The present article, which is abstracted from a larger study into the acquisition and exercise of nephrology nursing expertise, aims to explore the concept of recognition of expertise. The study used grounded theory methodology and involved 17 registered nurses who were practising in a metropolitan renal unit in New South Wales, Australia. Concurrent data collection and analysis was undertaken, incorporating participant observations and interviews. According to nurses in this study, patients, doctors and other nurses recognized that some nurses were experts while others were not. In addition, being trusted, being a role model and teaching others were important components of being recognized as an expert nephrology nurse. Of importance for nursing, the results of the present study indicate that knowledge and experience are not sufficient to ensure expert practice; recognition of expertise by others is an important function of expertise acquisition.