Risk taking by 53 nurses and 22 non-nurses was investigated in nursing and non-nursing situations in a laboratory study to assess nurses' propensity to risk and to gain information about how nurses make decisions. Games involving loss and gain of money were used. Subjects received money won from the games, but debts incurred by subjects were canceled. The study indicated that unwillingness to accept risk is not characteristic of all nurses. A nurse's propensity to risk appeared to depend on the situation and on the nurse's educational level. Study findings, though restricted by the mode of investigation, have implications for practice and future research.