Attitudes are of crucial importance in nursing. Attitudes help us to understand how people perceive issues and processes in care and determine what they deem important, good, relevant and appropriate. We should understand attitudes if we are to provide collaborative, patient-centred care; however, they are poorly understood. This article enables the reader to examine attitudes and their constituent beliefs and values. It explores the function of attitudes, considers how they are formed and reflects on the process of attitude change, examining how persuasion can be used to enable individuals to revisit behaviours that seem problematic or less effective.