Mental health nursing students' experiences of stress during training: a thematic analysis of qualitative interviews

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Accessible summary

What is known on the subject?

Accessible summary

What this paper adds to existing knowledge?

Accessible summary

What are the implications for practice?


Previous studies investigating stress in nursing students focus on general nursing students or adopt quantitative measures.

Purpose of study:

A qualitative study focusing specifically on mental health nursing students is required.


One-to-one interviews were carried out with mental health nursing students (n = 12). Data were thematically analysed.


Participants reported unreasonable demands during clinical blocks, and described how control/support is lowest on placements with staff shortages. Negative attitudes towards students from staff and related issues were also discussed. Younger participants described struggling with mental health work during the early stages of training.


Training providers should strive to provide adequate support to students to help them manage stress during training.

Implications for practice:

Academic demands should be reasonable during clinical blocks and support services outside normal working hours should be available for students, even if these are limited in scope. Greater consideration to the allocation of placements for younger students in the mental health branch could be helpful. Furthermore, staff on placements should be aware of the tasks students can and cannot perform, to help improve staff/student relations. Educating students on the issues of raising concerns can help the governments drive for a more open and transparent National Health Service (NHS).

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