Peplau and interpersonal relations in nursing. Nursing Inquiry, 21(4), 311-317.

Finkelman, A., & Kenner, C. (2013).Professional nursing concepts: Competencies for quality leadership (2nd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning.

Phillips, L. R., Salem, B. E., Jeffers, K. S., Kim, H., Ruiz, M. E., Salem, N., & Woods, D. L. (2015). Developing and proposing the ethno-cultural gerontological nursing model. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 26(2), 118-128.

Ruiz, M. E., Phillips, L. R., Kim, H., & Woods, D. L. (2015). Older Latinos: Applying the ethnocultural gerontological nursing model. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 27(1), 8-17.

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Senn, J. F. (2013). Peplau’s theory of interpersonal relations: Application in emergency and rural nursing. Nursing Science Quarterly, 26(1) 31-35.

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