There is evidence in the literature to suggest that mental health care staffs' attitudes towards clients with borderline personality disorder (BPD) are less than favourable. This study reports on a survey of psychiatric nurses' knowledge, experience and attitudes towards care received by clients with a diagnosis of BPD. The questionnaire was sent to all clinical nurses (n = 157) working in a psychiatric service in Dublin, Ireland and received a response rate of 41.4% (n = 65). The results indicate that the majority of nurses have regular contact with clients with BPD and nurses on inpatient units reported more frequent contact than nurses in the community. Eighty per cent of nurses view clients with BPD as more difficult to care for than other clients and 81% believe that the care they receive is inadequate. Lack of services was cited as the most important factor contributing to the inadequate care and the development of a specialist service is reported as the most important resource to improve care.