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Good work in nursing is work that is scientifically effective as well as morally and socially responsible. The purpose of this study was to examine variables that sustain good work among entering nurses (with one to five years of experience) and experienced professional nurses despite the obstacles they encounter. In addition to role models and mentors, entering and experienced nurses identified team work, cohesiveness and shared values as levers for good work. These nurses used prioritization, team building and contemplative practices to overcome obstacles. Entering professional nurses tended to avoid conflict in the work setting. Experienced nurses reported forming teams of decision makers who share similar values to resolve conflict. These findings have implications for nurse education and nursing practice. Reflection on the importance of values and virtue in sustaining good work is important. Entering professional nurses should be encouraged to seek positive role models and reflect on the lessons that can be learned from experienced exemplary nurses.