The focus of this article is an exploratory qualitative study which examined personal tutors’ views of their role within pre-registration nurse education. Following review of relevant literature and gaining ethical approval a sample of 10 personal tutors was purposively selected from the teaching staff at a University in the UK. Each personal tutor agreed to participate in an audio taped one-to-one, face-to-face, in-depth interview. Data were analysed using a thematic content analysis approach. Data themes identified included, the role of the personal tutor; perceptions of personal students; student attendance and progress issues and responding to issues disclosed by personal students. These themes were underpinned by the perceived over-riding importance in providing support to personal students. The unpopular patient syndrome is contrasted and compared with perceptions of successful and unsuccessful students. Whilst an all encompassing system of personal tutor support may require a high commitment of time and people resources it remains an important support mechanism for students.