This research traces the development of nursing theory. Both historical development and current issues are addressed.
From the time of Florence Nightingale, the concept of person has played a major role in nursing theory and its development (Flynn and Heffron, 1988, pp. 9-10, 71). While nursing theory has evolved since the nineteenth century, Nightingale's concept of person has remained as a central feature of much of this theory.
Logical positivism and behaviorism influenced the development of nursing theory (Flynn and Heffron, 1988, pp. 62-63; Nicoll, 1986, pp. 214, 357). Logical positivism introduced a verificationist perspective into nursing theory development, while behaviorism caused nursing theorists to seek an understanding of the actions of both patients and care givers (Nicoll, 1986, pp. 282-283, 338). The nursing theory of Hildegard Peplau incorporated aspects of both behaviorism and logical positivism. Peplau's theory was the theory of psychodynamic nursing.
Peplau (1952, pp. 3-4) developed the theory of psychodynamic nursing. According to Peplau, psychodynamic nursing involves the use of one's (the nurse) knowledge and understanding of one's own behavior to help others (patients) identify felt difficulties, and the application of human relations to problems that arise at all levels of experience. This interpersonal process is defined within the context of four phases of the nurse-patient relationship--orientation, identification, exploitation, and resolution. Although each phase of this relationship is defined separately, Peplau recognized that considerable overlap existed between the phases.
During the orientation phase of the nurse-patient relationship, the patient experiences a felt need and seeks professional assistance from the nurse. During this phase, the nurse tries to help the patient in both recognizing and understanding the problem that he or she is experiencing. During the orientation ...