The surrogate role, as defined by Hildegard Peplau in her theory of interpersonal relations, is not frequently mentioned in recent nursing practice literature. This raises the question of whether this role is still relevant in contemporary nursing practice. In this discussion, we will evaluate the historical background of Peplau’s theory to understand the context in which the surrogate role was developed. We will then critically examine the applicability of this role to current nursing practice, considering the changes that have occurred over time. This analysis will help us determine whether the surrogate role is still relevant and in what ways.
Historical Background of Peplau’s Theory of Interpersonal Relations
Hildegard Peplau, a psychiatric nurse, developed her theory of interpersonal relations in the 1950s. During this time, the medical model dominated nursing practice, with little emphasis on the therapeutic relationship between nurses and patients. Peplau aimed to shift nursing practice from a task-oriented approach to a more patient-centered approach focused on the development of therapeutic relationships (Parker, 2006).
Peplau’s theory posits that nurses assume various roles when interacting with patients, one of which is the surrogate role. She defined the surrogate role as a nurse temporarily assuming the role of another person, such as a family member or friend, to meet the patient’s emotional needs during hospitalization (Peplau, 1952). This role was intended to provide emotional support, foster trust, and facilitate the patient’s recovery.
Relevance of the Surrogate Role in Contemporary Nursing Practice
In considering the relevance of the surrogate role in current nursing practice, it is crucial to acknowledge the changes that have occurred within healthcare and nursing over time. The shift towards patient-centered care, advancements in technology, and increased focus on evidence-based practice have significantly influenced the nursing profession. These changes have implications for the applicability of Peplau’s surrogate role.
One of the key changes in contemporary nursing practice is the emphasis on patient autonomy and shared decision-making. Patients are now more involved in their own care, actively participating in treatment decisions. This shift could potentially diminish the need for the surrogate role, as patients are increasingly capable of expressing their emotional needs and seeking support from their own networks of family and friends. However, it is important to note that there are still instances where patients may lack a strong support system or face difficulties in expressing their emotional needs. In such cases, the surrogate role can still be relevant by providing the emotional support and advocacy that patients require.
Furthermore, the development of multidisciplinary healthcare teams has expanded the range of professionals involved in patient care. Interdisciplinary collaboration has become a cornerstone of contemporary healthcare delivery. As a result, the surrogate role may not solely be the responsibility of the nurse anymore. Other healthcare professionals, such as social workers or therapists, may also play a pivotal role in meeting the patient’s emotional needs. Consequently, the surrogate role may need to be redefined within the context of a broader healthcare team, ensuring coordinated and comprehensive support for the patient’s emotional well-being.
In conclusion, Peplau’s theory of interpersonal relations introduced the surrogate role as a means to meet patients’ emotional needs during hospitalization. While the historical context in which this theory was developed emphasized the importance of building therapeutic relationships, contemporary nursing practice has undergone significant changes. Patient-centered care, advancements in technology, and interdisciplinary collaboration have impacted nursing practice and may affect the relevance of the surrogate role.
It is evident that the surrogate role may no longer be as prominent as it once was, given the increased emphasis on patient autonomy and shared decision-making. However, there are still instances where patients require emotional support and advocacy. In these cases, the surrogate role can be valuable in meeting the patients’ emotional needs. Moreover, the role might need to be redefined within the context of a multidisciplinary healthcare team to ensure comprehensive care.
Overall, while the surrogate role defined by Peplau may have evolved in light of contemporary nursing practice, it still holds relevance in certain situations, highlighting the importance of recognizing individual patient needs and tailoring care accordingly.