Health services in rural areas are known to be under-resourced in several ways and working conditions are often described as unfavourable. Nurses working under such conditions are likely to be demotivated; however, it seems that not all nurses feel demotivated because of the number of nurses who remain and serve in those areas. This article describes factors that motivate nurses to render quality patient care in a rural hospital in Vhembe district of Limpopo Province in South Africa. A qualitative, exploratory, descriptive research design guided by an Appreciative Inquiry approach was used. Individual semi-structured interviews with 20 participants were conducted and analysis was conducted according to Tesch’s open-coding technique. The results indicated both intrinsic and extrinsic factors as motivators, which relate to the events in participants’ personal and social life as well as those in the work environment. Passion for the job was identified as the key driver from the intrinsic space while open communication from the employer was raised by the majority of participants as an external driver. This study revealed that although nurses in a rural hospital have challenges that can negatively impact on their motivational levels, their internal drive to care overcomes any negative factors.