As a professional, the nurse is called upon to serve as a role model for positive health behaviours. Because the practise of these behaviours may effect one's effectiveness as a role model, it is important to determine whether nurses lead a so-called preventive lifestyle and to identify what factors are predictive of compliance. Previous researchers have tended to examine individual behaviours. In this study, a prevention index was used to examine an overall preventive lifestyle. For a sample of senior year nursing students, the preventive behaviours were considered to be important. However, when compared to a national sample of females in the same age range, nursing students were found to be significantly less compliant for 12 of 19 behaviours and more compliant for only three behaviours. Both the desire to practise preventive behaviours and the perceived difficulty in doing so were the factors predictive of the level of compliance. Additional study is needed to determine how these factors can be mediated.