This paper describes a research project which attempted to evaluate the preregistration preparation of nurses as an educational pursuit It argues that two major learning paradigms exist, education and training These paradigms can be differentiated on the basis of three critical aspects of the curriculum which also indicate the key areas for quality assurance These aspects are, the purposes of learning, the extant forms of knowledge and the nature of teacher-student relationships The paper describes a structural analysis of previous research on nurse education in the United Kingdom, and a student nurse opinion survey which aimed to identify those aspects of their course which were of most significance to student nurses It was concluded that the preregistration preparation of nurses subsumed under a training paradigm and that the major determinant of this was the practice setting There was also some indication that the nursing curriculum was not patient-centred and that the training paradigm did not encourage personal development in critical thinking, self-reliance and problem solving The final part of the paper describes an experiment which attempted to demonstrate a link between practice teacher-student relationships and practitioner competence utilizing video presentation of‘teacher’ behaviours and a patient-centredness measuring instrument The experiment supported this link In conclusion, it is argued that if UKCC Project 2000 is to avoid a replication of the past then educational development must be focused on the practicum and not just on forging links with higher education if a professional nurse education is to be achieved