Role modelling by experienced nurses, including nurse academics, is a key factor in the process of preparing undergraduate nursing students for practice, and may contribute to longevity in the workforce. A grounded theory study was undertaken to investigate the phenomenon of nurse academics' role modelling for undergraduate students. The study sought to answer the research question: how do nurse academics role model positive professional behaviours for undergraduate students? The aims of this study were to: theorise a process of nurse academic role modelling for undergraduate students; describe the elements that support positive role modelling by nurse academics; and explain the factors that influence the implementation of academic role modelling. The study sample included five second year nursing students and sixteen nurse academics from Australia and the United Kingdom. Data was collected from observation, focus groups and individual interviews. This study found that in order for nurse academics to role model professional behaviours for nursing students, they must reconcile their own professional identity. This paper introduces the theory of reconciling professional identity and discusses the three categories that comprise the theory, creating a context for learning, creating a context for authentic rehearsal and mirroring identity.