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By the mid 19th century, a more humanitarian approach towards the care of the mentally ill had been implemented in reforming institutions in France and Britain This was known as ‘moral treatment’ and amongst its chief exponents were Pinel (Paris), Tuke (York) and Browne (Dumfries) Dr Browne perceived that the asylum attendants required education about this modality of treatment, and to this end he initiated a ‘one off’ course of lectures for staff at the Crichton Royal Hospital It is considered that this experiment in nursing education is of relevance to the evolution of the role of the psychiatric nurse