Document Type


Journal Title

Journal of Nursing Management

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The recruitment and retention of in-patient psychiatric mental health registered nurses (PMH-RNs) remains a challenge. This qualitative study sought to identify factors impacting the recruitment and retention of PMH-RNs in acute-care settings. Participants (N = 15) were recruited for focus groups including one with in-patient unit administrators (n = 4), two with current PMH-RNs (n = 7), and two with nursing students (n = 4). Data were analyzed using a directed content analysis approach. Participants were informed about the study’s purpose, procedures, potential risks, and benefits, and they provided verbal consent before participating. Administrators emphasized a focus on retention and described a variety of supports they provided PMH-RNs, including formal and informal support and education. PMH-RNs’ most prevalent concerns were their safety, co-worker and/or management challenges, and emotional and/or physical exhaustion. Students also expressed concerns about safety in psychiatric settings and desired more interaction with PMH-RNs. They were also interested in learning more about the specialty as they valued the opportunity to see change in patients. All three groups mentioned a need for more interaction between students and PMH-RNs, while safety concerns were expressed by both PMH-RNs and students. Because PMH-RNs play a critical role for in-patient psychiatric care, recruiting and retaining specialist nurses can focus on increasing student engagement with the PMH-RNs, attending to PMH-RNs’ management and staffing concerns, and providing additional resources for responding to events that threaten safety in the workplace to prevent burnout.



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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