As a primary contributor to mental health law professional nursing concepts finkelman pdf, she led the way towards humane treatment of patients with behavior and personality disorders. German descent, Gustav and Otyllie Peplau. She was the second daughter born of six children. Gustav was an illiterate, hard-working father and Otyllie was an oppressive, perfectionist mother.
Though higher education was never discussed at home, Hilda was strong-willed, with motivation and vision to grow beyond traditional women’s roles. She wanted more out of life and knew nursing was one of few career choices for women in her day. As a child, she was watcher of people’s behaviours. She witnessed the devastating flu epidemic of 1918, a personal experience that greatly influenced her understanding of the impact of illness and death on families. At this time she witnessed people jumping from windows in delirium because of the flu epidemic.
Hospitals and physicians saw women in nursing as a source of free or inexpensive labor. Exploitation was not uncommon by nurse’s employers, physicians and educational providers. Nursing practice was controlled by medicine. She then worked as a staff nurse in Pennsylvania and New York City. There she earned a bachelor’s degree in interpersonal psychology in 1943. Peplau’s lifelong work was largely focused on extending Sullivan’s interpersonal theory for use in nursing practice.