As several schools of nursing in New Zealand are accepting the challenge to prepare nurses better in order to meet changing health care needs, onelecturer discusses the design and implementation of a new degree curriculumat Manawatu Polytechnic The author has drawn from educational, nursing and feminist literature to provide a background for the central concepts in order to explain their role in the development of the curriculum It is contended that the caring imperative is central in all student-educator-clinician relationships when the purpose of the curriculum is to emancipate students to become nurses who care for individuals, families and communities in a transformative way The transformative teacher is also aware of the power of open and regular dialogue when teaching caring within a critical social paradigm, and has a responsibility to ensure students understand the mandate for social action It is through such consciousness-raising that nurses are empowered to both provide the best possible nursing care, and become agents of social change through an overhauled health care system