Abstract Background the midwifery workforce in Australia is ageing and predominantly part-time. There is considerable interest in the induction and retention of new midwives in the profession. Objective this study was undertaken to explore 3rd year students' views of the good midwife. It was anticipated that student views would show evidence of early transition and socialisation into the profession. Design qualitative thematic analysis. Setting Melbourne, Australia Participants all completing midwifery students, in 2010, were invited to participate (n=31). Findings three broad themes emerged from the analysis: (1) a skilled practitioner; (2) a caring and compassionate individual; and (3) beyond the call of duty: passion and enthusiasm for midwifery. Key conclusions and implications for practice it was evident that 3rd year students' views of the good midwife were becoming aligned with the views of qualified midwives. Students also acknowledged the importance of safe practice at the same time as supporting women to make decisions. However, their intense passion and enthusiasm for midwifery practice may make them vulnerable to disappointment with the profession.