• Comprehensive education;
  • major in mental health nursing;
  • sustainability;
  • undergraduate education;
  • workforce issue


Major streams in mental health nursing in undergraduate nursing programs were introduced in Australia as a strategy to address current and projected workforce shortages. Of the 14 programs originally planned or implemented, only five are continuing.

Design and Methods

A qualitative exploratory study was conducted involving in-depth interviews with representatives of universities that had ceased the major streams or abandoned plans to introduce them.


Significant themes from interview material on abandoned programs were efficient use of resources, expertise, and problems with registration. On the programs now terminated significant themes were viability and commitment to mental health nursing.

Practice Implications

These findings suggest demonstrable and sustainable commitment to mental health nursing is a precursor to success of major streams and advancement of the mental health nursing specialty.