• accreditation;
  • multidisciplinary;
  • practice development;
  • research


This study aimed to explore the perspective of multidisciplinary staff on the process of becoming and working as a practice development unit (PDU). PDUs are reported as positive initiatives within health care. It is important to understand the process of becoming a PDU and the ongoing effects of the process to the staff working within the unit. This project engaged with multidisciplinary staff working on six PDU units throughout the north-west of England. Data collection was in two phases: a self-completion questionnaire distributed to all staff within the PDUs (n = 625, 28.2% response rate) followed by 17 semi-structured telephone interviews. The majority of questionnaire respondents (n = 114, 64%) indicated that they would recommend PDU accreditation to other units. The main themes arising from the project focus on accreditation having a positive influence on multidisciplinary team working, evidence-based practice and improving opportunities for professional development. Issues were raised during the interviews regarding the increased development of staff leading to high turnover, the high workload involved in leading the accreditation and the inequitable involvement of professions in the process. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.