Background: Nurses worldwide are expected to take a leading role in caring for older people. Considerable literature dedicated to the range and application of assessment skills used by nurses vary. There is limited knowledge of registered nurses' (RNs) views of their assessment of older adults.Aim: The aim of this project was to explore RNs current perceptions of nursing assessment, and the core skills they identified as necessary.Design: A qualitative descriptive design study was conducted in three inpatient units in one regional hospital in Victoria.Method: Date were collected through participant observation of RNs (n = 13) followed by 1:1 semi-structured interviews. Data were analysed thematically.Conclusion: This research has illuminated that an ill-defined repertoire of skills was used by RNs when assessing older persons. Skills identified appeared to be based on years of personal-professional experience. Differences were noted between the descriptions nurses gave and what was observed during interactions with older persons.