In order to adopt a nursing model as a framework for professional practice in an out-patient department of a paediatric tertiary care hospital, a staff development programme was instituted The nursing model chosen was the McGill model of nursing, which emphasizes the complementary role of nursing and focuses on people's health, strengths and potentials Staff development initially consisted of a journal club and clinic nurses were exposed to such concepts as family, coping, and health As the nurses acquired theoretical knowledge, the staff development programme was concerned with applying this knowledge to clinical situations As well as the nursing in-service training, clinical supervision with small groups of nurses was instituted A study showed that staff development helped nurses to build a larger repetoire of family nursing skills The nursing role in the department evolved Nurses developed a more professional practice and provided health services which were complementary to those offered by other health professionals