The aim of this study was to investigate nurse educators'perceptions of the quality of their working life Questionnaires were sent to 706 Finnish nurse educators and their spouses or other adult living with them The results concerning the structured part of the questionnaire have been described in detail in an earlier paper (Harri 1995) This paper describes the data collected by means of semi-structured questions from 477 (68%) educators and 409 (58%) spouses) and open-ended questions (309 nurse educators and 167 spouses), analysed using content analysis The seven categories that were identified as the best features of work were, in descending order of prevalence students, freedom, challenges, teaching, miscellaneous, colleagues, and physical environment Among the worst features of work, workload ranked first, followed by inadequacy of personal resources, administrative issues, changes, interpersonal relationships, miscellaneous, and physical environment In the open-ended comments the nurse educators used 400 expressions to describe positive features of their working life, while they used 597 expressions to describe negative features The spouses made 90 positive comments about the working life of their teacher spouse, and 425 negative comments The importance of this kind of study was remarked on quite frequently both by nurse educators (22%) and their spouses (12%) The study provides important clues to understanding the present reality of nurse educators'working life It is hoped that the findings of the study will help focus attention on ways of developing the quality of nurse educators'working life