Research into caring from the perspective of nursing students is poorly documented. This paper presents a study which described the construct of caring as experienced by students in pre-registration programmes at two universities in New South Wales, Australia. Qualitative data were collected using a questionnaire and semi-structured interviews. From the analysis of the data a model of professional nurse caring from the student’s perspective was created. In this model, compassion, as the core of caring is actualized in the students’ nursing of patients by communicating, providing comfort, being competent, being committed, having conscience, being confident and being courageous. Communication is not only an actualization of this caring but constitutes an important medium for the expression of caring actions.