• bioscience knowledge;
  • clinical practice;
  • interprofessional communications;
  • barriers to change;
  • nursing hierarchies

This paper draws on empirical data from a study undertaken to explore the outcomes of the applied physiology component of a post-registration diploma in nursing (DN). Most students completing the DN were utilizing their new bioscience knowledge in clinical practice, and reported increased participation in interprofessional discussions and team decisions. Respondents found themselves better able to monitor and evaluate doctors’ decisions and this led to friction with some medical colleagues. However, the strongest resistance came from senior nurses, very few of whom had completed advanced nursing courses in bioscience and who were generally unwilling to allow respondents to develop new roles. General managers were also perceived as a major barrier to change. There is little evidence of tangible benefits to the nurses themselves: most saw the DN qualification as a way of protecting their status as professional nurses in the face of managerially driven organizational change, rather than as a route to occupational advancement.