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This study was designed to investigate the learning outcomes of a suicide education programme for second-year student nurses in Taiwan.Research demonstrates that nurses' attitudes impact on the care provided to suicidal patients. However, evidence is sparse on promoting positive caring attitudes in nurses towards suicidal patients.A quasi-experiment.The total sample group (n = 174) comprised second-year student nurses. Some (n = 95) were randomly allocated to an experimental group who attended a four-hour suicidal education programme and others (n = 79) comprised a control group who did not attend the programme. All participants were given a questionnaire before and after the programme in 2008. The questionnaire contained 30 items and was divided into five categories. They were (1) the acceptability of suicidal behaviours, (2) morality and mental illness, (3) professional role and care, (4) communication and attention and (5) beliefs.Results demonstrated that the experimental group had higher scores on all five categories of the questionnaire than the control group did. Participants in the experimental group held more positive attitudes towards the acceptance of suicidal behaviours and were non-judgmental in their morality. Further, they showed more positive attitudes towards the provision of professional care and believed that people who attempt suicide are communicating their psychic pain. Moreover, participants in the experimental group held more positive beliefs about people who attempt suicide than the control group did.This suicide education programme raised student nurses' awareness about the phenomenon of suicide and promoted positive caring attitudes towards people who attempt suicide and hence their nursing care.A four-hour suicide education programme can promote positive caring attitudes towards people who attempt suicide and may have an affirmative influence on the nursing care provided to suicidal patients.