The placebo effect is a common phenomenon in therapy and research but has received very little attention as such in nursing research. This article reviews some of the literature which shows the placebo effect, which can be positive or negative, is a significant force. Then it is argued that, while all health professionals have a general obligation to benefit their patients, nursing has a special, specific obligation to enhance the placebo effect, to maximize a positive effect and minimize a negative effect. Nursing education, current policy statements, and circumstances of clinical practice explain this obligation. Nursing research is needed to clarify the multiple ways in which the social and physical environment can trigger a placebo effect. As nursing expands its knowledge of this effect, it can begin to educate patients to the self-care implications of this pervasive but misunderstood phenomenon.