The aim of this paper was to explore nursing home nurses’ perceptions of what influences their occupational status. A hermeneutic phenomenological approach was taken, during which 13 nurses from 7 nursing homes for older people located in England were each interviewed up to 5 times using an episodic interview technique. Findings suggested that economic policies regarding funding long-term care, and perceptions of the nature of work undertaken in nursing homes, may together negatively impact the occupational status of nurses working in these settings. This reduced occupational status is proposed as a factor which shapes nurses’ perception of this role. Low occupational status may also impact on these nurses’ ability to enact the role. Finally, the paper documents how nursing home nurses may attempt to manage issues of status in order to retain occupational esteem.