The competency profile underlying higher nursing education in the Netherlands states that bachelor-prepared nurses are expected to be able to participate in ethics committees. What knowledge, skills and attitudes are involved in this participation is unclear. In five consecutive years, groups of two to three fourth-year (bachelor) nursing students conducted 8 to 11 semi-structured interviews each with nurses in ethics committees. The question was what competencies these nurses themselves say they need to participate in such committees. This article reports the aggregate of the 52 interviews in these five studies. Regarding knowledge, the article reports on health law, ethics and professional knowledge. Regarding skills, communication is mentioned, as are professional skills and skills for ‘doing ethics’. An open and respectful attitude towards patients and fellow committee members is required, aswell as commitment to patient care, committee work and professional ethics. The right attitude for a nurse in an ethics committee is said to include a reflective and perceptive attitude, along with an awareness of one’s own limitations and convictions. A detailed competency profile for nurses’ participation in ethics committees as outlined in the recommendations may serve nursing education, institutional committees and nurses themselves to meet the demands of nurses’ preparation for clinical ethics consultations.