• Change;
  • Continuing professional development;
  • Evaluation;
  • Goal attainment scale;
  • Intensive therapy unit;
  • Practice


• Continuing professional development (CPD) is costly in terms of both organizational resources and personal time and effort

• It forms an important part of the strategy for modernizing the health service and is an expectation of qualified nurses

• There is little evidence to demonstrate the impact of CPD in terms of improved patient care and services

• A small pilot study was undertaken. A group of intensive therapy unit (ITU) managers developed a goal attainment scale (GAS) to evaluate the impact of an ITU course. Results suggest that the ITU course did make a difference to the development of ITU nurses, but the nurses who did not take the course also developed

• This has implications for service providers and educationalists in terms of expectations, timing and content of courses

• The GAS was a useful tool as an approach to evaluating the impact of CPD but requires more rigorous testing before it can be described as reliable and valid