This study reports on research undertaken to identify the skills and competencies of forensic psychiatric nurses working in secure psychiatric services in the UK. The rationale for this research is the lack of clarity in the role definition of nurses working in these environments and the specific content that may underscore the curriculum for training forensic nurses. Over 3300 questionnaires were distributed to forensic psychiatric nurses, non-forensic psychiatric nurses and other disciplines and information obtained on (1) the perceived clinical problems that give forensic nurses the most difficulty; (2) the skills best suited to overcome those problems; and (3) the priority aspects of clinical nursing care that needs to be developed. A 35% response rate was obtained with 1019 forensic psychiatric nurses, 110 non-forensic psychiatric nurses and 43 other disciplines. The results highlighted a ‘top ten’ list of main problems with possible solutions and main areas for development. The conclusions drawn include a focus on skills and competencies regarding the management of personality disorders and the management of violence and aggression.