In this ‘Issues for Debate’ paper, the issue is debate. Today's nurses must be able to advocate, lead, and grow ‘big ideas’, as well as knowing their way around a patient's body and mind. This paper reports, partly, on a research study into the use of debate to develop clinical reasoning and thinking skills in nursing students. The study was conducted with first and third-year nursing students enrolled at an Australian regional university. Students were asked to comment on the effectiveness of debate as an educational strategy. We combine the results of this research study with literature and discussion into the educational uses of debate to put the argument that using debate in nursing education can be an effective way to foster the type of creative, intelligent, thoughtful and forward-thinking nurses needed in the modern healthcare system.