Background: Mental health nursing has been reported as a stressful speciality, with low job satisfaction. Method: An extensive literature search was performed aiming to identify and review research studies that investigate variables which influence stress and job satisfaction of nurses working in mental health settings. Results: This review shows that a variety of factors influence stress and job satisfaction of mental health nurses. Among these, clinical leadership and quality inter-professional collaboration between nurses and doctors and amongst nurses are particularly important. Nurses’ job satisfaction was found to be influenced primarily by psychological stress and the quality of clinical leadership. Conclusions: The influence of the quality of collaboration amongst nurses and between nurses and doctors on nurses’ job satisfaction is uncertain. A strong negative relationship was found between clinical leadership, inter-professional collaboration, stress and job satisfaction. Although a positive relationship between clinical leadership and nurses' job satisfaction was found, the association between clinical leadership and quality of inter-professional collaboration is unclear. The association between these variables and job satisfaction is positive but tenuous. In addition, a positive but weak relationship was revealed between the clinical leadership and the quality of relationships amongst nurses. Organisational issues, lack of nursing staff and patient care were found to be related to ward type mental health nurses’ stress emerged as mediating variables between stress and job satisfaction. A hypothetical model of the relationships between these variables is presented for testing at a future study.
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