Purpose: Nursing students experience a high degree of perceived stress during skills training. The resulting academic sentiment is worthy of research. This study examined the learning motivation as a mediator in the association between perceived stress and positive deactivating academic emotions in nursing students undergoing skills training. Methods: A survey was conducted on 386 third-year undergraduate nursing students at a university in Changchun, China, in 2017. The survey included the items on perceived stress, learning motivation during nursing skill training, and general academic emotion. There were 381 valid responses (response rate=98.7%). Based on the results of partial correlation and stepwise multiple regression equations, the study examined the mediation model between perceived stress, learning motivation and positive-deactivating academic emotions using process 2.16 (a plug-in specifically used to test mediation or moderation effect in SPSS). Results: There was a significant negative correlation between students’ perceived stress and learning motivation during nursing skills training and positive-deactivating academic emotions. Nervousness, loss of control, and interest in developing reputation had significant predictive effects on positive-deactivating academic emotions. The mediating model was well supported. Conclusion: Learning motivation during nursing skills training lessened the damage of perceived stress on positive-deactivating academic emotions. Improving students’ motivation to learn could reduce their perceived stress and build more positive emotions. Positive emotions during learning played an important role in helping nursing students improve skills and enhance their nursing competence.