Aim To correlate workgroup engagement in nursing teams and the clinical learning experience of nursing students. Background Work engagement plays a pivotal role in explaining motivational dynamics. Nursing education is workplace-based and, through their clinical placements, nursing students develop both their clinical competences and their professional identity. However, there is currently a lack of evidence on the role of work engagement related to students’ learning experiences. Methods A total of 519 nurses and 519 nursing students were enrolled in hospital settings. The Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES) was used to assess work engagement, and the Clinical Learning Environment and Supervision plus nurse Teacher (CLES+T) scale was used to assess students’ learning experience. A multilevel linear regression analysis was performed. Results Group-level work engagement of nurses correlated with students’ clinical learning experience (β = 0.11, P < 0.001). Specifically, the ‘absorption’ and ‘dedication’ factors mostly contributed to enhancing clinical learning (respectively, β = 0.37, P < 0.001 and β = 0.20, P < 0.001). Conclusions Nursing teams’ work engagement is an important motivational factor to enhance effective nursing education. Implication for nursing management Nursing education institutions and health-care settings need to conjointly work to build effective organisational climates. The results highlighted the importance of considering the group-level analysis to understand the most effective strategies of intervention for both organisations and nursing education.