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There is increasing emphasis on the need for collaboration between practice and academic leaders in health care research. However, many problems can arise owing to differences between academic and clinical goals and timelines. In order for research to move forward it is important to name and address these issues early in a project. In this article we use an example of a participatory action research study of ethical practice in nursing to highlight some of the issues that are not frequently discussed and we identify the impact of things not-named. Further, we offer our insights to others who wish to be partners in research between academic and practice settings. These findings have wide implications for ameliorating misunderstandings that may develop between nurse leaders in light of collaborative research, as well as for participatory action research.