The aim of this study was to review six nurse-rating schedules to evaluate their suitability for a British psychiatric unit and current nursing practice.

They were compared for their reliability, their concordance with psychiatric ratings and their acceptability to the nursing staff. It was found that psychiatric and nursing observations corresponded over a wide area of psychopathology: anxiety, tension, depression, hostility, preoccupation with hypochondriacal, grandiose and self-depreciatory ideas, hallucinosis, thought disorders, mannerisms, retardation, emotional withdrawal, hypomanic activity and uncooperative behaviour. These were adequately covered by two of the scales, the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) and the Psychotic Inpatient Profile (PIP), which together took 71/2 minutes to complete. Another of the schedules studied, the Nursing Rating Scale (Hargreaves), also had relatively high reliability and a broad effective range.