DOI: 10.1111/jpm.12964 ISSN:

Solving the shortage of psychiatric – mental health nurses in acute inpatient care settings

Timmy Frawley, Aisling Culhane
  • Pshychiatric Mental Health



This debate essay proposes possible remedies to the shortage of nurses in acute inpatient mental health settings and draws inspiration from a Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing editorial, Glascott and McKeown (2022, 29, 767).


The aim is to stimulate debate within the profession. The art and science of nursing continues to develop but staffing shortages in key areas undermine practice, leadership, academic and policy efforts to improve the quality of care for people attending services.


This is a debate essay which draws on the authors’ experience and presents ideas based on extant literature.


Organisational, professional and wider societal challenges are explored. Practice‐based solutions as well as recommendations for improving the terms and conditions of employment of nurses are made. Opportunities which may empower the nursing profession are promulgated.


It is intended that this paper will provoke further discourse and may reflect the ‘call to action’ advocated by Glascott and McKeown (Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 2022, 29, 767).

Implications for Practice

While the focus is on acute inpatient mental health nursing, the ideas presented may have an application to wider nursing groups or a wider cadre of public sector workers.

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