Background. Findings from numerous assertion studies suggest that nurses are generally non-assertive. This study examines the role of caring as an important determinant of adaptive assertive behaviour. Aim and objectives.The aim of the investigation was to explore the relationship between assertion and caring skills. Two study objectives sought to determine whether both positive and negative assertive behaviours were related to caring skills. Design. Correlational and cross-sectional study. Method. The Caring Assessment Instrument (Care Q - Questionnaire Version) and the assertion inventory were used to collect self-report data from a convenience sample of 94 subjects. Behavioural data were obtained by directly sampling 50 nurses' responses within role-play situations. Results. One significant result between the various assertion measurements and caring skill scores was noted, highlighting a relationship between negative assertion and the caring 'accessible' subscale. Conclusion. Overall the findings of the study suggest that positive and negative assertive behaviours are not related to caring skills. Relevance to clinical practice. The current findings suggest that the presence of caring attributes cannot be offered as a possible reason for non-assertion in nurses.