AIM:To develop a working definition of the concept of "clinical credibility" in nursing science. BACKGROUND:In both academic and clinical settings, the phrase "clinical credibility" is used when discussing the education of health professionals. No clear definition for the concept is evident in the academic literature. To date, there has not been a study undertaken to develop a working definition of clinical credibility in nursing science. METHODS:This protocol is stage 1 of a registered report. We will use concept mapping to compare and organise views of three stakeholder groups: nursing students (n = 20) from years 2 or 3 of a three-year Bachelor of Nursing Programme, nurses and other health professionals (n = 20) still practising within a clinical setting, and people who have recently been inpatients in hospital (n = 20). First, participants will take part in separate stakeholder focus groups to generate statements about "What is clinical credibility?". Second, the same participants will complete two tasks: (1) rank the importance of each statement (prioritising) and (2) put the statements that appear to go together into groups (clustering). The data will then be analysed using a specialised software program called Ariadne. A visual "concept map" will be produced showing the importance and relationship of each statement as viewed by the participants. The projected timeline for the study is one year. The paper complies with the SPIRIT 2013 guidelines for study protocols adapted for mixed methods research. CONCLUSION:The findings of this study will provide a working definition of the concept of "clinical credibility" in nursing science. RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE:The findings can be used to develop a measure of clinical credibility to predict student satisfaction and patient safety outcomes.