Different aspects of the work environment influence employee's attitudes, perceptions and professional performance. Most of the characteristics of staff nurses SN work environment included in this research were found to influence their perception of the desired and actual professional role: method of work organization, ward size, hospital size and variables contributing to the ‘atmosphere’ of the ward: participation in decision making, independence, relations on the ward and encouragement to continue studies. The research's findings provide support for role theories which are examined, using the integrated model of the two main branches of role theory, by reflecting the influence of environment on role expectations and realization. The research points to the fact that the staff nurses satisfaction with their work is related to the degree to which their work environment enables them to use their professional knowledge and skills, and to the degree to which her concept of ‘nursing’ concurs with that expected of them in the clinical setting. The research's findings allow applicable recommendations in hospital nursing management.