BACKGROUND: Rewarding is a powerful way to recognize, manage, and retain staff. However, the perceptions of registered nurses (RNs) toward rewarding have not yet been extensively examined in nursing studies. It is important to identify optimal and potentially innovative ways to reward RNs by taking their perceptions into consideration. PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to develop and psychometrically test the Registered Nurses' Perceptions of Rewarding Scale (RNREWS). METHODS: A cross-sectional study design was used. The scale was developed in the three phases of item generation, content validity testing, and examination of psychometric properties. Tests of the scale included evaluation of content validity, exploratory factor analysis, parallel analysis, and internal consistency tests using Cronbach's alpha. Survey participants included 402 RNs working in Finnish healthcare in Autumn 2015. RESULTS: The RNREWS was found to have acceptable construct validity and good internal consistency. Exploratory factor analysis indicated that a 66-item scale with a 14-factor structure fits the data best. The final scale includes two subscales. The first is "reward type preferences" with 61 items covering 13 factors, and the second is "significance of rewarding" with five items covering one factor. The two sets of items accounted for 73.1% and 58.5% of the variance in responses and earned Cronbach's α values of .90 and .80, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The RNREWS is a valid and reliable instrument for acquiring knowledge regarding the perspective of RNs on rewarding in the nursing context. The results enhance the understanding of the range of rewards that may be implemented in the nursing profession and may assist human resources managers and administrators to formulate effective reward systems for their RNs to improve the rewarding and retention of nursing professionals. However, cultural equivalence and linguistic differences must be considered if this scale is to be applied in other countries or environments.