• This paper focuses on issues relating to the role components of clinical nurse specialists and clinical research nurses working in breast cancer care.
• Identified issues relate to the lack of agreement as to the role and definition of clinical nurse specialists. At the same time there has been an increase and emergence of clinical research nurses, both within the NHS and university departments.
• The review fails to reveal the relationship between these two specialist groups in terms of role overlap and role boundaries.
• The lack of knowledge in this area substantiates the need for further research to be carried out.