This paper will examine the claim that caring is an appropriate ethical ideal for nursing. Initially it will examine nursing's philosophy of care and caring, highlighting some areas of difficulty and dissatisfaction articulated by many of its contemporary theorists Evaluation of the notion of caring as an appropriate ethical ideal for nursing will be balanced against those in opposition, and in this process their critique will be discussed This discussion will focus on areas such as virtue, virtue ethics, moral responsibility, feminine values, mothering and the debate between male and female caring Different forms of caring will be evaluated and balanced against different forms of nursing The paper will then suggest that current views which hold aloft nursing as a bedmate of caring may be detrimental to both the cared-for and the carer, advocating in the process a move toward change