The inclusion of non-traditional clinical placements within a pre-registration nurse training course led to some concerns regarding the relevance and appropriateness of such experience within a nursing programme. These concerns gave rise to a literature review to explore student nurses’ attitudes to clinical placements within non-traditional areas. Non-traditional placement areas enable contact with vulnerable populations, including older adults, people experiencing mental illness and those with intellectual or physical disabilities. Positive practice placement experience is associated with the successful development of clinical skills, strongly influences future career choice and is suggested to have a significant impact on the attitudes the student has towards the client group and specialism. There may need to be a shift in emphasis within nurse education, away from the traditional medical model, towards a more holistic understanding of care.