Patient safety is one of the greatest challenges facing health care today and nurses are well placed to find opportunities for enhancing care and making it safer. Nurse education has an important role to play in ensuring future professions have capabilities and confidence to meet this challenge however this requires new pedagogies in nurse education. This paper reports on an initiative to develop the safety improvement and leadership capabilities of final year nursing students using Action Learning to support students to undertake a safety improvement project in the clinical setting. A qualitative, interpretive research approach was used to explore students' experiences of participation in Action Learning. 52 nursing students from a UK University participated in the study. Student accounts of their experiences were generated through focus group and individual interviews and data were subject to thematic analysis. Findings are discussed in relation to three categories including “creating an enabling environment”, “learning through action and reflection” and “the emergence of safety improvement and leadership practices.” The study findings provide valuable insights into how AL processes can engender personal leadership capabilities and support students to make a valuable contribution to safer care practices, both as students and as future health care professionals.