Despite the increasing complexity of nursing home care, the role of physicians caring for residents is largely unexplored. This international, exploratory study sought to learn about physicians’ roles, responsibilities, and tasks as well as investigate the unique qualities of medical practice in nursing homes. We conducted interviews with 18 physicians, who reported making important contributions to the quality of resident care, including clarifying the goals of care, working to reduce unnecessary medication and hospitalization, as well as contributing to staff education. Nursing home practice involved physicians in networks of relations that were instrumental to the quality of medical care and physicians’ job satisfaction. The importance of these relationships disrupts the oft-drawn boundary between the medical and the social, suggesting that good medical practice depends on good social practice. Reflecting the exploratory nature of the study, we recommend research to better understand and support the relational dimensions of nursing home medicine.