Psychiatric nursing has changed significantly since I wrote a similar article almost 10 years ago. Community psychiatric nurses now focus their attentions almost entirely on people with serious and enduring mental illnesses and undertake case management roles in community teams. Many nurses have now been trained in the use of psychosocial interventions and there have been particular advances in the training of nurses in medication management. In turn, prescribing by nurses has become a reality and this role will expand rapidly over the next few years. Unfortunately, the potential for nurses to deliver cognitive–behavioural therapy to those with common mental disorders has not been realised and it is unlikely that this situation will change. Psychiatric nursing roles have increased in the forensic system and nurses are now working with people with dangerous and severe personality disorders and within prison healthcare. The education and training of nurses has undergone a fundamental shift and nurses of the future are likely to be graduates. Here I discuss the implications of these changes.
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