National mental health policies accentuate the importance of having positive attitudes, skills, and knowledge among mental health professionals to facilitate recovery-oriented practices in all areas of mental health care. However, evidence suggests that mental health professionals’ negative attitudes towards mental illness are still evident and that recovery-oriented practice in acute inpatient units may be poorly implemented. At the same time, there is also a paucity of research to understand Mental Health Nurses’ attitudes towards mental illness and recovery-oriented practice specifically. Therefore, this non-participant observation study aimed to explore Mental Health Nurses’ attitudes towards mental illness and recovery-oriented practice in acute inpatient units by observing the interactions between the consumers and nurses. The Mental Illness Clinicians Attitudes Scale-v4 and The Recovery Attitudes Questionnaire inspired the development of a non-participant observation chart for this study and the observations were recorded on the chart. Six observations were conducted in three acute inpatient units. Observations focused on Mental Health Nurses’ knowledge about mental illness, communication, dignity, respect, anxiety, fear, punishment, facilitation of real choices for consumers, physical care, cooperation with consumers’ families and others and recovery orientation. Interpretive descriptive analysis was used to analyse the data. The results show that Mental Health Nurses generally have positive attitudes towards mental illness and recovery-oriented practice. Some deficits in the physical care of people with mental illness in the acute inpatient units were observed. Therefore, future research could address the adequate preparation of Mental Health Nurses to provide physical care to people with mental illnesses.