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Benner's model of skill acquisition is currently receiving considerable interest from nurse educationalists, and promises to form the basis for some curricula offered by colleagues of nurse education This paper debates the ‘novice to expert’ model and seeks to explain exactly what an ‘expert’ is The Benner model proposes that one component of expertise is workmg from an intuitive base This claim is disputed and the definition of intuition is contested Alternative explanations to account for the intuitive responses of Bermer's subjects are suggested.