INTRODUCTION: Psychiatric and mental health nursing clinical practices are different from that in other areas of nursing be-cause of the patients cognitive, emotional, and behavioral problems. This can increase nursing students stress during clinical practice and result in negative experiences. Thus, the aim of this study was to examine the experiences of nursing students regarding mental health and psychiatric clinical practice.
METHODS: The phenomenological method was used in this study, and data were collected through focus group interviews, for a total of four focus group interviews. Students who had completed their clinical practice in mental health and psychiatric nursing were selected through purposeful sampling (n=25).
RESULTS: Four themes emerged from the focus group interviews: challenges, satisfaction, maturation, and requirements.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: Findings showed that the use of images and warnings that may create prejudice about patients should be avoided in the pre-clinical period, and activities such as clinical practice simulations, structured psychoeducation pro-grams, and watching movies should be included. In the post-clinical period, satisfaction and positive attitude changes may occur despite the negative conditions of clinical practice. In addition, increasing the time students spend in the clinic, improving their internship preparations by including activities that will reduce their prejudices, reducing home-work pressures, increasing in-clinic activities, giving psychiatry and mental health nursing courses in the first years of nursing education, meeting the training needs of health personnel, meeting the quality and number of educators, increasing the number of hospitals, and arranging their physical environments therapeutically can enable students to have positive internship experiences.