This study tested hypotheses concerning the development of self-image and professional orientations among students of nursing in two Israeli schools (n = 235), one of which was religiously affiliated and the other secular. The study involved a longitudinal comparison of attitudes at the beginning of the programme of study and after 3 months, and a cross-sectiotial comparison ofthe attitudes of students in each ofthe 3 years ofthe nursing programme. Based on a review ofthe literature, we predicted that the student's self-image and her image ofthe ideal professional nurse would grow more congruent during her studies. In addition, we predicted that her image of the ideal professional and the image held by her instructor would grow more congruent. The latter hypothesis was partly supported by the panel data and strongly supported by the cross-sectional data, whereas the hypothesis concerning self-image and professional image was not supported. No support was found for two other hypotheses predicting that religious students would show a greater tendency towards the expected changes. Instead we found that the gap between the religious students' professional image and that held by their instructors was greater than it was for the secular students. Moreover, the supervisors in the religious school had different images of the profession than their secular counterparts.