BACKGROUND : Knowledge development, and how student nurses learn to be nurses, is essential in nurse education and has implications for quality of care. There is a lack of research concerning how student nurses' knowledge development is expressed through narratives and how they deal with challenges in patient situations in professional learning. OBJECTIVE : To clarify the usefulness of narratives in student nurses' knowledge development and the narratives implications for learning in clinical training. METHODS : The study has a qualitative design with field methodology. Data consisted of observations, interviews, and fieldnotes. The data was analysed, and narratives were developed using Gadamer's hermeneutical circle. METHODS : Seven first- and second-year student nurses from a bachelor programme were closely followed in different patient situations during their eight weeks of clinical studies in nursing homes. RESULTS : In a sample narrative, a student nurse explained how she reflected on her actions and decisions made when she shielded a patient who was in a difficult situation. CONCLUSIONS : Narratives are useful for the development of student nurses' knowledge in clinical training. Student nurses' decisions and actions in the patient situation are made evident through narratives. Nursing educators and student nurses awareness of the relevance of this knowledge for understanding student nurses learning processes is of importance in professional education. Nursing educators should be more open minded to narratives as a starting point for reflection. Increased use of narratives in professional education will contribute to development of knowledge so that student nurses can manage to face patient situations as long as the situation themselves demands. Areas for further studies are other professional educations, for examples, doctor, physiotherapist, and occupational therapist.