• attitudes;
  • comprehensive education;
  • knowledge;
  • mental health nursing;
  • skills

Aims and Objectives

To explore the perspectives of nursing directors in mental health in Queensland, Australia, regarding the skills and attributes of graduates of comprehensive nursing programme to provide an industry perspective and thus augment knowledge from theoretical and professional dimensions.


There is a worldwide shortage of appropriately qualified nurses with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to work effectively in mental health services. Within Australia, this has been well documented since the introduction of comprehensive nursing education. The underrepresentation of mental health content in undergraduate curricula has been identified as the primary reason for nursing graduates not being adequately prepared for practice in this field. To date, this issue has primarily been addressed from the perspective of university academics, with the voice of industry relatively silent in the published literature.


Qualitative exploratory.


In-depth telephone interviews with Director of Nursing (Mental Health) in Queensland, Australia.


The concerns of participants were expressed in six main themes: (1) foundational knowledge of mental health and disorders, (2) recovery-oriented skills, (3) physical as well as mental health skills, (4) therapeutic strategies, (5) resilience and self-development and (6) advanced knowledge and skills.


The education of comprehensive nursing education needs to be reviewed as a matter of priority to ensure graduates with the attributes required to provide high-quality care for consumers of mental health services.

Relevance to clinical practice

A skilled and knowledgeable workforce is an essential component of high-quality mental health services. Research highlighting the current deficits and issues is therefore of the highest priority.