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Untapped potential: A survey of RCN nurses working in mental health

03 July 2007
This policy briefing accompanies the RCN survey of the same name that looks specifically at NHS mental health nurse staffing and the related issues of workload, work satisfaction and the use of nursing skills. The briefing summarises the research and sets out principles for undertaking reviews of nurse staffing.

The survey highlights some clear issues regarding the appropriateness of nurse staffing levels, skill mix ratios and the use of registered nurse time. Although there is no on-going work in England and Scotland to review the provision of mental health care at a national level, the local context specific to a provider organisation is also an important dimension, particularly for staffing levels. The mental health nursing forum has particular concerns about the amount of time registered nurses spend on administration and utilising specialist nursing skills such as psychological therapies to maximise the impact of registered mental health nurses on patient care.

Therefore the RCN has developed a set of RCN principles for undertaking mental health nurse staffing reviews. These were originally developed for the acute general hospital ward and have been adapted for mental health settings.

If you have any comments or wish to contribute further, please email policy.international@rcn.org.uk

Page last updated - 23/03/2017