A survey was undertaken to identify the developing pereeption of the staff nurse role by student nurses in two health districts of one regional health authority using a questionnaire specially developed for the survey. A sample of 190 was selected from student nurses, staff nurses and sisters, working within those areas used for general nurse teaching at the two districts. The results indicate that first-year student nurses hold perceptions of the importance of the functions of the staff nurse role which are signifieantly different from the staff nurse whilst second-year students respond in the same way as staff nurses. Third-year student nurses hold a perception of the staff nurse role which does not differ significantly from that held by staff nurses except for the clinical function. Questions relating to performing within these functions were less easily interpreted. The results do not demonstrate a sequential developing perception of the staif nurse role, rather a change over the first year with some areas of performance remaining dilferent throughout the years of training. Possible reasons for these differences are advanced. Difficulties in generalizing the results due to the limitations of the data obtained, questionnaire design and the locations for the study, are identified.