INTRODUCTION In-service training of nurses plays an indispensable role in improving the quality of inpatient care. Need to enhance the effectiveness of in-service training of nurses is an inevitable requirement. This study attempted to design a new optimal model for in-service training of nurses. METHODS This qualitative study was conducted in two stages during 2015-2016. In the first stage, the Grounded Theory was adopted to explore the process of training 35 participating nurses. The sampling was initially purposeful and then theoretically based on emerging concept. Data were collected through interview, observation and field notes. Moreover, the data were analyzed through Corbin-Strauss method and the data were coded through MAXQDA-10. In the second stage, the findings were employed through 'Walker and Avants strategy for theory construction so as to design an optimal model for in-service training of nursing staff. RESULTS In the first stage, there were five major themes including unsuccessful mandatory education, empowering education, organizational challenges of education, poor educational management, and educational-occupational resiliency. Empowering education was the core variable derived from the research, based on which a grounded theory was proposed. The new empowering education model was composed of self-directed learning and practical learning. There are several strategies to achieve empowering education, including the fostering of searching skills, clinical performance monitoring, motivational factors, participation in the design and implementation, and problem-solving approach. CONCLUSION Empowering education is a new model for in-service training of nurses, which matches the training programs with andragogical needs and desirability of learning among the staff. Owing to its practical nature, the empowering education can facilitate occupational tasks and achieving greater mastery of professional skills among the nurses.