There is little doubt that the role of the nurse teacher is complex and multifaceted in nature. The apparently conflicting demands of NHS trusts and education in the United Kingdom, at the time of integration of nurse education into the higher education sector, further complicates the role. This recognition underlines the need to capture and measure key aspects of nurse teacher function in order to maximize educational gain. Using a comprehensive literature review, focus group discussions and a small number of individual semi-structured interviews, this preliminary study explored the issue of teacher workload, from the perspective of the principal stakeholders in nurse and higher education. Competing research and clinical practice objectives for nurse teachers are identified against a background of changing health care provision, reduced availability of placements and an increased need for evidence-based practice.