The issues of missed or inadequately provided basic nursing care and related complications are being identified as worldwide phenomena of interest. Without being aware of it, educators and practicing nurses may be teaching nursing students that fundamental nursing care is unimportant, uncomplicated and not really nursing's responsibility. This paper explores the concept of the "hidden curriculum" in nursing education, as it relates to fundamental nursing care and calls for greater partnerships between education and service to uncover the hidden curriculum; to effectively shape it to achieve alignment between classroom and practice; and, ultimately, to improve care processes and patient outcomes through collaboration. A renewed focus on the vital importance of what is considered "basics" to patient outcomes is required in nursing education.