The requirement to support students in the clinical environment during their preparation has recently been given renewed attention. Many practitioners, managers and students are concerned that preregistration nurses are emerging from nursing education programmes without essential clinical skills. The decision to discontinue the clinical teaching role was made against a background in which low priority was ascribed to the clinical teaching role by nurse teachers when compared with a classroom role. The last few years has also been marked by far-reaching and rapid change in the environment within which the education of nurses is carried out. Against the above background, this paper explores the changing nature of the role of nurse teachers in placement areas and outlines a variety of potential new models. These include: link teacher role, the clinical teacher role, the lecturer/practitioner role and Clinical Research Fellowships. The paper proposes a radical scenario and outlines a skill mix for the future for nurse education.