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Although the nursing literature suggests that nurses generally avoid risk, their willingness and ability to take risk are fundamental to their professional advancement, job satisfaction and patient advocacy The definition of risk as it pertains in clinical practice, however, may not be synonymous with risk as denned in other fields This study defines risk in nursing from the perspective of three registered nurses in clinical roles Grounded theory methodology indicated that 11 risk categories comprised six core concepts The latter formed the basis for the following risk in clinical nursing practice is defined by uncomfortable and typically unavoidable role-related situations characterized by high unpredictability and negative or hostile overtones, dependency on others, exceedingly high performance expectations from self and others, unpleasant emotions, and health threats that extend beyond working hours Findings of this study refute the notion that nurses avoid risks Risk, ever present in the nurse's clinical practice and environment, requires strategies to minimize its negative impact