During the 1960s, master's level programs evolved to educate psychiatric nurses to become teachers, administrators and clinicians. Prior to this time, psychiatric nurses had functioned primarily in inpatient settings, but gradually these nurses began working as primary therapists in outpatient clinics, community mental health centers and independent practices. In 1976, the American Nurses’ ... [Show full abstract] Association (ANA) published its Statement on Psychianic and Mental Health Nursing Practice which identified the master's prepared psychiatric nurse as a “psychiatric and mental health nursing specialist.” Nurses at this level were expected to be experts in psychotherapeutic methodologies and could practice psychotherapy independently.
Nursing practice acts have changed to allow for the expanding nurse role. Prohibitions against diagnosis and treatment that were recommended by the ANA in 1955 were eliminated in the ANA's 1976 Model Practice Act. In 1980, the ANA suggested legislation that would include diagnosis, counseling, intervention and the management of illness within the definition of nursing