As part of their supernumerary clinical placements, caring for infectious isolated patients is integrated into student nurses' general nursing experience. Caring for these patients poses not only opportunities for learning but also many challenges for nursing practice and the nurse- patient relationship. Through methods grounded in the hermeneutic phenomenological approach, this study explored second year student nurses' experiences of caring for infectious patients in source isolation within the general hospital setting. Four themes emerged; The Organisation: Caring in Context, The Barriers and Breaking the Barriers, Theory and Practice, Only a Student. Findings indicate that caring for infectious isolated patients is influenced by the context within which such care is provided. The caring experience is dramatically altered by virtue of the uniqueness of the imposed physical, psychological, social and emotional barriers of isolation. The findings from this study are relevant for all practitioners involved in student nurse education around issues relating to infection control.