Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe work stress and job satisfaction of community mental health nurses working in community mental health centers. Methods: Data were collected using open-ended questions from 37 mental health nurses working in the 16 centers. Qualitative descriptive methods and qualitative content analysis were used. Results: For work stress there were 148 statements and job satisfaction, 107. Work stress had 5 domains (work environment, policy, work load, operations, compensation and welfare), 14 categories (bureaucratic and unsafe environment, communication, social awareness, lack of support, absurd evaluation, inconsistent policy, excessive work, unrealistic service range, inefficient business means, unreasonable system and budget, job insecurity, low compensation) and 26 subcategories. Job satisfaction had 5 domains (business, client, organization, social awareness and compensation), 8 categories (performance, recognition for the job importance and expertise, business potential, client recovery, team work, improve social awareness, direct compensation), and 14 subcategories. Conclusion: Results of this study suggest the following: a) further research on identifying sources affecting and improving retention of mental health nurses, b) implementing positive factors and supporting identification of sources of work stress as central to development of strategies to encourage nurses` morale and improve personnel policies.