A major investigation in the North West region has aimed to ascertain attitudes towards, and expectations of, accident and emergency services among both client groups and professionals involved in the provision of the services. One element of the research has focussed on a questionnaire based survey among 260 nurses in nineteen hospital accident and emergency (A & E) departments. The results show that the nurses found their work to be interesting and satisfying and they enjoyed the challenge of a varied and unpredictable workload. They expected to deal with patients in need of urgent medical attention, and to use and develop their nursing skills and experience. On the whole, their expectations were met, although they were not very satisfied with the levels of cooperation from other hospital departments, their liaison with community services, and the amount of time which casual attenders with minor/non-urgent conditions occupied. The nurses were, however, generally sympathetic towards all A & E patients although they believed that many came for reasons of convenience and ignorance and that the general public need more education with regard to the appropriate use of an A & E department.