Clinical Nurse Specialist:
Profile

Dr Hildegard Peplau

Rust, Jo Ellen MSN, RN

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Abstract

Every nursing program includes a course of study in psychiatric/mental health nursing, and every nursing student learns about contributions Dr Hildegard Peplau made to the practice of nursing in this arena. It was in my clinical nurse specialist masters program that I learned more about Dr Peplau and began to appreciate her energy and vision. In 1954, at Rutgers University, she created the first clinical nurse specialist program, a graduate level program for the preparation of clinical nurse specialists in psychiatric/mental health nursing. Think about it, in 1954 women were on TV baking brownies while wearing pearls and heels! And here was Dr Peplau, advocating advanced education for nurses—women. This year, 2004, marks the 50th anniversary of clinical nurse specialists! In celebration of her professional foresight and outstanding contributions to the advancement of nursing practice and the betterment of patient care, we wish to honor Dr Peplau and ask that clinical nurse specialists everywhere pause to consider her intelligence, courage, and vision. What follows below is a reprint of her biography written for her 1998 induction into the American Nurses Association Hall of Fame.

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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