AIM:to explore high-dependency care nurses' experiences of their psychosocial work environment. METHODS:four focus groups were conducted with 23 emergency and critical care hospital nurses in Brunei. All sessions were recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using inductive-approach thematic analysis. FINDINGS:three major themes were identified. 'Specialisation/specific skills' explained a fundamental requirement for the high-dependency care nurses to work effectively and efficiently in their workplace. 'Task completion' narrated the pressure they experienced to complete their tasks within time constraints exacerbated by a reduced number of staff. 'Acknowledgement' signified their need for fair and adequate reward for their hard work through career progression and promotion. CONCLUSION:this study facilitates the design of future interventions and policies that promote a healthy psychosocial work environment by ensuring nurses working in these areas have the required specialisation skills, there is a balance of workload and nurse-to-patient ratios, and they are offered fairness and equity in career progression and promotion.