The development of the extended role in nursing has been seen by some as primarily a means for nurses taking on tasks that have traditionally been the work of junior doctors. Others object to this view and ascribe to the ‘new nursing’ perspective of Salvage. She sees the extended role as moving towards increasing autonomy and operating in a professional rather than a bureaucratic occupational model. This view militates against the development of nurses as mini-doctors. This paper discusses the controversy surrounding the development of the extended role, focusing particularly on the use of complementary therapies as a legitimate component of the ‘new nurses’ role.