Positioned within my research program that explores nurses' experience and construction of their daily praxis, I think narratively about how to stay in my work as a nurse-teacher, how students enter the profession and how registered nurses stay in nursing practice. I present co-participants' stories (all names are pseudonyms except for the author's "I") that reveal how a nurse is often in between autobiographically informed actions and the certainty of institutional roles that shape us into artificial persons. I explore the nature of the relationship between nurses, their professional roles and a primary accountability to people who happen to be patients - or students. This paper has implications for retention of nurses in practice and in education within the context of a global shortage of nurses. Further inquiry is invited in relation to our ability to shape social situations towards health. When narrative inquiry is working, people are drawn into their own experience and can discern new plotlines for relationships and possibilities for action within their social environments.