A status passage is the process of change from one social status to another and, in this report, transition into the occupational role of nurse is described The status passage includes the anticipations, entry, reporting of contrasts and changes which are often accompanied by surprise, and reality shock before making sense of the passage some months later Subpassages are noted, and in particular the subtle process of divestiture which results in loss of personal identity Personal identity is sought through patients and those outside the institution Occupational role identity occurs between 6 and 10 months after entry into nurse training The status transition is easier for those with higher self-esteem and lower anxiety scores The study involved four cohorts of trainee nurses during their first year of training in two schools of nursing, and the study was undertaken using multiple research methods Present and future policy implications are noted