This study examines the knowledge, beliefs, attitudes, intentions and experiences of nurses at various stages of their careers with regard to patients who have made suicide attempts. It focuses particularly on the relationship of traditional Shona beliefs about suicide and considers how they interact with western medical beliefs. A detailed questionnaire covering these elements was administered to three groups of nurses. They were sampled at either the beginning or end of their training or after approximately ten years experience. Knowledge of suicide was found to be poor and attitudes towards parasuicide were negative. Traditional beliefs were held strongly by all groups of nurses; western beliefs were strongest amongst experienced nurses. Practical implications of these attitudes and beliefs for training are considered.