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It is the thesis of the authors that the caring ethic and moral state of being of nurses ideally suffuses their professional caring and is thus implicit in their ethical decision making. Socratic dialogue is a technique that allows such moral attitudes to be made explicit. This article describes a Socratic dialogue conducted with nurses on the topic: ‘What is love in nursing?’ The conclusions drawn were based on the belief that the current western-style health care system restricts the practice of nursing in such a way as to limit professional caring and loving possibilities. Nurses who love in the practice of caring go beyond the role definition of the duty of care; they are people who are prepared to think differently about their practice as professionals, and are identified as competent risk takers committed to the betterment of the other. From this dialogue, ‘love in nursing’ was understood as the willingness and commitment of the nurse to want the good of the other before the self, without reciprocity.