A principal aim of pre-registration nurse education programmes is the process of effective socialisation of students into the professional role. Key influences on the professional socialisation and practice of students undertaking such programmes were explored using a semi-structured interview approach (N = 99). This work formed part of a major comparative study of outcomes of pre-registration nurse education programmes in the United Kingdom. Analysis revealed differences between the programmes regarding positive influences of the respective courses; therapeutic influences of the practice environment; modelling performance on exemplars of high quality practice; and the identification of teachers within the educational setting and nurses in practice as key persons. This study has confirmed that the positive influence of the education programmes and the practice environment as well as high quality role models from both education and practice establishments are critical to the professional socialisation of student nurses.