The aim of this study was to gain insight into the process of patient enablement in general practice nursing consultations.Enhanced roles for general practice nurses may benefit patients through a range of mechanisms, one of which may be increasing patient enablement. In studies with general practitioners enhanced patient enablement has been associated with increases in self-efficacy and skill development.This study used a constructivist grounded theory design.In-depth interviews were conducted with 16 general practice nurses and 23 patients from 21 general practices between September 2013 - March 2014. Data generation and analysis were conducted concurrently using constant comparative analysis and theoretical sampling focussing on the process and outcomes of patient enablement. Use of the storyline technique supported theoretical coding and integration of the data into a theoretical model.A clearly defined social process that fostered and optimised patient enablement was constructed. The theory of 'developing enabling healthcare partnerships between nurses and patients in general practice' incorporates three stages: triggering enabling healthcare partnerships, tailoring care and the manifestation of patient enablement. Patient enablement was evidenced through: 1. Patients' understanding of their unique healthcare requirements informing their health seeking behaviours and choices; 2. Patients taking an increased lead in their partnership with a nurse and seeking choices in their care and 3. Patients getting health care that reflected their needs, preferences and goals.This theoretical model is in line with a patient-centred model of health care and is particularly suited to patients with chronic disease.