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National Survey of the Mental Health Nurses aims to understand reasons behind record vacancies

Researchers from the University of Southampton working with the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) are launching a national survey of the mental health nursing workforce.

Led by Professor Jane Ball (Professor of nursing workforce policy), it is the first to explore the work lives and wellbeing of registered nurses providing mental healthcare in the UK.

Little attention has been paid to the work lives and wellbeing of nurses providing mental healthcare, despite it being a national priority,” says Prof Ball. She points out that “there is a growing demand for mental health services, particularly following the COVID-19 pandemic and wider nursing shortages. Nurses are key to meeting this demand, but currently over a third of NHS nursing vacancies in England are in Mental Health. It is vital we have a better understanding of the factors that impact on the nurses’ work lives and wellbeing, and how their work situations could be improved, so we can attract and retain these essential staff.”

The team hope the findings of the survey will lead to action being taken locally and nationally to improve the working lives of nurses leading to better nurse wellbeing and retention.

Dr Emma Wadey (Deputy Director of Mental Health Nursing at NHS England) says, “mental health nursing is a brilliant and rewarding career, but it can also be demanding. This survey will help to ensure that the complexities and rewards of mental health nursing are better understood.”

The survey is open to nurses on the NMC register providing mental healthcare to any patient group, in any setting, and for any health and social care provider. It is completely anonymous and will take 15-20mins to complete. or people can scan the QR code below.

For more information, please visit or contact Professor Jane Ball and the research team on

NIHR ARC Wessex Communications Manager:

Media Manager at the University of Southampton:


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