The role of the nurse lecturer is changing. There is growing pressure from the government and professionals alike to recruit nurse teachers who posses both practical and recent experience of nursing [Department of Health, 1999. Making a Difference: Strengthening the Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting Contribution to Health and Health Care. DOH, London; UKCC, 2000. Standards for the Preparation of Teachers of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting. UKCC, London]. Whilst much of the literature available suggests a growing concern amongst practitioners, students and nurse educationalists themselves about the importance of being 'clinically credible', what is not clear is how tangible it is to maintain currency and clinical credibility. In addition, the term 'clinical credibility' is in itself ill-defined. An exploratory study was undertaken within one higher education institution which sought to seek the views of nurse lecturers. The principles of ethnography were applied to this research. The sample included six of the most recently appointed nurse lecturers within one academic faculty who taught predominantly on pre-registration programmes. Data from individual and focus group interviews was analysed using a thematic content analysis approach. The findings are discussed which embrace the concepts of: working 'hands on' in the clinical area, clinical currency, transferability of skills, clinical visibility and role development. Recommendations for the development of professional practice are offered.