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Human welfare is advanced by nursing

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I am grateful to Nursing Times and to the many nurses who selected my mother, Hildegard Peplau, for inclusion in the NT Diamond 20 most influential nurses of the past 60 years

I know she would have been deeply touched by this honor.

Hilda Peplau grew up in a working class immigrant family and graduated as a nurse in 1931. During World War II, she served in the US Army Nurse Corps and was stationed in England, at the American School of Military Psychiatry.

She went on to obtain masters and doctoral degrees, served as President of the American Nurses Association and was elected to the Board of the International Council of Nurses.

In a professional life spanning 70 years, Hilda took a leading role in transforming nursing practice and her work led to the development of the specialty of mental health nursing.

Although her ground-breaking book, Interpersonal Relations in Nursing, was completed in 1948, publication was delayed for four years because it was considered too revolutionary for a nurse to publish a book without a physician co-author.

The book has been credited with transforming nursing from a group of skilled workers to a fully fledged profession. Today, interpersonal process is now widely integrated into nursing education and practice.

My mother believed in nurses' ability to advance human welfare through theory development, research and practice. She was very proud to be a nurse.

Letitia Anne Peplau, Los Angeles, California

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