Aim/objective: Through an exploration of student nurses and lecturers’ professionalism discourses, this study illuminates influences on professional socialization and offers an appreciation of the processes of language (discourse) adoption involved. Background: Professionalism is a complex concept to define. Nursing research has predominantly explored professionalism in clinical practice; however, the time spent university is key to professional socialization and identity development. Previous research focused on socialization in the clinical area only. This study examined how student nurses and their lecturers construct their talk regarding professionalism while at university. Design: A social constructionism approach was adopted, where it is assumed that we jointly construct our world on shared assumptions and that language is central to this process. Methods: Employing a Discourse and Social Psychology (DASP) approach to discourse analysis, seven nursing students (Adult, Child, and Mental Health fields) and eight lecturers participated in a total of 16 interviews. Results: The findings indicated participants drew on several interpretative repertoires. These changed over the 3 year degree. Analysis led to development of a Model of Professional Discourse Adoption, illustrating a three phased process, resonating with theories of professional socialization in nursing. Conclusions: The study offers insights into how education strategies may support learning and teaching, and professionalism communication.