To explore factors that predict novice nurses' trust in their ability to provide care in acute situations and identify factors that are related to their perceived ability to make clinical judgements in acute situations. Exploratory cross-sectional study. Novice nurses employed within somatic care in Swedish hospitals completed an online survey. Univariate analysis facilitated exploration of the data and identification of predictor variables with the greatest association with: (1) trust in their own ability (one item) and (2) ability to make clinical judgements (four items). Multivariate binary logistic regression modelling was used to model the likelihood of outcomes based on each predictor variable. The two most important predictors related to trust in ability to provide care were duration of work experience and participation in acute situations during nursing education. For clinical judgement, duration of work experience was significant in all four models and experience of acute situations post-graduation was significant in two models. © 2021 The Authors. Nursing Open published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.