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The purpose of this study was to describe the perspectives of Iranian nurses regarding factors influencing nursing image.Nursing image is closely tied to the nurse's role and identity, influencing clinical performance, job satisfaction and quality of care. Images of nursing and nurses are closely linked to the cultural context in which nursing is practised, hence, this study explores how Iranian nurses perceive the factors that influence their own image.A descriptive study using a survey design was conducted with 220 baccalaureate qualified nurses working in four teaching hospitals in an urban area of Iran. A Nursing Image Questionnaire was used and analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics.In the domains of ‘characteristics required for entry to work’, ‘social role characteristics of nursing’ and ‘prestige, economic and social status, and self image’ the nurses had negative images. ‘Reward’ and ‘opportunity for creativity and originality’ were factors that least influenced choosing nursing as a career. The presence of a nurse in the family and working in the hospital had the greatest impact on the establishment of nurses’ nursing image.Improving the nursing profession's prestige and social position as well as providing the opportunity for creativity and originality in nursing practice will change the self-image of Iranian nurses, facilitating effective and lasting changes in nursing's image.Nurse managers are well-placed to influence nurses’ perceptions of nursing's image. Given the finding that thinking about leaving a job positively correlates with holding a negative nursing image, nurse managers need to consider how they can work effectively with their staff to enhance morale and nurses’ experience of their job.