The aim of this paper is to provide a comprehensive picture of the issues that impact upon the registered nurse providing residential aged care, in order to contribute to best practice initiatives to enhance both the health and well-being of older Australians and the professional working life of registered nurses working in this sector. The impact of an ageing population is being felt in Australia as in other western countries. In Australia, there is an estimated 12% of the population aged 65 and over, with a projected increase to 18% by 2021. Paradoxically, there is an emerging crisis in attracting and retaining skilled registered nurses to provide residential aged care. Little research evidence exists that provides a comprehensive picture of the issues impacting on this group of nurses. This exploratory qualitative study comprised three stages involving the use of interviews, focus groups, nominal groups and a series of workshops. Ongoing iterative analysis of the multiple data sources identified five key issues impacting on registered nurses providing residential aged care, as well as a range of strategies designed to address those issues. The final recommendations were developed with key stakeholders in terms of language, intention and ranked order, and are included in full.